The Full Wiki

Seven Days in May: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Seven Days in May

original film poster
Directed by John Frankenheimer
Produced by John Frankenheimer
Edward Lewis
Written by Novel:
Fletcher Knebel
Charles W. Bailey II
Screenplay:
Rod Serling
Starring Burt Lancaster
Kirk Douglas
Fredric March
Ava Gardner
Edmond O'Brien
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Ellsworth Fredericks
Editing by Ferris Webster
Distributed by Paramount Pictures (original release)
Warner Bros. (current rights holders)
Release date(s) February 12, 1964
(Washington, D.C. premiere)
Running time 118 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2.2 million (est.)

Seven Days in May is a political thriller novel written by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II and published in 1962. The novel was made into a motion picture in 1964, with screenplay by Rod Serling, directed by John Frankenheimer, and starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. The story is said to have been influenced by the right-wing anti-Communist political activities of General Edwin A. Walker after he retired from the military. The author, Knebel, got the idea for the book after interviewing then Air Force Chief of Staff Curtis LeMay.

Contents

Plot

The plot centers on the fictitious U.S. President Jordan Lyman (Fredric March). As the story begins, Lyman faces a wave of public dissatisfaction with his decision to sign a treaty with the Soviet Union, an agreement that will supposedly result in both nations simultaneously destroying their nuclear weapons under mutual international inspection. This is extremely unpopular with both the President's opposition and the military, who believe the Soviets cannot be trusted.

As the debate over the treaty rages on, an alert and well-positioned Pentagon insider, United States Marine Corps Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey (Kirk Douglas) becomes aware of a conspiracy among the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) led by his own superior officer, the charismatic head of the JCS, Air Force General James Mattoon Scott (Burt Lancaster). As he digs deeper, he uncovers the conspiracy's shocking goal: Scott and his cohorts, Colonel Broderick (John Larkin), Colonel Murdock (Richard Anderson), Gen. Hardesty (Tyler McVey), along with allies in the United States Congress led by Sen. Frederick Prentice (Whit Bissell) and influential members of the news media led by Harold McPherson (Hugh Marlowe), are plotting to stage a coup d'etat to remove President Lyman and his cabinet seven days hence.

The plot itself, called ECOMCON (for "Emergency Communications Control"), entails the seizure of the nation's telephone, radio and television network infrastructure by a secret United States Army combat unit created and controlled by Scott's conspiracy and based in Texas near Fort Bliss. Once this is done, General Scott and his conspirators will control the nation's communications assets; then, from their headquarters within a vast underground nuclear shelter called "Mount Thunder" (based on the actual continuity of government facility maintained by the U.S. at Mount Weather in Berryville, Virginia), they will use the power of the media and the military to prevent the implementation of the treaty.

Although opposed to President Lyman's position on the treaty, Casey is appalled by the unconstitutional cabal and alerts Lyman and his inner circle: Secret Service Director Art Corwin (Bart Burns), Secretary of the Treasury Christopher Todd (George Macready), Presidential advisor Paul Girard (Martin Balsam), and Georgia Sen. Raymond Clark (Edmond O'Brien), a political and personal ally of the President. As the countdown begins, both sides maneuver behind the scenes: Lyman sends Casey to New York to ferret out secrets that can be used against Scott, forcing Casey to cruelly deceive the general's former mistress, the vulnerable Ellie Holbrook (Ava Gardner). He then sends the aging, alcoholic Georgia senator Clark (Edmond O'Brien) to El Paso, Texas to see if he can locate the base (covertly known as "Site Y").

Lyman also sends Paul Girard (Martin Balsam) to the Mediterranean to get the confession of Vice Admiral Farley C. Barnswell (John Houseman), the 6th Fleet commander who knows of the plot but decided not to participate in it (responding through a code involving the Preakness horse race). Girard gains the admiral's written confession, but is killed when his plane crashes into a mountain in Spain on its way back to Washington.

Clark finds the secret base, but is taken captive and held in communicado by Colonel Broderick. Clark is later visited by the deputy commander of the base, Colonel William "Mutt" Henderson (Andrew Duggan). Clark knows that Henderson is a old friend of Jiggs Casey, and leverages that friendship to pursuade Henderson to help him escape and return to Washington. Clark (accompanid by Henderson) make it back to Washington; but as Clark calls the White House, Henderson mysteriously vanishes at the airport.

President Lyman finds out about secret Air Force transports being flown to various cities from General Bernard "Barney" Rutkowski (Ferris Webster). He immediately orders them grounded.

Lyman schedules a meeting with Scott in the Oval Office, under the pretext of discussing the upcoming alert, but with the intent of confronting him with the allegations of the coup and demanding his resignation. Scott refuses to resign, saying that everything that happened and is going to happen is the President's own fault and that approval of the treaty would weaken the US and eventually lead to an attack by the USSR. Momentartily, Lyman tries to reason with Scott, explaining that if a military coup were successful, it would clearly send a signal to the Soviets that the US was assuming a more belligerant posture and could result in a pre-emptive strike by Moscow. Scott is unmoved and prepares to leave. Lyman momentarily considers using the blackmail letters, kept in his desk drawer, but changes his mind at the last moment. Scott's plan is to appear on all television and radio networks simultaneously to denounce the President, but Lyman holds a press conference where he demands the resignation of Scott and all members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Scott demands everyone stay in line. Shortly before the press conference, Lyman is given the confession that Girard obtained from VADM Barnswell, which has survived the crash. A copy is given to Scott and the other officers who were in on the plot. Scott's cohorts resign, and the plot of a military takeover is impossible now. The film ends with Lyman addressing the American people on the country's future.

Background

In the novel, the story is set in May 1974, not long after the conclusion of a stalemated war in Iran fought along conventional warfare lines similar to Korea (and which, unlike the actual Vietnam War, did not precipitate a major anti-war movement inside American society). The motion picture is set five years earlier, in May 1969, as shown both by the day/date indicator in the Pentagon (Tuesday May 13th), and the reference by Jordan Lyman to "a year and nine months" before Election Day 1972.

The novel has White House aide Paul Girard meeting with Vice Admiral Farley C. Barnswell, USN, on board the U.S. Sixth Fleet flagship, a 100,000-ton nuclear-powered aircraft carrier named after the late President Dwight D. Eisenhower, at anchor in the Bay of Gibraltar. The U.S. Navy's third nuclear-powered supercarrier was the Nimitz class USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), which was actually commissioned in 1977.

The scenario of the film may have been inspired by the clash between General Curtis LeMay and President John F. Kennedy. LeMay, the Air Force Chief of Staff, believed a naval blockade of Cuba wasn't sufficient action and that the Soviet missile sites themselves should be bombed.

Other observers cite as the inspiration for the story a historically-ambiguous conspiracy among major industrial leaders to enlist retired Marine Gen. Smedley Butler in a plot to overthrow Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as reported by Butler in his testimony to the McCormack-Dickstein Congressional Committee in 1934.[1] (See Business Plot of 1933.)

Production

Kirk Douglas and director John Frankenheimer were the moving force behind the filming of Seven Days in May; the film was produced through Douglas's Joel Productions. Douglas agreed to star in it, but he also wanted his frequent co-star Burt Lancaster to star in the film as well. This almost caused Frankenheimer to back out, since he and Lancaster had butted heads on The Birdman of Alcatraz several years before. Only Douglas's assurances that Lancaster would behave kept the director on the project.[2] Ironically, Lancaster and Frankenheimer became close friends during the filming, while Douglas and the director had a falling out.[3][4]

Some of the other actors had problems with Frankenheimer. Ava Gardner thought he favored the other actors over her, and Martin Balsam objected to his habit of shooting off pistols behind him during important scenes.[2]

Interiors for Seven Days in May were shot at the Paramount studios in Hollywood, and on location in Paris, France, Washington, D.C., San Diego, Arizona and in California's Imperial Valley.[5][6] In an example of guerrilla filmmaking, Frankenheimer photographed Martin Balsam being ferried out to the supercarrier USS Kitty Hawk, formerly CVA-63 (now CV-63), berthed at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego without prior Defense Department permission. He also wanted a shot of Kirk Douglas entering the Pentagon, but could not get permission because of security considerations, so he rigged a movie camera in a parked station wagon to photograph Douglas walking up to the Pentagon. Douglas actually received salutes from military personnel because he was wearing the uniform of a U.S. Marine Corps colonel.[7]

Getting permission near the White House was easier. Frankenheimer said that Pierre Salinger conveyed to him President Kennedy's wish that the film be made, "these were the days of General Walker" and, though the Pentagon did not want the film made, the President would conveniently arrange to visit Hyannis Port for a weekend when the film needed to shoot outside the White House.[8]

Some efforts were made in the film to have the film appear to take place in the near future, for instance the use of the then-futuristic technology of video teleconferencing.

Seven Days in May premiered on 12 February 1964, appropriately in Washington, D.C.[9] It opened to good critical notices and audience response.[2]

Advertisements

Endings

According to Douglas, an alternate ending was shot, but discarded:

General Scott, the treacherous Burt Lancaster character, goes off in his sports car, and dies in a wreck. Was it an accident or suicide? Coming up out of the wreckage over the car radio is President Jordan Lyman's speech about the sanctity of the Constitution. Instead, the last time we see Burt is in his confrontation with me. He regards me as a traitor to him; I know he has been a traitor to the country. He says to me, "Do you know who Judas was?" I answer, "Yes. He's a man I used to work for and respect, until he disgraced the four stars on his uniform."[4]

The plotline of the novel differs from the film version on several points. In the book, during the Oval Office meeting between Lyman and Scott, the President already has possession of Barnswell's written confession and presents it to Scott, who subsequently tenders his resignation before leaving the White House. As Scott is departing the Executive Mansion, he is confronted by Clark and Todd (without Lyman's knowledge), who show him the letters from his mistress and suggest that any attempt on his part to seek a political career designed to unseat Lyman will result in the letters being made public. As in the movie, the book implies a previous relationship between "Jiggs" Casey and Eleanor Hollbrook; but in the novel Casey is happily married with two sons, and Scott's mistress is actually another character, who is omitted from the film version. The presidential press conference was included in the novel, but occurs after Scott and his co-conspirators have resigned. It is used as a vehicle to wrap up the novel, when Lyman announces replacements for the resigned service chiefs, as well as promoting "Jiggs" Casey to Brigadier General in the Marine Corps, and assigned as the Marine aide to the President.

Cast

Cast notes

Accolades

Seven Days in May was nominated for two 1965 Academy Awards,[12] for Edmond O'Brien for "Best Actor in a Supporting Role", and for "Best Art Direction-Set Decoration/Black-and-White" for Cary Odell and Edward G. Boyle. In that year's Golden Globe Awards, O'Brien won for "Best Supporting Actor", while Frederic March, John Frankenheimer, and composer Jerry Goldsmith were nominated but did not win.

Frankenheimer won a Danish Bodil Award for directing the "Best Non-European Film", and Rod Serling was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for "Best Written American Drama."

In popular culture

"Riley" and "Deffenbaugh," the surnames of two of the Joint Chiefs in the conspiracy, were combined to form the name of the loan collection officer (only heard over the phone) in the 1996 Coen Brothers film "Fargo."

Remakes

The film was remade and updated in 1994 by HBO and renamed The Enemy Within with Sam Waterson as "President William Foster," Jason Robards as "General R. Pendleton Lloyd" and Forest Whitaker as "Colonel MacKenzie 'Mac' Casey." This particular version followed the plot of the original closely at times with some changes made for contemporary audiences and the end of the Cold War. However, the ending is changed and some incidents are omitted.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Archer, Jules. The Plot to Seize the White House: The Shocking True Story of the Conspiracy to Overthrow FDR Telson USA, 2007. ASIN B0015T681A
  2. ^ a b c Jeff Stafford "Seven Days in May" (TCM article)
  3. ^ Frankenheimer, John and Champlin, Charles. John Frankenheimer : A Conversation Riverwood Press, 1995. ISBN 1880756137
  4. ^ a b Douglas, Kirk. The Ragman's Son New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988.
  5. ^ IMDB Filming Locations
  6. ^ TCM Notes
  7. ^ Pratley, Gerald. The Cinema of John Frankenheimer London: A. Zwemmer, 1969. ISBN 978-0302020005.
  8. ^ "Robert Kennedy and his Times", Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Futura Publications, p485, 1979, ISBN 0 7088 1633 9
  9. ^ TCM Overview
  10. ^ Seven Days in May at the Internet Movie Database
  11. ^ John Houseman at the Internet Movie Database
  12. ^ "NY Times: Seven Days in May". NY Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/43837/Seven-Days-in-May/awards. Retrieved 2008-12-25. 

External links


Seven Days in May
File:Sevendays
original film poster
Directed by John Frankenheimer
Produced by John Frankenheimer
Edward Lewis
Written by Novel:
Fletcher Knebel
Charles W. Bailey II
Screenplay:
Rod Serling
Starring Burt Lancaster
Kirk Douglas
Fredric March
Ava Gardner
Edmond O'Brien
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Ellsworth Fredericks
Editing by Ferris Webster
Distributed by Paramount Pictures (original release)
Warner Bros. (current rights holders)
Release date(s) February 12, 1964
(Washington, D.C. premiere)
Running time 118 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2.2 million (est.)

Seven Days in May is an American political thriller novel written by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II and published in 1962. It was made into a motion picture in 1964, with a screenplay by Rod Serling, directed by John Frankenheimer, and starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas.

The story is said to have been influenced by the right-wing anti-Communist political activities of General Edwin A. Walker after he resigned from the military. An additional inspiration was provided by the 1961 interview Knebel, who was also a political journalist and columnist, conducted with the newly-appointed Air Force Chief of Staff, Curtis LeMay, an advocate of preventive first-strike nuclear option.

President John F. Kennedy had read the novel and believed the scenario it described could actually occur in the United States. According to director John Frankenheimer in his director's commentary, production of the film received encouragement and assistance from Kennedy through White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger, who conveyed to Frankenheimer Kennedy's wish that the film be produced and that, although the Pentagon did not want the film made, the President would conveniently arrange to visit Hyannis Port for a weekend when the film needed to shoot outside the White House.

Contents

Plot

The setting is the Cold War era. With nuclear capabilities developed by the late 1950s, both the United States and the Soviet Union are poised as superpowers unprecedented in world history. Each has the capability to do massive devastation or even totally annihilate the other, and has missiles and bombs at the ready. Unlike times of the past, when more conventional warfare required the much more time to set the wheels of armed conflict into motion, now the power to wield such forces and to do so quickly is literally in the hands of a few leaders. To many people, Armageddon could be the push of a button away.

The fears of many people about this new level of risk are not without logical basis, given the history earlier in the 20th century, of two world-wide wars, numerous other acts of war and aggression, millions of deaths, and untold property damage and suffering. The timing of both the book and the movie (which was set 5 years later than the book) are each less than 20 years after the end of World War II. Many people have memories of the abuse of power by such widely-followed leaders as Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, who were only later recognized for the threat they were to peace-seeking peoples. Power in the hands of such leaders is even more scary to them when the newer nuclear capabilities could enable even less practical obstacles to their actions.

In this setting, many people would seek to somehow equally reduce the risks without upsetting a balance of power that currently purports to be preventative of any unilateral acts one against the other. There is also a deep sense of distrust all the way around regarding anyone "letting their guard down", so to speak. In the United States, there are deep divisions on the subject, where the expenditures and military capabilities are officially characterized as "defense" resources. The deep divisions within the country over the wisdom or folly of disarmament efforts and treaties lead to the situation where the story begins.

U.S. President Jordan Lyman faces a wave of public dissatisfaction with his decision to sign a treaty with the Soviet Union, an agreement that will supposedly result in both nations simultaneously destroying their nuclear weapons under mutual international inspection. This is extremely unpopular with both the President's opposition and the military, who believe the Soviets cannot be trusted.

As the debate rages on, a Pentagon insider, United States Marine Corps Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey, becomes aware of a conspiracy among the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) led by his own superior officer, the charismatic Air Force General James Mattoon Scott. He uncovers a shocking secret: Scott and his JCS cohorts, along with allies in the United States Congress led by Senator Frederick Prentice and influential media personality Harold McPherson, are plotting to stage a coup d'etat to remove President Lyman and his cabinet seven days hence.

ECOMCON (for "Emergency Communications Control"), which controls the nation's telephone, radio and television network infrastructure, is to be seized by a secret United States Army combat unit created by Scott and based in Texas near Fort Bliss. The entire base had been created surreptitiously outside normal procedures without informing either the President or Congressional leaders.

From their headquarters within a vast underground nuclear shelter called "Mount Thunder" (based on the actual continuity of government facility maintained by the U.S. at Mount Weather in Berryville, Virginia), the General will use the power of the media and the military to prevent the implementation of the treaty.

Although personally opposed to President Lyman's position, Casey is appalled by the unconstitutional cabal. He therefore alerts Lyman and his inner circle: Secret Service Director Art Corwin, Secretary of the Treasury Christopher Todd, presidential adviser Paul Girard and Georgia Senator Raymond Clark, a political and personal ally of the President.

As the countdown begins, both sides maneuver behind the scenes: Lyman sends Casey to New York City to ferret out secrets that can be used against Scott, which forces Casey to cruelly deceive the general's former mistress, the vulnerable Ellie Holbrook. He leaves her in possession of incriminating letters between her and General Scott, evidence of the conspiracy.

The President also sends the aging, alcoholic Clark to El Paso, Texas to see if he can locate the base (covertly known as "Site Y"). Girard leaves for the Mediterranean to obtain a confession from Vice Admiral Farley C. Barnswell, the 6th Fleet commander, who knows of the plot but decides not to participate in it (responding through a code involving the Preakness horse race). Girard gains the admiral's written confession, and telephones the President before boarding a plane from Madrid back to Washington.

To the President's dismay and sorrow, Girard is killed when the passenger airliner he is taking for the return trip to Washington crashes into a mountain in Spain. Clark finds the secret base, but is taken captive by Colonel Broderick and held incommunicado. Clark is visited by the base's deputy commander, Colonel Mutt Henderson, a friend of Jiggs Casey. The senator persuades Henderson to help him escape, but at the airport, while Clark makes a call to the President, Henderson, who was supposed to wait nearby, cannot be found.

Lyman finds out about secret Air Force transports being flown to various cities from General Barney Rutkowski. He immediately orders them grounded.

A showdown with Scott is scheduled in the Oval Office. The President confronts him with the accusations and demands his resignation "along with the other members of the Joint Chiefs involved with this treason". Scott denies any guilt, claiming that the President had verbally approved of the secret base in Texas. However, he also launches into a debate with Lyman, arguing that approval of the treaty would weaken the U.S. and lead to an attack by the Soviets. Lyman tries to reason with Scott, explaining that a military coup would send a signal that could result in a preemptive strike by Moscow. However, Scott is unmoved, stating that he feels the American people are behind his position. Lyman considers using the blackmail letters, but decides against it. Scott is allowed to leave.

Shortly thereafter, Scott briefs the other two members of the JCS, who are now close to panicking. However, he demands everyone stay in line, pointing out that the President does not seem to have the evidence he would need to bring charges of treason successfully. Somewhat reassured, the others agree to stick to the plan.

Scott's plan is to appear on all television and radio networks simultaneously on Sunday to denounce the President, but first Lyman holds a press conference where he demands the resignation of Scott and all members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. However, the conference is interrupted when an attaché from the U.S. Embassy in Spain arrives. He has brought the handwritten confession that Girard obtained from Vice Admiral Barnswell, which has survived the crash in Girard's cigarette case. A copy is given to Scott and the other officers in on the plot. Scott's cohorts resign, and he has no choice but to call it off. The film ends with Lyman addressing the American people on the country's future.

Background

In the novel, the story is set in May 1972, not long after the conclusion of a stalemated war in Iran fought along conventional warfare lines similar to Korea (and which, unlike the Vietnam War, did not precipitate a major anti-war movement inside American society). Senator Prentice describes the peace treaty that ended the Iran war as the "summit conference in '70 that was supposed to settle the Iran business".[1] The motion picture's year of reference is not stated, thus, while the seven days are distinctly displayed by the Pentagon's day/date indicator as MON MAY 12 through SUN MAY 18, those (at the time of filming in 1963 and release in early 1964) near-future dates would only occur in 1969, 1975 or 1980. Further indication of chronological revisionism occurs with the sign, "Preakness [held on the third Saturday in May] first Sunday running May 18" and when President Lyman tells General Scott that the next presidential election is "a year and nine months away", which would set it in February 1971, February 1977 or February 1982, none of which are presidential election months or years. Whatever the case, a scene in which Colonel Casey is observing a large electronic map of active military bases, has the date in the lower right-hand corner of the map displaying, May 9, 1970. This can be clearly observed when watching the film in high-definition presentation.

The novel has White House aide Paul Girard meeting with Vice Admiral Farley C. Barnswell, USN, on board the U.S. Sixth Fleet flagship, a 100,000-ton nuclear-powered aircraft carrier named after the late President Dwight D. Eisenhower, at anchor in the Bay of Gibraltar. The U.S. Navy's third nuclear-powered supercarrier was the Nimitz class USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), which was actually commissioned in 1977.

The scenario of the film may have been inspired by the clash between General Curtis LeMay and President John F. Kennedy during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. LeMay, the Air Force Chief of Staff, believed the naval blockade of Cuba Kennedy deployed wouldn't be sufficient action and that the Soviet missile sites themselves should be bombed.

Other observers cite as the inspiration for the story a historically-ambiguous conspiracy among major industrial leaders to enlist retired Marine Gen. Smedley Butler in a plot to overthrow Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as reported by Butler in his testimony to the McCormack-Dickstein Congressional Committee in 1934.[2] (See Business Plot of 1933.)

Production

Kirk Douglas and director John Frankenheimer were the moving forces behind the filming of Seven Days in May; the film was produced through Douglas's Joel Productions. Douglas agreed to star in it, but he also wanted his frequent co-star Burt Lancaster to star in the film as well. This almost caused Frankenheimer to back out, since he and Lancaster had butted heads on The Birdman of Alcatraz several years before. Only Douglas's assurances that Lancaster would behave kept the director on the project.[3] Ironically, Lancaster and Frankenheimer became close friends during the filming, while Douglas and the director had a falling out.[4][5]

Some of the other actors had problems with Frankenheimer. Ava Gardner thought he favored the other actors over her, and Martin Balsam objected to his habit of shooting off pistols behind him during important scenes.[3]

Interiors for Seven Days in May were shot at the Paramount studios in Hollywood, and on location in Paris, France, Washington, D.C., San Diego, Arizona and in California's Imperial Valley.[6][7] In an example of guerrilla filmmaking, Frankenheimer photographed Martin Balsam being ferried out to the supercarrier USS Kitty Hawk, formerly CVA-63 (now CV-63), berthed at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego without prior Defense Department permission. He also wanted a shot of Kirk Douglas entering the Pentagon, but could not get permission because of security considerations, so he rigged a movie camera in a parked station wagon to photograph Douglas walking up to the Pentagon. Douglas actually received salutes from military personnel because he was wearing the uniform of a U.S. Marine Corps colonel.[8]

Getting permission near the White House was easier. Frankenheimer said that Pierre Salinger conveyed to him President Kennedy's wish that the film be made, "these were the days of General Walker" and, though the Pentagon did not want the film made, the President would conveniently arrange to visit Hyannis Port for a weekend when the film needed to shoot outside the White House.[9] Kirk Douglas recalled President Kennedy approving of the making of the film.[10]

Some efforts were made in the film to have the film appear to take place in the near future, for instance the use of the then-futuristic technology of video teleconferencing. The film also featured the then recently issued M16 rifle.

Seven Days in May premiered on 12 February 1964, appropriately in Washington, D.C.[11] It opened to good critical notices and audience response.[3]

Endings

According to Douglas, an alternate ending was shot, but discarded:
General Scott, the treacherous Burt Lancaster character, goes off in his sports car, and dies in a wreck. Was it an accident or suicide? Coming up out of the wreckage over the car radio is President Jordan Lyman's speech about the sanctity of the Constitution. Instead, the last time we see Burt is in his confrontation with me. He regards me as a traitor to him; I know he has been a traitor to the country. He says to me, "Do you know who Judas was?" I answer, "Yes. He's a man I used to work for and respect, until he disgraced the four stars on his uniform."[5]

The plotline of the novel differs from the film version on several points. In the book, during the Oval Office meeting between Lyman and Scott, the President already has possession of Barnswell's written confession and presents it to Scott, who subsequently tenders his resignation before leaving the White House. As Scott is departing the Executive Mansion, he is confronted by Clark and Todd (without Lyman's knowledge), who show him the letters from his mistress and suggest that any attempt on his part to seek a political career designed to unseat Lyman will result in the letters being made public. As in the movie, the book implies a previous relationship between "Jiggs" Casey and Eleanor Hollbrook; but in the novel Casey is happily married with two sons, and Scott's mistress is actually another character, who is omitted from the film version. The presidential press conference was included in the novel, but occurs after Scott and his co-conspirators have resigned. It is used as a vehicle to wrap up the novel, when Lyman announces replacements for the resigned service chiefs, as well as promoting "Jiggs" Casey to Brigadier General in the Marine Corps, and assigned as the Marine aide to the President.

Credits

Unbilled speaking roles (in order of appearance)

  • Malcolm Atterbury (Horace, president's physician: "Why, in God's name, do we elect a man president and then try to see how fast we can kill him?")
  • Jack Mullaney ("All properly decoded in 4.0 fashion and respectfully submitted by yours truly, Lieutenant junior grade, Dorsey Grayson.")
  • Charles Watts (Stu Dillard, Washington insider: "Oh, Senator, pardon me, come along, I want you to meet the wife of the Indian ambassador.")
  • John Larkin (Colonel John Broderick: "Well, well, well, if it isn't my favorite jarhead himself, Jiggs Casey.")
  • Colette Jackson (Girl in Charlie's Bar, near secret base in Texas: "You wonder what the country's comin' to. All those boys sittin' up in the desert never seein' no girls. Why, they might as well be in stir.")
  • John Houseman (Vice Admiral Farley C. Barnswell: "I'm sorry, sir. I can only recount to you the situation as it occurred. I signed no paper. He took nothing with him.")
  • Rodolfo Hoyos (Captain Ortega, commander at airplane crash site in Spain: "There were only two American nationals on board — a Mrs. Agnes Buchanan from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and a Mr. Paul Girard. His destination was Washington.")
  • Fredd Wayne (Henry Whitney, official from American embassy in Spain: "You find any effects of the Americans? Anything at all?")
  • Tyler McVey (General Hardesty: "Barney Rutkowski, Air Defense. He's screaming bloody murder about those twelve troop carriers dispatched to El Paso")
  • Ferris Webster [editor of Seven Days in May] (General Barney Rutkowski: "There's some kind of a secret base out there, Mr. President, and I think I should have been notified of it.")

Character names

Other than the billing, "Also starring Ava Gardner as Eleanor Holbrook", none of the other characters are credited with official names, thus although Kirk Douglas' "Jiggs Casey" and Andrew Duggan's "Mutt Henderson" are elsewhere described as having the given names of "Martin" and "William", respectively, those names are never mentioned in the film. Also, while Rod Serling's screenplay names the head of the White House Secret Service as "Art Corwin", in the film he is only referenced as "Art" or "Arthur". The surname "Corwin" was a tribute to the radio drama writer Serling described as his idol, Norman Corwin, while the given name "Art" was a nod to Serling's personal favorite, Art Carney, who played the Santa Claus character, "Henry Corwin" in "The Night of the Meek", Serling's 1960 Christmas episode of The Twilight Zone.

Cast members deleted from final print or unconfirmed

  • Although he cannot be discerned in the final version of Seven Days in May, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?'s Victor Buono who, on April 8, 1963, at the 35th Academy Awards, was one of five nominees vying for Best Supporting Actor, is indicated as having participated in the production
  • One-armed bit player Bill Raisch, who also appears in the listings of unbilled cast members, was cast at the time in the iconic, non-speaking, intermittent role of the killer in the TV series, The Fugitive, which premiered on September 17, 1963
  • Minor supporting actor Leonard Nimoy, who gained stardom three years later, in 1966, as Star Trek's Mr. Spock, likewise appears among the unbilled actors listed as having been cast in this film

Accolades

Seven Days in May was nominated for two 1965 Academy Awards,[12] for Edmond O'Brien for "Best Actor in a Supporting Role", and for "Best Art Direction-Set Decoration/Black-and-White" for Cary Odell and Edward G. Boyle. In that year's Golden Globe Awards, O'Brien won for "Best Supporting Actor", while Frederic March, John Frankenheimer and composer Jerry Goldsmith received nominations.

Frankenheimer won a Danish Bodil Award for directing the "Best Non-European Film" and Rod Serling was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for "Best Written American Drama."

In popular culture

"Riley" and "Deffenbaugh," the surnames of two of the Joint Chiefs in the conspiracy, were combined to form the name of the loan collection officer (only heard over the phone) in the 1996 Coen Brothers film "Fargo."

Remakes

The film was remade and updated in 1994 by HBO and renamed The Enemy Within with Sam Waterson as "President William Foster", Jason Robards as "General R. Pendleton Lloyd" and Forest Whitaker as "Colonel MacKenzie 'Mac' Casey". This particular version followed the plot of the original closely at times with some changes made for contemporary audiences and the end of the Cold War. However, the ending is changed and some incidents are omitted.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ P. 24 Seven Days in May
  2. ^ Archer, Jules. The Plot to Seize the White House: The Shocking True Story of the Conspiracy to Overthrow FDR. Telson USA, 2007. ASIN B0015T681A
  3. ^ a b c Jeff Stafford "Seven Days in May" (TCM article)
  4. ^ Frankenheimer, John and Champlin, Charles. John Frankenheimer : A Conversation Riverwood Press, 1995. ISBN 1880756137
  5. ^ a b Douglas, Kirk. The Ragman's Son. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988.
  6. ^ IMDB Filming Locations
  7. ^ TCM Notes
  8. ^ Pratley, Gerald. The Cinema of John Frankenheimer London: A. Zwemmer, 1969. ISBN 978-0302020005.
  9. ^ "Robert Kennedy and his Times", Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Futura Publications, p485, 1979, ISBN 0 7088 1633 9
  10. ^ Seven Days in May commentary as part of the Kirk Douglas Featured Collection at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research
  11. ^ http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=16136&category=Overview TCM Overview]
  12. ^ "NY Times: Seven Days in May". NY Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/43837/Seven-Days-in-May/awards. Retrieved 2008-12-25. 

External links


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message