Seven Days in May – John Frankenheimer (1964)


Seven Days in May is a 1964 American political thriller motion picture about a military-political cabal‘s planned takeover of the United States government in reaction to the president’s negotiation of a disarmament treaty with the Soviet Union. Directed by John Frankenheimer, it stars Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March, and Ava Gardner. The screenplay was written by Rod Serling based on the novel of the same name by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II, published in September 1962. The book was written in late 1961 and into early 1962, during the first year of the Kennedy administration, reflecting some of the events of that era. In November 1961, President John F. Kennedy accepted the resignation of vociferously anti-Communist General Edwin Walker who was indoctrinating the troops under his command with personal political opinions and had described former President Harry S. Truman, former United States Secretary of State Dean Acheson, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and other recent still-active public figures as Communist sympathizers. Although no longer in uniform, Walker continued to be in the news as he attempted to run for Governor of Texas and made speeches promoting strongly right-wing views. In the film version of Seven Days in May, Fredric March, portraying the narrative’s fictional President Jordan Lyman, mentions General Walker as one of the ‘false prophets’ who were offering themselves to the public as leaders. (John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald purportedly fired rifle shots into the home of General Walker in April 1963. … The story is set in the early 1970s, ten years in the future at the time of the film’s 1964 release, and the Cold War is still a problem (in the 1962 book, the setting was May 1974 after a stalemated war in Iran). U.S. President Jordan Lyman has recently signed a nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviet Union, and the subsequent ratification has produced a wave of public dissatisfaction, especially among Lyman’s opposition and the military, who believe the Soviets cannot be trusted. A Pentagon insider, United States Marine Corps Colonel ‘Jiggs’ Casey (the Director of the Joint Staff), stumbles on evidence that the Joint Chiefs of Staff, led by the charismatic Air Force General James Mattoon Scott, intend to stage a coup d’etat to remove Lyman and his cabinet in seven days. …”
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amazon, amazon: Seven Days in May (novel)
YouTube: Seven Days in May – Trailer

About 1960s: Days of Rage

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