|Kirk Douglas, Martin Balsam and Fredric March|
SEVEN DAYS IN MAY (1964). Director: John Frankenheimer. Screenplay by Rod Serling, from a novel by Fletcher Knebel.
U.S. President Lyman (Fredric March) has pushed through a nuclear disarmament pact with the U.S.S.R. that most of the people and military disagree with, not trusting the Russians. Colonel "Jiggs" Casey (Kirk Douglas) thinks he may have uncovered a plot by General Scott (Burt Lancaster) to capture Lyman and have a military take-over of the United States. Some people think Casey is paranoid and has no real proof -- although he has also uncovered a top-secret military base that the president has never heard of -- but as the time approaches, the evidence, and the suspicious death of at least one investigator, indicates that he may be right. Seven Days in May is a crackling good suspense thriller bolstered by excellent performances from the entire cast, including those already named, as well as Martin Balsam, Edmond O'Brien, George Macready, and Ava Gardner (as an old girlfriend of the general's). John Houseman plays an admiral, Andrew Duggan an Army man, and Hugh Marlowe, Whit Bissell, Richard Anderson, and Malcolm Atterbury have smaller roles. Fredric March is especially outstanding.
Verdict: Taut, fast-paced and terrific. ***1/2.