Starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March, Ava Gardner, Martin Balsam. Directed by John Frankenheimer. 1964, 117 mins., B&W.
It’s a nightmare political scenario in which the most fundamental assumptions of stability and order in our government seem to shake apart: An American President is stubbornly going ahead with foreign policy plans that some consider foolish and reckless. Political opposition has whooped-up public sentiment. And then the unthinkable -- the American military is planning a coup, as opinions about what’s right and wrong for the country seem to clash with Constitutional duty.
While “Seven Days In May” was certainly the product of its Cold War moment of worry over the Soviet Union, the film is really concerned with introspective danger: that in response to fear of a perceived external threat, America will destroy itself with fanaticism. The American Constitutional system is, ultimately, an act of faith: it works so long as everyone accepts it and abides by its rules whether or not they are happy about the results of doing so. Rarely if ever before “Seven Days In May” had a mainstream movie dared to suggest that our Constitutional order could be subverted and overthrown from within. In this, "Seven Days In May" was ahead of its time, anticipating the dark conspiratorial fears of power and shadowy government figures that became a staple of movies and all pop-culture in the post-Vietnam, post-Watergate 1970s. To an extent, the same can also be said of "Dr. Strangelove", another Cold War era film that also happened to be made in 1964.
But “Seven Days In May” is not a dry, academic rumination. The screenplay was written by Rod Serling, the creative genius behind the original “Twilight Zone” TV series, so it’s not surprising that the story is a taught and believable thriller that may be thought-provoking, but also extremely entertaining. Kirk Douglas, who co-stared as a military aide whose loyalties are tested, was a moving force in getting “Seven Days In May” made. So too was Director John Frankenheimer, who believed that the theme was extremely important, and felt that the finished film was one of his best. Frankenheimer also gave the movie his signature look of wide shots with deep focus. Burt Lancaster played the general plotting to violate his oath to uphold the Constitution because he thinks he knows better than the elected President; it’s a role that could easily have become a caricature – but instead, Lancaster gave a subtle, all-too believable performance that is arguably one of the very best of his distinguished career. Frederic March, one of the finest actors from the Classic Hollywood era, played the President. Martin Balsam and Ava Gardner also co-starred.
$8 for adults; $6 for seniors (65+) and children (12 & younger). Part of Classic Movie Paranoia Weekend, also screening "Three Days of the Condor" and "Dr. Strangelove", both in 35mm as well. Combo pricing for seeing more than one.
The Loew's Jersey is a place where the great movie going experience is still alive -- a classic movie palace, a 50 foot wide screen, and a real pipe organ for entrance music before most shows!
The Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre, 54 Journal Square, Jersey City, NJ. (201) 798-6055 loewsjersey.org [email protected]" target="_blank. We are located directly across JFK Blvd from the JSQ PATH Station with trains to New York & Newark’s Penn Station. Close to NJ Turnpike & Holland Tunnel. Discounted off street parking in Square Ramp Garage.
(201) 798-6055 http://www.loewsjersey.org" target="_blank [email protected]" target="_blank
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