by request: hell is for heroes (don siegel, 1962)
music friday: 1995

seven days in may (john frankenheimer, 1964)

The plot (a potential military coup in the United States) is carried along with a useful momentum that prevents boredom. It is also busy enough that we don't have time to think of the holes in the plot while we are watching it. The truth is, while the plot is what keeps Seven Days in May seem fresh to this day, its successes are largely in the acting and writing. Frankenheimer isn't much for straightforward presentation of scenes, but he knows when he has something special, and there are a couple of scenes that crackle because of the all-star cast, Frederic March, Burt Lancaster, and Kirk Douglas being the leads. (Ava Gardner, on the other hand, is wasted, and she's the only woman of note in the movie.) The pleasures of the cast go down to the secondary roles, as well, with a plethora of "That Guys" including a personal favorite, Whit Bissell. John Houseman even turns up with an uncredited appearance, his first in front of the camera. Seven Days in May falls short of its predecessor, The Manchurian Candidate, but delivers as solid entertainment.


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