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Eva Marie Saint,
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An unpopular U.S. President manages to get a nuclear disarmament treaty through the Senate, but finds that the nation is turning against him. Jiggs Casey, a Marine Colonel, finds evidence that General Scott, the wildly popular head of the Joint Chiefs and certain Presidential Candidate in 2 years is not planning to wait. Casey goes to the president with the information and a web of intrigue begins with each side unsure of who can be trusted. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
An important plot point in the film involves the attempted coup taking place on the same day as the Preakness Stakes horse race. However, the seven-day timeline for the film would have had the coup taking place on Sunday while the Preakness is always run on a Saturday. John Frankenheimer said that the problem was solved by a scriptwriting acquaintance of his. This man worked as a script doctor and liked to gamble but wagered his professional services instead of money. Frankenheimer had won some work from the man and gave him the problem. The solution? In one scene a character walks by a poster which says "First Ever Sunday Running of the Preakness". See more »
At the time of this movie, there were five nuclear powers: USA, USSR, UK, France, and China (China only became one in 1964, the year of the movie but the film is set in the near future from 1964).
However, the treaty only speaks to disarmament between the US and USSR. The other three are not mentioned. The UK and France depend on their nuclear arsenals to counter the USSR's close and massive superiority in conventional forces. Also, by 1964, the relationship between China and the USSR had deteriorated dramatically to the point they shared the world's longest armed border. See more »
[a terse note refers to "Site Y"]
That could easily mean another place. These military games... why, the multiplicity of our secret bases confuses ourselves more than the Soviets.
See more »
Forget "West Wing", here's political maneuverings with teeth
A splendid ensemble cast brought together in a fun, tight political thriller. John Frankenheimer's direction is first rate. I can't imagine Alfred Hitchcock doing a better job. The novel by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II was first published in 1962 and takes place in the early 1970s. The film, made in 1964, is more of period piece, shot in black and white by Ellsworth Fredericks. Some of the dark tones in the film are inspired by the mood of the nation since the assassination of President Kennedy. The novel, by contrast, writes of a two-term Kennedy administration. The script by Rod Serling improves on the novel by creating a sharper climax as the president overcomes the brewing plot by panicking high-ranking military officers to overthrow the Executive Branch of the US government. The film is otherwise fairly faithful to the book. Burt Lancaster plays General James Mattoon Scott, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and universally idolized military hero. The man, it seems, would make an ideal president--and that just might happen on the seventh day in May. Kirk Douglass portrays the efficient Colonel "Jiggs" Casey, who is Scott's subordinent and reluctant hero of the film. Frederick March is credible as an aging, weary president who has recently won a hard-fought battle to ratify a treaty with the Soviet Union to eliminate atomic weapons. There is a vociferous backlash against the treaty, led by right-wing television personalities. Soon it is apparent that certain elements in the military, congress, and media are all in league to usurp power from the president and, as they would reason, save the nation from the worthless treaty. The film plays on traditional political labels, both pro and con. Even though it was made 28 years ago, one can identify with many of the characters and situations in the film. In the later 1980s, President Ronald Reagan was criticized by right wing conservatives for signing a treaty with the Soviet Union to downsize nuclear stockpiles. The film has some great editing as well, most notably the scene where some of the recent mysterious occurances are beginning to make sense to Jiggs as he watches Gen. Scott address a conservative political rally. Good camerawork as well, particularly when a nervous Jiggs finally sums up to the president the fantastic plot he believes he's stumbled upon. Another great shot occurs when General Scott presents a speech he is going to make against the president to his team of co-conspirators, only the back of his head is seen. The characters are human, the story is spellbinding, the film is a classic on all levels.
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