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A renegade USAF general, Lawrence Dell, escapes from a military prison and takes over an ICBM silo near Montana and threatens to provoke World War 3 unless the President reveals details of a secret meeting held just after the start of the Vietnam War between Dell and the then President's most trusted advisors. Written by
Dave Jenkins <email@example.com>
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Exciting and gripping picture in which a maverick general takes a missile base hostage threatening to begin WWIII
A renegade USAF general, Lawrence Dell (Burt Lancaster) and his band (Paul Winfield , Burt Young , William Smith) , escape from a military prison and take over an ICBM silo near Montana . They have invaded Silo 3 and are prepared to launch nine nuclear missiles . Head saboteur General Lawrence threatens to provoke World War 3 unless the government and President of the United States (Charles Durning , though Paul Newman was offered the role , but turned it down) carry out their conditions , as they demand the followings : ¨Ten million dollars , Air Force One (it was only painted on one side) and you Mr President¨ as he must reveal details of a secret meeting and confess the Vietnam policies and crimes .
Thrilling film about nuclear threatening that contains noisy action , suspense , intrigue , thrills and being pretty entertaining . One of the very few films made in the late 1970's to be shown with an intermission and an extended use of split screens functioning to a large degree in tightening the intrigue . The movie's weakest point is the television style and some ridiculous dialogues as when an enemy appears and Paul Winfield tells ¨Perhaps he might be a midget¨and Lancaster responds : ¨There are no midgets in the United States Air Force¨. Based on a novel by Walter Wager titled ¨Viper three¨ with interesting screenplay from Ronald M. Cohen and Edward Huebsch . The secret policy is closely based on the 1957 book "Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy" by Henry Kissinger, in which the future Secretary of State outlines a strategy committing the US to promoting regional conflicts to deter the Soviets' initiating full-scale war. Top-notch acting by Lancaster as a thinking madman who holds America to ransom by kidnapping atomic missiles . Burt Lancaster initially turned the script down when he was first approached about the project, but eventually agreed to do it after Robert Aldrich became attached to the picture. This is Burt Lancaster's fourth collaboration with director Robert Aldrich, after Apache (1954), Veracruz (1954) and Ulzana's raid (1972). Very good support cast such as Roscoe Lee Browne as James Forrest , Joseph Cotten as Secretary of State , Melvyn Douglas as Zachariah Guthrie , Richard Jaeckel as Capt. Stanford , William Marshall as Attorney General , Gerald S. O'Loughlin as Brig. Gen. O'Rourke , Richard Widmark as Gen. Martin and final film of Charles McGraw , Lionel Murton and Leif Erickson . Atmospheric cinematography by Robert Hauser , all of the scenes were shot with two cameras running . Thrilling and suspenseful musical score by the master Jerry Goldsmith .
The motion picture was professionally directed by Robert Aldrich , he even turned down a large salary and a 10% profit stake in ¨A bridge too far¨1977) in order to make this film and he finished the film ten days ahead of schedule . Here Robert Aldrich gave a tense and brilliant direction . Aldrich began writing and directing for TV series in the early 1950s, and directed his first feature in 1953 (Big Leaguer ,1953). Soon thereafter he established his own production company and produced most of his own films, collaborating in the writing of many of them . Directed in a considerable plethora of genres but almost all of his films contained a subversive undertone . He was an expert on warlike (Dirty Dozen , The Angry Hills , Attack , Ten seconds to hell) and Western (The Frisko kid , Ulzana's raid, Apache , Veracruz , The last sunset) . Rating : acceptable and decent movie , it's a must see for Burt Lancaster fans .
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