We watched Seven Days in May (1964) last night with Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster and I couldn’t help but notice that George Macready played a senior politician who confronts a rogue general (Douglas) about the perceived threat of a military overthrow of the US Government over a negotiated nuclear treaty with Russia. Macready played Gen. Paul Mireau in Paths of Glory (1957) and was equally confrontational with Col. Dax (Kirk Douglas). John Frankenheimer must of seen the two of them in Paths and fought to have Macready play the part of Christopher Todd, an aide/advisor to the President.
Seven Days in May has many elements which are relevant to today’s political/military landscape except now is Iran not Russia that so many are concerned about. I really recommend watching it again to anyone. We learned about Frankenheimer’s career evolving out of television many years ago when Phil May was teaching the class and there is a television feel to this movie and it’s in black and white. Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas playing with and then against each other are great.
here’s a thrilling exchange
Christopher Todd: I think it’s time we faced the enemy, Mr. President.
President Jordan Lyman: He’s not the enemy. Scott, the Joint Chiefs, even the very emotional, very illogical lunatic fringe: they’re not the enemy. The enemy’s an age – a nuclear age. It happens to have killed man’s faith in his ability to influence what happens to him. And out of this comes a sickness…