As powerful today as it was when it theatres 54 years ago in 1964, SEVEN DAYS IN MAY is a clinic in great screenwriting and directing.
Rod Serling (The Twilight Zone, Planet of the Apes) wrote the film and gets everything right.
We meet Col. Jiggs Casey (Kirk Douglas in his prime) a loyal, by-the-book military man who begins to grow suspicious when he hears rumblings of a secret operation.
General Scott (Burt Lancaster) is horrified that President Lyman (Fredric March) has signed a nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia. He decides to make matters into his own hands with a massive operation to take over the government.
Serling tightens the suspense as each piece of the conspiracy is revealed. He's aided greatly by Jerry Goldsmith's music score and the great John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate, Black Sunday) in the Director's chair.
Ava Gardner is terrific as a woman caught between Scott and Casey, Edmond O/Brien and Martin Balsam are as solid as always and Andrew Duggan (In Like Flynt) has a great role as an inside man that doesn't realize the government is about to be turned upside down.
March and Lancaster's final showdown scene is perfectly written and powerfully acted, with the two acting legends going at each other full tilt.
Like Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove", this film was held back from release in 1963 due to the assassination of JFK. Kennedy's aides had actually cooperated in the filming to help replicate Kennedy's office for realism.
As a military/political thriller, SEVEN DAYS IN MAY is a classic that still carries a powerful message for today. It gets an A.