Sign in to follow this  
papyrusbeetle

7 DAYS IN MAY --- weird and wonderful presidency

8 posts in this topic

Just watched the dvd of SEVEN DAYS IN MAY---(with a commentary track by the director, John Frankenheimer.)

 

Toss this fascinating flick into the "Kennedy" movie genre, and into the "super-star" presidency genre of US films as well.

Frankenheimer takes us to the guts of this drama and his filming of it with a lot of "inside" info.

 

JFK was a big fan of MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, and cooperated with the filming of SEVEN DAYS, as well, letting the White House be photographed in detail for the sets, and letting the first scenes (a violent protest in front of the White House) be photographed on location.

 

There is a lot of irony in all this film history and real history. The President in the movie (Frederic March) is considered too kind to the Russians, making a disarmament treaty with them (at the height of the Cold War, 1963).

The "President" character is a good man but hard to cozy up to in the story---no wife, no children, no grandchildren, or even cuddly pets, anywhere in his world. How DID he get elected?

 

In the movie JFK, Kennedy was fictionally accused of making a "deal" with the Russians after the Cuban Missile Crisis--which actually happened.

Then he was shot by a "Marxist-Leninist", Lee Harvey Oswald.

 

Other weird things are going on in this film that was styled, at the time, to be "in the future".

Frankenheimer used European cars in most scenes to look futuristic.

He showed the characters "teleconferencing" with TV monitors.

He had "wall screens" in a Pentagon crisis room.

 

And, there are "incriminating letters" to be used as blackmail against the villain---a reference to similar mysterious (imaginary) letters between Dwight Eisenhower and his British driver during WW2, Kay Sommersby. Was Truman going to use those letters against Eisenhower?

Who knows?

Who cares?

With everything (and everyone) that JFK was "doing", even in the White House itself, at that moment in history, would anyone care about letters?

 

Weird, futuristic in a non-computerized world, and with TERRIBLE wardrobe for Ava Gardner (as a Washington groupie, hanging in her fancy apartment, she's dressed like a nun. Let's get her in a low-cut sweater and capri pants for hanging around her apartment, PLEASE?)

 

This movie is weird in a good way.

And in a really terrible, prophetic way.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The "President" character is a good man but hard to cozy up to in the story---no wife, no children, no grandchildren, or even cuddly pets, anywhere in his world. How DID he get elected?

 

 

 

Well said.   As for the President;  I have seen the film 3 or 4 times but I don't recall that he had no wife, etc...  Yea,  they are not seen in the film but not that he didn't have any, period.  

 

If that is the case, yea,  how did he get elected.   No way would a gay man be elected (and there would of course be rumors about a man his age that never married).    But hey James Buchanan was elected but is ranked by historians as one of the worst Presidents.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not really that the President is "gay" (not in this movie universe, at all!), it's that he has a totally empty life.

He has no voter appeal.

He's admirable, but that's about it.

 

I mean, even Calvin Coolidge (an accidental president) had wife, children, and pets, including a raccoon!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not really that the President is "gay" (not in this movie universe, at all!), it's that he has a totally empty life.

He has no voter appeal.

He's admirable, but that's about it.

 

I mean, even Calvin Coolidge (an accidental president) had wife, children, and pets, including a raccoon!

 

Decades ago a man that appears to have an empty life (as displayed to the public),  is a gay man that lives in the closet.

 

The clue here is 'appears to have':  I.e.  he wasn't really living an empty life,  instead he just couldn't be public about the actual live (loves) he had.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well said.   As for the President;  I have seen the film 3 or 4 times but I don't recall that he had no wife, etc...  Yea,  they are not seen in the film but not that he didn't have any, period.  

 

If that is the case, yea,  how did he get elected.   No way would a gay man be elected (and there would of course be rumors about a man his age that never married).    But hey James Buchanan was elected but is ranked by historians as one of the worst Presidents.

 

The President's personal life is irrelevant to the story in Seven Days.  (James Buchanan, our first gay president, was elected before there was radio, TV, internet, etc.  As for being one of the worst Presidents, I think he may have been joined by a few others over the years.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The President's personal life is irrelevant to the story in Seven Days.  (James Buchanan, our first gay president, was elected before there was radio, TV, internet, etc.  As for being one of the worst Presidents, I think he may have been joined by a few others over the years.)

 

Note that the original poster about this said "hard to cozy up to in the story---no wife, no children, no grandchildren, or even cuddly pets, anywhere in his world".

 

I just asked if the President really had NONE of those OR where they just not shown.    I tend to agree with you that the President did have a wife,  children, etc... (since the vast majority of President did),   and they were just not shown,  but the OP implied otherwise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really think (in the 1960's, or whatever future date they designed this movie for) that SOMETHING about the President could be tagged into the script without losing the DRAMA.

 

He's heading up to Maine to his fishing camp---we could have a companion of some sort mentioned.

A dog? please?

 

Perhaps if this "good man" had any more personal details surrounding him in the story, the writers felt it was distracting to the movie audience.

 

Of course, in comparison to Burt Lancaster as TOTALLY psychopathic (sort of a J.J. Hunsecker - from SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS --  with military power), the President seems cuddly enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually remember reading somewhere that the opening scene in front of the White House was not authorized and they had to do it on the QT, although I'm not sure how easy that would have been to pull off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us