Friday, February 17, 2017

“Seven Days In May” is the March Film Classic in Bigfork

This 1964 movie classic, "Seven Days in May," has all the suspense and mystery of the best.  Being set in relatively modern times it will bring you back to an era when nuclear war was not that far removed from the American public’s mind.  The Cuban missile crisis was only two years earlier in 1962. The book, from which the film is based, was done in 1961, and the then current president John Kennedy read it and felt a certain “connection” with its basic premise. “Seven Days In May” is the March Classic Movie shown on the big screen of the Edge Theatre in Bigfork by Jack Nachbar. It will be accompanied by Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the time period of the movie.  Date: Thursday March 9th. Time: 6:30PM. Price: free of charge.

The list of stars in the movie is impressive with Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredrick March and Ava Gardner doing the acting of this Rod Sterling mystery-suspense story. The movie going public certainly got the big hitters of the 60s in this one story. An out of control military with a secret plot to take over the country played well to a public that went through WWII, the Korean Conflict, and during an ongoing Vietnam struggle. It received  positive critical reviews and audience response. With two Academy awards nominations, a Danish Bodl award for directing and Rod Sterling’s nomination for a Writer’s Guild of America award, the book and movie made a serious impact on the public and industry of its period.

Kirk Douglas had originally signed to play General James Mattoon Scott, but he realized that his friend Burt Lancaster would be perfect for Scott, so Kirk took the less flashy role of Col. Martin “Jiggs” Casey when Burt joined the cast.

Kirk Douglas was born Issur Danielvitch 1916 and is one of the last living actors of Hollywood’s Golden age. In his 64-year career he has appeared in more than 90 movies. Douglas was a box office star in the 1950s and 60s. known for his serious dramas, he was often seen in war movies and westerns. His first Oscar nomination was in 1949. Douglas has three nominations, an Oscar for lifetime achievement and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He also wrote ten novels and memoirs and is number 17 on the American Film Institute’s list of greatest male screen legends. He is the highest ranking person still alive on the list.  He co-stared with Burt Lancaster in seven movies. 

Burt Lancaster, born Stephen “Burt” Lancaster (1913-1994), was originally known for playing tough guys in films, but learned to play more complex characters as his career developed.  He was nominated four times for Oscars and won once for his acting in "Elmer Gantry".  He also won a Golden Globe for the same performance, and BAFTA Awards for the "Birdman of Alcatraz" along with "Atlantic City". The American Film Institute ranks Lancaster  number 19 on the list of the greatest male stars of classic Hollywood movies.  

Director and backer of this film, John Frankenheimer, almost quit when he heard Kirk Douglas’ friend Burt Lancaster was going to be in the movie because he had had a very bad experience with Burt in a previous movie, "Bird Man of Alcatraz". Burt, during an argument about where the camera should be for a particular scene, had physically picked up Frankenheimer, moved him to a different place, and set him back down telling him that IT was the spot for the camera…period.  Kirk promised to keep Burt under control, which he did.

If you need more incentive to come to Bigfork and see this powerful movie for yourself, you can read what one review of the period by Bosley Crowther published in February 12 1964 in the New York Times. Bosley wrote, “As a matter of fact, there is a great deal about the ‘Seven Day In May’ that is rousing and encouraging to a feeling of confidence and pride – and this in addition to the feelings of tension and excitement it stirs…” For the whole review go to:

So come and see this thriller of a movie. Place: The Edge Centre for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday March 9th at 6:30PM. It will be worth going to Bigfork, because Jack will provide you with background about the movie and a cartoon of the period. An appropriate snack will be served courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist, Lynn.