Push the button, Max.
This big-budget, globe-trotting comedy is almost exactly as old as I am and I’ve always held a warm place in my affections for it. It’s not quiet or subtle, but it is spirited, like a Clydesdale that thinks it’s a quarter horse.
Directed by John Frankenheimer, this film teams with his masterpiece The Manchurian Candidate to form a potent one-two punch of Cold War paranoia. The earlier film, with Frank Sinatra and Laurence Harvey, boasted a more complex plot and a layer of political satire that’s not found here. That doesn’t make Seven Days in May a lesser film, just a different one with different goals. Continue reading
Think of this movie like a long, slightly boring lecture in history class, only with explosions. This attempt to do for the attack on Pearl Harbor what The Longest Day did for the D-Day invasion of Normandy succeeds on so many technical levels that it’s a shame that it fails to engage the audience emotionally in its subject matter.
\However, while it was initially a failure at the box office, I wonder if the film ultimately managed to recoup its budget through royalties from licensing pieces of the film as stock footage. It’s hard to find a movie about World War II in the Pacific over the next twenty or thirty years that doesn’t reuse at least a few shots from Tora! Tora! Tora!
Legendary French director François Truffaut famously said that it was impossible to make a truly anti-war film, because film inherently glamorizes everything it depicts. That quote is hard to reconcile, however, with the evidence of Stanley Kubrick’s first truly great movie. Continue reading