July 19, 2007

On Seven Days In May

I cannot get me enough of John Frankenheimer. Last week, I stayed up way too late when Ronin came on at 1AM. While reading an interview with David Talbot, who just published a disturbing book about Robert Kennedy and the internal battles the Kennedy Administration fought against the right-wing Military Industrial Complex crowd, he mentioned the novel, Seven Days In May. Talbot says that Kennedy wanted the novel--a bestseller about a military plot to overthrow the President--made into a movie "not only as a shot across the bow to the generals but also as a warning to the American people."

Frankenheimer shot Seven Days with Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner in 1963, just a year after The Manchurian Candidate came out. What's most amazing to me--well, where to start?--is the way certain parts of the film were shot over the military's obvious opposition.

Kennedy aide Pierre Salinger wrote that the President "conveniently arranged" to be out of the White House for a weekend when Frankenheimer needed to shoot, as if the only objection to be raised was one of logistics. Meanwhile, for at least two shots, Frankenheimer shot around the Pentagon's non-cooperation by surreptitiously filming his actors boarding an aircraft carrier and entering the Pentagon itself. It just blows my mind to imagine this happening today. Never mind that the US military was fully onboard with helping make The Transformers for some reason.

imdb data, also Seven Days In May production stories [wikipedia]
David Talbot Interview: Don't Call It A Conspiracy - The Kennedy Brothers [10zenmonkeys.com]

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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first published: July 19, 2007.

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