An unpopular U.S. President manages to get a nuclear disarmament treaty through the Senate, but finds that the nation is turning against him. Jiggs Casey, a Marine Colonel, finds evidence that General Scott, the wildly popular head of the Joint Chiefs and certain Presidential Candidate in 2 years is not planning to wait. Casey goes to the president with the information and a web of intrigue begins with each side unsure of who can be trusted.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
George Macready who plays Christopher Todd previously starred with Kirk Douglas in 1957's 'Paths of Glory.' See more »
In the Blue Lake scene, the placard describing the Secret Service's filming of the boat shows the time to be 0615 hours (6:15 a.m.), yet the bright sunlight indicates it is actually much later in the day. See more »
General James Mattoon Scott:
And if you want to talk about your oath of office, I'm here to tell you face to face, President Lyman, that you violated that oath when you stripped this country of its muscles - when you deliberately played upon the fear and fatigue of the people and told them they could remove that fear by the stroke of a pen. And then when this nation rejected you, lost faith in you, and began militantly to oppose you, you violated that oath by not resigning from office and turning the country over to ...
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Perhaps one of the most genuinely suspenseful films every made, this paranoic film should be seen in conjunction with its natural brethren, "The Parallax View" and "The Manchurian Candidate" (which is also directed by John Frankenheimer).
The film's strength lies in a group of superb performance -- Burt Lancaster as the ramrod-stiff and egomaniacal general bent on saving the United States by planning the overthrow of the government; Kirk Douglas as his senior staff officer, who only gradually realizes what his boss is planning and just how dangerous he is; Fredric March as the world-weary President; and especially Edmond O'Brien as the souse of a Senator who, like March, demonstrates the kind of ingenuity and resolve that Lancaster and his co-conspirators assume they don't possess. These performers, as well as a splendid supporting cast, make Rod Serling's sometimes preachy dialogue seem completely real, and some of the scenes -- notably the final face-off between March and Lancaster -- seem on the verge of exploding.
Frankenheimer's low-key direction feeds this tension, by allowing the dialogue and the situations do the work. Would-be filmmakers looking to specialize in thrillers should probably spend more time watching films like this than modern-day "thrillers" like "Enemy of the State" or "Conspiracy Theory" which rely more on violence than actual dramatic tension.
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