Seven Days in May
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- Directed by John Frankenheimer. Written by Rod Serling, based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II.
The astounding story of an astounding military plot to take over the United States! The time is 1970 or 1980 or, possibly, tomorrow! (taglines)
General James Mattoon Scott
- I think the signing of a nuclear disarmament pact with the Soviet Union is at best an act of naivete, and at worst an unsupportable negligence. We've stayed alive because we've built up an arsenal, and we've kept the peace because we've dealt with an enemy who knew we would use that arsenal. And now we're asked to believe that a piece of paper will take the place of missile sites and Polaris submarines, and that an enemy who hasn't honored one solemn treaty in the history of its existence will now, for our convenience, do precisely that. I have strong doubts, gentlemen.
- There hasn't been a single piece of paper written in the history of mankind that could serve as a deterrent to a Pearl Harbor. I sometimes wonder why we haven't learned that lesson by now. Every 20 years or so we have to pick ourselves up off the floor bleeding and pay for that mistake. Those mistakes are delivered to us C.O.D. by peace loving men. And bought and paid for with the lives of other men. Men in uniform.
President Jordan Lyman
- [introducing his dog Trimmer to Col. Casey] Trimmer is a very political dog. He doesn't have many principles, but he's loyal to his friends.
Senator Raymond Clark
- All you've got to know is this: right now the government of the United States is sitting on top of the Washington Monument, right on the very point, tilting right and left and ready to fall off and break up on the pavement. There are just a handful of men that can prevent it. And you're one of them.
- You stay put right here... I'm going to phone the White House. Tell you what, friend: when this is over you can take off your girdle and have yourself a real good cry. Say, uh, you got a dime to stop a revolution with?
- Jordy Boy, right now, short of a Confederate miracle, you're going to be walking in a parade with both your legs cut off. But I'm not going to make matters worse by getting drunk on the job.
Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey
- Yes, I know who Judas was. He was a man I worked for and admired until he disgraced the four stars on his uniform.
Eleanor "Ellie" Holbrook
- I'll make you two promises: a very good steak, medium rare, and the truth, which is very rare.
- Senator Frederick Prentice: Ah, it's as simple as this: the President trusts Russia, and the American people don't. The people don't believe the Russians're going to take those bombs apart on July 1st, and neither do I.
- Colonel William "Mutt" Henderson: We seem to spend more time training for seizure than for prevention, like the Commies already had the stuff, and we had to get it back.
- Christopher Todd: That could easily mean another place. These military games... why, the multiplicity of our secret bases confuses ourselves more than the Soviets.
- Senator Raymond Clark: Ah, don't get your nanny up; you knew there'd be some dislocations. You can't gear a country's economy for war for 20 years, then suddenly slam on the brakes and expect the whole transition to go like grease through a goose. Hmph. Doesn't work out like that. And think how the whole psychology of the thing's been screwed up from the outset. We've been hating the Russians for a quarter of a century. Suddenly we sign a treaty that says in two months they're to dismantle their bombs, we're to dismantle ours, and we all ride to a peaceful glory. This country will probably live as if peace were just as big a threat as war.
- President Jordan Lyman: Dammit, Ray, we could've had our paradise. Yes, by God, we could've had full employment, whopping Gross National Product, nice cushy feeling that we've got a bomb for every one of theirs. But just as sure as God made the state of Georgia, there'd've come one day when they'd've blown us up, or we'd've blown them up. My doctor worries about my blood pressure. You know who that gentleman is down there with the black box. There are five of them... you know that one of them sits outside my bedroom at night? You know what he carries in that box: the codes. The codes by which I, Jordan Lyman, can give the orders sending us into a nuclear war. Instead of my blood pressure, Horace should worry about my sanity.
- President Jordan Lyman: I know what Scott's attitude on the treaty is, what's yours?
- Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: I agree with General Scott, sir. I think we're being played for suckers. I think it's really your business. Yours and the Senate. You did it, and they agreed so, well, I don't see how we in the military can question it. I mean we can question it, but we can't fight it. We shouldn't, anyway.
- President Jordan Lyman: Jiggs, isn't it? Isn't that what they call you?
- Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: Yes sir.
- President Jordan Lyman: So you, ah, you stand by the Constitution, Jiggs?
- Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: I never thought of it just like that, Mr. President, but, well, that's what we got and I guess it's worked pretty well so far. I sure don't want to be the one to say we ought to change it.
- President Jordan Lyman: Neither do I.
- President Jordan Lyman: All right, Colonel. Let's sum it up, shall we? You're suggesting what?
- Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: I'm not sure, Mr. President: just some possibilities, what we call, uh "capabilities" in military intelligence...
- President Jordan Lyman: You got something against the English language, Colonel?
- Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: No, sir.
- President Jordan Lyman: Then speak it plainly, if you will.
- Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: I'm suggesting, Mr. President, there's a military plot to take over the government. This may occur some time this coming Sunday.
- Senator Frederick Prentice: You make me think that fruit salad on your chest is for neutrality, evasiveness, and fence-straddling.
- Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: On the contrary, Senator, they're standard awards for cocktail courage and dinner-table heroism. I thought you'd invented them.
- President Jordan Lyman: The next step should be to your liking, Chris. Esther, call the Pentagon. Tell General Scott I want to see him right away.
- Esther Townsend: [on intercom] Yes, sir.
- Christopher Todd: I think it's time we faced the enemy, Mr. President.
- President Jordan Lyman: He's not the enemy. Scott, the Joint Chiefs, even the very emotional, very illogical lunatic fringe: they're not the enemy. The enemy's an age - a nuclear age. It happens to have killed man's faith in his ability to influence what happens to him. And out of this comes a sickness, and out of sickness a frustration, a feeling of impotence, helplessness, weakness. And from this, this desperation, we look for a champion in red, white, and blue. Every now and then a man on a white horse rides by, and we appoint him to be our personal god for the duration. For some men it was a Senator McCarthy, for others it was a General Walker, and now it's a General Scott.
- 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 someone who could represent the people of the United States.
- President Jordan Lyman: And that would be General James Mattoon Scott, would it? I don't know whether to laugh at that kind of megalomania, or simply cry.
- General James Mattoon Scott: James Mattoon Scott, as you put it, hasn't the slightest interest in his own glorification. But he does have an abiding interest in the survival of this country.
- President Jordan Lyman: Then, by God, run for office. You have such a fervent, passionate, evangelical faith in this country - why in the name of God don't you have any faith in the system of government you're so hell-bent to protect?
- Paul Girard: Admiral, I understand you're not much of a betting man.
- Vice-Adm. Farley C. Barnswell: It depends on the game.
- Paul Girard: Hmm. What is your pleasure... poker... roulette... what?
- Vice-Adm. Farley C. Barnswell: No, those are house games. I don't much care for the odds.
- Paul Girard: What about horse racing?
- Vice-Adm. Farley C. Barnswell: On occasion... it depends on the race... sometimes the weather... and the horse does make the difference.
- Paul Girard: Hmm. That's true, that's true. What about the Preakness? Have you got anything good going there?
- Vice-Adm. Farley C. Barnswell: [Adm. Barnswell senses that Girard knows about the takeover plot] I only bet on sure things.
- Paul Girard: Admiral, you're a very lucky sailor. That's exactly what I've got for you: a sure thing.
- Vice-Adm. Farley C. Barnswell: What is the bet, Mr. Girard?
- Paul Girard: The bet is that there are members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who are involved in treason. We know who they are, we know the essence of the plan. Now from you, Admiral, I want a signed statement indicating at what moment you first heard of this operation and your complicity in this entire matter.
- Vice-Adm. Farley C. Barnswell: Frankly, I wish I had more time.
- Paul Girard: [sarcastically] I wish you did too, Admiral. [tosses him a pen to write the statement] Unfortunately, you don't.
- Christopher Todd: This stuff you unearthed, Colonel Casey, is dynamite. Very revealing of General Scott's extracurricular love life. Any taste of victory we have in our mouths, Colonel, is due in no small measure to your efforts.
- Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: The taste I've got in my mouth, Mr. Secretary, is unmentionable.
- Christopher Todd: I can understand that feeling, Colonel. But when you deal with a jackal like your general...
- Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: Mr. Todd, this is a full Air Force general. Six times wounded, wearing only half the medals he deserves. Whatever else he is, he's no jackal.
- Christopher Todd: My god, the sensitivity of our warriors! Did I step on your old school tie, Colonel?
- Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: You're just like a lot of civilians, Mr. Todd. After every armistice, you want to put us away in mothballs, like the fleet. When it comes to a little dying...
- Christopher Todd: Hold up, Colonel!
- Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: ...you'll be sure to put us in a uniform...
- Christopher Todd: That's enough, Colonel!
- President Jordan Lyman: [to reporters at a televised press conference] There's been abroad in this land in recent months a whisper that we have somehow lost our greatness, that we do not have the strength to win without war the struggles for liberty throughout the world. This is slander, because our country is strong, strong enough to be a peacemaker. It is proud, proud enough to be patient. The whisperers and the detractors, the violent men are wrong. We will remain strong and proud, peaceful and patient, and we will see a day when on this earth all men will walk out of the long tunnels of tyranny into the bright sunshine of freedom.
- [president exits; reporters stand and applaud]
- Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, that was the President of the United States.
- The astounding story of an astounding military plot to take over the United States! The time is 1970 or 1980 or, possibly, tomorrow!
- "I'm suggesting Mr President, there's a military plot to take over the Government of these United States, next Sunday..."
- Burt Lancaster - General James Mattoon Scott
- Kirk Douglas - Colonel Jiggs Casey
- Fredric March - President Jordan Lyman
- Ava Gardner - Eleanor Holbrook
- Edmond O'Brien - Senator Raymond Clark
- Martin Balsam - Paul Girard
- Andrew Duggan - Colonel Mutt Henderson
- Hugh Marlowe - Harold McPherson
- Whit Bissell - Senator Frederick Prentice
- Helen Kleeb - Esther Townsend
- George Macready - Christopher Todd
- Richard Anderson - Colonel Ben Murdock
- Bart Burns - Art Corwin