John Frankenheimer – Seconds (1966)


Have you ever suffered from a bout of insomnia, and ended up channel hopping into the small hours of the morning as a result? And having done so, have you ever came across a film that you’ve never heard of, yet it exerts a near hypnotic pull over you, digging itself under your skin ensuring that you’ll be thinking about it for days afterwards? If so, then you’ll recognise the kind of film that Seconds is.

The opening credits are stark black and white close-ups of various facial parts, pulled into weird and twisted shapes by the camera focus, while Jerry Goldsmith’s harsh and brooding score booms out over the top. Even from the credits, it is clear that Seconds is going to be a hallucinatory and powerful experience. Continue reading

John Frankenheimer – Black Sunday (1977)


Plot Synopsis [AMG]
Bruce Dern is ideally cast as Lander, a crazed Vietnam veteran, in Black Sunday. Lander joins terrorists Dahlia (Marthe Keller) and Fasil (Bekim Fehmu) in a plot to create a bloodbath at the annual Super Bowl. Piloting the ubiquitous Goodyear blimp, Lander is to ram the aircraft into the capacity Orange Bowl crowd, then fire thousands of poisoned darts into the fleeing spectators. Israeli military officer Kabakov (Robert Shaw) struggles to thwart Lander’s plan before it comes to fruition. As unbelievable as it may sound on paper, Black Sunday is wholly credible on film. Continue reading

John Frankenheimer – Seven Days in May [+Extra] (1964)


From Wikipedia:
Seven Days in May is an American political thriller motion picture directed by John Frankenheimer, starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March, and Ava Gardner, and released in February 1964 with a screenplay by Rod Serling based on the novel of the same name by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II, which was published in 1962.

The story is said to have been influenced by the right-wing anti-Communist political activities of General Edwin A. Walker after he resigned from the military. An additional inspiration was provided by the 1961 interview by Knebel, who was also a political journalist and columnist, conducted with the newly-appointed Air Force Chief of Staff, Curtis LeMay, an advocate of preventive first-strike nuclear option.

President John F. Kennedy had read the novel and believed the scenario as described could actually occur in the United States. According to Frankenheimer in his director’s commentary, production of the film received encouragement and assistance from Kennedy through White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger, who conveyed to Frankenheimer Kennedy’s wish that the film be produced and that, although the Pentagon did not want the film made, the President would conveniently arrange to visit Hyannis Port for a weekend when the film needed to shoot outside the White House. Continue reading