Twilight’s Last Gleaming (1977): Robert Aldrich’s Thriller, Starring Favorite Actor Burt Lancaster and Richard Widmark

Robert Aldrich directed Twilight’s Last Gleaming, a thriller that’s a West German-American co-production, starring his favorite actor, Burt Lancaster, and Richard Widmark.

Loosely based on a 1971 novel, Viper Three by Walter Wager, it tells the story of Lawrence Dell, a renegade USAF general who escapes from military prison.

He takes over an ICBM silo in Montana, threatening to launch missiles and start World War III–unless the President reveals top secret document about the Vietnam War.

A split screen technique is used to give the audience insight into the simultaneously occurring sub-stories.

The film’s title is taken from “The Star-Spangled Banner, the national anthem: ” O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light/What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?