Author Topic: Fail Safe (1962)  (Read 2648 times)

Dr. Hasslein

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Fail Safe (1962)
« on: November 04, 2010, 10:46:15 PM »
Fail Safe (1964)

I wrote this review a few years back. It's a little sloppy but good enough to post I think. 



In Sydney Lumet's 1964 Cold War drama Fail Safe, a malfunction in the U.S. Strategic Air Command control system sends false orders to a squadron of nuclear armed B-58 Bombers to fly beyond their fail safe point to destroy the Russian capital of Moscow. The America President and his military commanders try desperately to call the squadron back, but their sophisticated fail-safe system prevents them from doing so. So while further efforts to prevent the attack continue the President must convince the Russian Premier it's all a big mistake.

This is edge of your set viewing at its finest. There are moments in this film which are great examples of what you don't see is more frightening. Terrific performances all round, particularly from Henry Fonda as the American President and Walter Matthau as political scientist Prof. Groeteschele. The cinematography in excellent, it really captures the tone. The film raises the issues of mankind’s dependency on machines and computers. An issue that is even more valid today. The ending left me shocked and with disbelief. As I'm sure it will for almost anyone who is a fan of the genre. Do watch this film, it's superb.

5/5


Critter

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Re: Fail Safe (1962)
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2010, 10:52:25 PM »
Glad to see you are jumping straight into reviews Kevin  :thumbup:. I've never seen this one, looks interesting.

Offline Antares

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Re: Fail Safe (1962)
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2010, 11:42:26 PM »
Glad to see you are jumping straight into reviews Kevin  :thumbup:. I've never seen this one, looks interesting.

It's been overshadowed by Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove, which was based on the same book and released in the same year.

Dr. Hasslein

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Re: Fail Safe (1962)
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2010, 11:49:25 PM »
Glad to see you are jumping straight into reviews Kevin  :thumbup:. I've never seen this one, looks interesting.

It's been overshadowed by Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove, which was based on the same book and released in the same year.

I haven't seen Dr. Strangelove yet, I really should make that a priority.

hal9g

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Re: Fail Safe (1962)
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2010, 03:52:49 AM »
Great movie (which has no musical score whatsoever, btw).

But, would an American President really decide to do what Henry Fonda does in this situation.  While honorable to the nth degree, I just don't think it is very realistic.

I don't think I could do it!   :-[

Critter

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Re: Fail Safe (1962)
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2010, 03:54:40 AM »
No musical score whatsoever? Sounds like Pete's ideal film.

Dr. Hasslein

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Re: Fail Safe (1962)
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2010, 03:59:58 AM »
Great movie (which has no musical score whatsoever, btw).

But, would an American President really decide to do what Henry Fonda does in this situation.  While honorable to the nth degree, I just don't think it is very realistic.

I don't think I could do it!   :-[

I doubt I could either. How one could live with him or herself after doing that is beyond me.

Offline Antares

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Re: Fail Safe (1962)
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2010, 03:52:59 PM »
But, would an American President really decide to do what Henry Fonda does in this situation.  While honorable to the nth degree, I just don't think it is very realistic.

But what would be his alternative? If he doesn't do it, the Russians would launch a full scale attack. Leaving him no choice but to retaliate.

As much as I liked Strangelove, I've always liked this film better.

Najemikon

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Re: Fail Safe (1962)
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2010, 05:01:27 PM »
Did anyone see the remake? Well, I say remake... It was a TV play broadcast live, so it has an intensity in the performances at odds with a strangely flat atmosphere because they couldn't be very ambitious with the production overall. It has Richard Dreyfuss as the President and George Clooney as the pilot, amongst others. They did a good job and if you know the story, it makes for an interesting curiosity at least.

Dr. Hasslein

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Re: Fail Safe (1962)
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2010, 11:26:30 PM »
But, would an American President really decide to do what Henry Fonda does in this situation.  While honorable to the nth degree, I just don't think it is very realistic.

But what would be his alternative? If he doesn't do it, the Russians would launch a full scale attack. Leaving him no choice but to retaliate.

As much as I liked Strangelove, I've always liked this film better.

Maybe just retaliate and hope for the best. But when it comes to nuclear war either way you're screwed, so the best will still no doubt be pretty horrible.

hal9g

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Re: Fail Safe (1962)
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2010, 06:03:01 AM »
But, would an American President really decide to do what Henry Fonda does in this situation.  While honorable to the nth degree, I just don't think it is very realistic.

But what would be his alternative? If he doesn't do it, the Russians would launch a full scale attack. Leaving him no choice but to retaliate.

As much as I liked Strangelove, I've always liked this film better.

It was a no-win situation.  But I think I'd have done whatever I could to convince the Russian president that it was a mistake and pray like hell that he would prevent the inevitable annihilation.  Probably wouldn't have worked, but.....