One of the greatest anti-war thrillers ever, FAIL-SAFE stars Henry Fonda, Walter Mathau, Dan O'Herlihy, Larry Hagman and Fritz Weaver (in his film debut) as a group of military men on the verge of World War III. When a military computer error deploys a squadron of SAC bombers to destroy Moscow, theAmerican President (Fonda) tries to call them back. But their sophisticated fail-safe system prevents him from aborting the attack, so he must convince the Soviets not to retaliate. In desperation, the President offers to sacrifice an American city if his pilots succeed in their deadly mission overMoscow. A four-star techno-thriller that builds tension and suspense with every tick of the nuclearclock.
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Columbia Pictures presents "FAIL-SAFE" (1964) ~ (112 min/B&W) ~ Starring: Henry Fonda, Dan O'Herlihy, Walter Matthau, Frank Overton, Edward Binns, Larry Hagman & Fritz Weaver
Directed by Sidney Lumet
Based on the novel by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler, Fail-Safe tells of what happens when a misguided transmission sends a squadron of bombers hurtling towards Russia, fully prepared to drop their atomic weaponry on Moscow. Air Force commander Frank Overton desperately tries to establish radio contact with the bombers, but once the pilots have passed the "fail safe" point, they've been instructed to disregard any reversal of orders. Racing against time, US President Henry Fonda, through his interpreter (Larry Hagman), informs the Russian premiere of the impending nuclear disaster. Working in concert with SAC, the Russians send up interceptors to shoot down the American bombers, while some of the planes run out of fuel and crash. Unfortunately, one aircraft, piloted by Edward Binns, manages to escape destruction and continues on its fatal mission.
Special footnote: ~ Columbia Pictures produced both this movie and 'Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb'. Director Stanley Kubrick insisted his movie be released first, and it was, in January 1964. When Fail-Safe was released, it garnered excellent reviews, but audiences found it unintentionally funny because of "Strangelove", and stayed away. Henry Fonda later said he would never have made this movie if he had seen "Strangelove" first, because he would have laughed too.
** The film has no music - either score or source music - whatsoever --- Some reference works (eg Colonna Sonora) credit Hal Schaefer as composer of the music score.Lire la suite ›
We are at the height of the cold war. We use assured mutual destruction to keep the commies at bay. The main defense is the use of strategic bombers to deliver nuclear weapons. In the event of a perceived thereat we send the bombers to points called Fail-Safe. From there if the thereat is determined to be real the president gives the go signal in a coded message. At a further point there is no recall. What if the recall signal was jammed? We are now faced with many questions that move from the theoretical. Is it a trick? Will the Ruskies believe it is an accident? Should we take the first strike initiative? Is mutual destruction assured? In today's world it is easy and common place to imagine some artificial intelligence that we have ceded authority to taking over for malevolent or even levolent purposes. We have every type of movie from "2001" (1968) with the HAL 9000 to "The Forbin project" (1970) with Colossus. This film however is a lot spookier because it is played out with what looks like could be a real scenario. It also looks like it could have been a play as the action is mostly dialog that takes place in two rooms and the interior of a strategic bomber. It has a claustrophobic feel with the black and white with odd placed lighting. There are many fine actors in this film. One surprisingly strong performance was by Larry Hagman as Buck the interpreter for the President. The survival of the world hinged on his facial expressions as he had to interpret not just the words but the attitude of the Soviet Premier.