Fail Safe (1964), directed by Sidney Lumet


Stark, faithful adaptation of the book by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler about an American nuclear bomber group that, due to a mechanical malfunction, flies into Russia on a mission to bomb Moscow, while the officers of the Strategic Air Command, the President, and of course the Russians attempt to stop it.  Walter Matthau plays a civilian Pentagon advisor who sees the accident as a golden opportunity for a first strike.  Henry Fonda lends weight and credibility as the President.  Just as unflinching as the novel, with some nice directorial touches by Lumet to heighten the impact of this horrifying tale.


4 responses

  1. Love this film… especially the rather crazy camera work at the end.


    1. I agree. Those were among the “directorial touches” I mentioned. I also loved the way the title just flashes on the screen at the beginning.


      1. Want to watch an awful trailer that doesn’t embody ANY of the film’s tension/message/import? Watch the Fail-Safe trailer… it’s rather hilarious knowing what the film is about.


      2. I hope it’s comfortable sitting on the brink of eternity. : -)


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