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Fail-Safe
- Henry Fonda

Overview - Following closely on the heels of Stanley Kubrik's DR. STRANGELOVE (all too closely for Kubrick and company, who quickly filed a lawsuit alleging plagiarism), Sidney Lumet's FAIL-SAFE employs a similarly stylized and heightened dramatic structure in its nerve-crushing moral tale.  Read more...

 
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More About Fail-Safe - Henry Fonda
 
 
 
Overview

Following closely on the heels of Stanley Kubrik's DR. STRANGELOVE (all too closely for Kubrick and company, who quickly filed a lawsuit alleging plagiarism), Sidney Lumet's FAIL-SAFE employs a similarly stylized and heightened dramatic structure in its nerve-crushing moral tale. Taking place over the course of a single day, the film follows government and army officials in Nebraska, New York City, and Washington, D.C., as they go about their day supervising, examining, and speculating on the fragile state of affairs engendered by the tense nuclear standoff between the U.S. and Russia. When an off-course commercial airplane triggers the Pentagon's complex "fail-safe" maneuver, leaving an arsenal of nuclear-bomb-carrying jet fighters at the ready, a mechanical error puts the entire world in danger of destruction. Riveting performances from a rich cast are pushed even further by Lumet's stark and ominous direction. Walter Matthau gives an uncharacteristic turn as a cold and contemptuous political scientist unswerving in his convictions that the U.S. must stand strong against the communist menace. Henry Fonda plays the American president who must navigate the complex and urgent political trauma and prevent total destruction, even at an unthinkable price.

Cast List

Sidney Lumet - American director/producer
Harvey Wheeler - Source Writer, FAIL-SAFE (1964)
Eugene Burdick - Novelist\"Fail Safe"
Fritz Weaver - American Actor, HOLOCAUST
Henry Fonda - Oscar winning actor, ON GOLDEN POND
Heny Jaynes Fonda - Oscar winning actor, ON GOLDEN POND
Edward Binns - Amercian Character Actor
Ed Binns - Amercian Character Actor
Larry Hagman - American Actor; I DREAM OF JEANNIE/DALLAS
Larry Hageman - American Actor; I DREAM OF JEANNIE/DALLAS
Gerald Hirschfeld - American Director of Photography
Gerry Hirschfeld - American Director of Photography
Ralph Rosenblum - American Editor
Sorrell Booke - American actor, DUKES OF HAZZARD (1979)
William Hansen
Russell Collins - American Actor
Walter Bernstein - American Screenwriter
Anna Hill Johnstone
Albert Brenner - Production Designer/Art Director
Max E. Youngstein
Russell Hardie
Walter Matthau - American actor, THE ODD COUPLE/I'M NOT RAPPAPORT
Walter Matuschanskayasky - American actor, THE ODD COUPLE/I'M NOT RAPPAPORT
Walter John Matthow - American actor, THE ODD COUPLE/I'M NOT RAPPAPORT
Walter Foghorn Matthau - American actor, THE ODD COUPLE/I'M NOT RAPPAPORT
Frank Overton - American Character Actor
Dan O'Herlihy - Irish Actor
Daniel O'Herlihy - Irish Actor

 
Details
    DVD Format
  • Format: DVD
  • Run Time: 111
  • Color Format: B&W
  • UPC: 043396054240
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Release Date: October 2000

Related Categories:
Movies > Dramas

Related Keywords:
Nuclear Destruction
Politics
Suspense
Thriller
War
Recommended
Disturbing
Theatrical Release
Cold War
Essential Cinema

 
Movie Reviews

More Details

Notes:
Theatrical release: October 7, 1964. Shown at the second New York Film Festival on September 15, 1964. The film's premise closely resembled that of DR. STRANGELOVE, which had been released in January of 1964. Columbia Pictures and others involved in the making of the earlier film found out about the novel FAIL-SAFE and filed a federal court suit against the authors, the book's publishers, and independent production company ECA, which was planning to make the movie version. The makers of STRANGELOVE charged that the writers, Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler, had plagiarized the book on which STRANGELOVE was based. But this entire situation was resolved when Columbia received distribution rights for FAIL-SAFE and ECA dissolved. ECA producer Max Youngstein went on to produce FAIL-SAFE for Columbia. The film was remade as a live television movie in 2000, directed by Stephen Frears and starring George Clooney, Richard Dreyfuss, Harvey Keitel, Brian Dennehy, and Don Cheadle.

Reviews:
"...[Frears] makes a sterling job of reviving the original film's taut, monochrome claustrophobia. A compelling exercise in human drama..." - 10/01/2000 Sight and Sound, p.65

 
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