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This Sidney Lumet cold war movie suffered from incredibly bad timing.It was released in the same year as its comic counterpoint, Stanley Kubrick’s satiric masterpiece, Dr. The latter received all the praise and Oscar nominations, and Lumet’s film was virtually ignored. Despite the fact that the two motion pictures share the same basic plot, Fail-Safe focuses on a different target.
The President pleads with Russia's Premier for "Peace Through Understanding" and the Professor tells the chief of staff to strike while the U. Director Lumet, cursed with a terrible script, compounds his misfortune with unimaginative photography.
With one shot of a B-52 flying low over its target, Stanley Kubrick represents the conflict of a desire for victory and a fear of destruction more effectively than does all of Fail Safe.
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Kubrick, no fan of overreaching technology himself, centers his picture on the connection between war and the male preoccupation with sexual conquest.
His General Ripper, a person, starts World War III. When he wakes up he tells his wife that if he retires from the Air Force, he believes the nightmares will end.
A competent cast tries its best under the pressing circumstances.
Henry Fonda is a reassuring President, Edmund O'Brien is a likeable air force general, and Walter Matthau portrays a thoroughly despicable professor.
But Lument's camera work, instead of adding to Fail Safe's statement, merely wears out the viewer with its monotonous tension.
He uses all the standard melodramatic shots, close-ups of sweating brows and tight lips, prolonged views of radar screens and bug-eyed pilots in oxygen masks.