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Fail:Safe (Special Edition) (Bilingual) [Import]

4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Henry Fonda, Walter Matthau, Fritz Weaver, Dan O'Herlihy, Frank Overton
  • Directors: Sidney Lumet
  • Writers: Eugene Burdick, Harvey Wheeler, Peter George, Walter Bernstein
  • Producers: Charles H. Maguire, Max E. Youngstein
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, DVD-Video, Letterboxed, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Georgian, Thai
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : Parental Guidance (PG)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: Oct. 31 2000
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00004XPPE
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Product Description

Product Description

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.

It's Dr. Strangelove, but without the laughs. Fail Safe, made within a year of Strangelove and at the height of cold war atomic anxiety, posits a similar nightmare scenario. A U.S. bomber is accidentally ordered toward Moscow, ready to drop its load. The U.S. president (Henry Fonda) and various military and congressional leaders must then scramble to deal with the disaster. The built-in suspense is well maintained by director Sidney Lumet, working from a script by former blacklisted writer Walter Bernstein. The solemn, serious approach doesn't begin to touch the brilliance of Strangelove's inspired take on the nuclear nightmare, but Fail Safe is absorbing and well acted (a memorable role for Walter Matthau, for instance). The movie enters unexpected territory in its final minutes; conditioned for feel-good endings, viewers are still genuinely shocked by the plot turns in the final reels. The climax comes as a sobering slap in the face, intriguingly staged by Lumet. Now that the cold war has passed on into history, Fail Safe stands as--thank goodness--an interesting period piece. --Robert Horton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Bernie TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 4 2006
Format: DVD
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.
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Format: DVD
I've seen this movie at least 10 times, always on late night TV, and it still gets me every time. Right up until the last minute your'e hoping that all will turn out well, but of course it doesn't. It's curtains for 1964 New York, with it's World's Fair, Ed Sullivan, the Peppermint Lounge and My Fair Lady. Previously Moscow of course meets a simular horrible fate. But what a fantastic movie, full of drama and suspense. I'll never forget the reaction when the first plane is shot down, and the man who reminds them "That wer'e not at a football match" There are so many powerful scenes throughout the movie, too many to list here. It deserved a lot better recognition that what it got at the time. See it!
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By A Customer on March 29 2004
Format: DVD
Propaganda writes: "This film is interesting only in the fact that it is an odd relic of anti-Cold War propaganda; a pacifist film touting a suicidal philosophy of disarmament. Its particularly ironic that the smugness of the film's creators is now quite laughable in the hindsight of history. Despite all the dire predictions this film makes, thirty years later the U.S. would ultimately win the Cold War against the Soviet Union... and without a nuclear shot being fired in anger."
Respectfully, I disagree. The film does not tout disarmament. The theme of the film, which runs throughout, is that the machines 'are too fast', the military systems have the great potential to fail, and that our mutual distrust of what we don't understand (our enemies) which lead us to create situations of conflict with each other, which end in needless, tragic, destruction. This is a theme that runs throughout the events of history, that is what makes Fail-Safe timeless.
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Format: DVD
Here we have a good cast in 1964's Fail-safe or failure safe..can we say that of any technological device? Perhaps the odds are against it..this very large bestseller and much discussed work has much in it, and was adapted to the minds of 1964. Columbia also released Dr Strangelove in this MADD era and Fail SAfe as the documentary tells was not a success? It is a barebones film, there is no romance, there is a slight seen in the begginning with Mathau as the scientist, lost soul(like island of lost soul) but here he harks back to ww2 Germany and the scientific supposed nazi state(which by the way did not try to develop atomic bombs)and actually a very ideologized science bent on conquering the world, and he seems emotionless, scientistic, the man of science devoid of culture and that is the key word. At the start we have awar between the cultures of the workers internationale of communistic russia pitted against american capitalism. These were the two competing ideologies who had the funds to fund huge military machines as a way to secure their state and in the chiefs of staff view ward off fanatic communism? This is the view presented to 1964 audiences? The movie largely consists of a series of jets which are continually on bombing missions to rEd square til warded off by computerized technology..unless due to some emergency the plane is not called off and Russia disintegrated. Here there is a technological error..and Moscow is bombed..and the President must allow the U.S. to be bombed,,and before that scene the film shows kids, nature, and all the pleasent scenes which will be no more? All do to the flickering of buttons, and this is scene in the book more where the technology is explained better and therefore much suspense is built up..Read more ›
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Format: DVD
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.
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