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Fail-Safe

(Sidney Lumet, USA, 1964)


 


Received in its time as the straight, dramatic version of Kubrick’s anti-nuclear satire Dr Strangelove (1964), Fail-Safe remains a harrowing, claustrophobic vision of the political conditions capable of triggering world annihilation.

Adopting the almost minimalist style that he would later make his trademark, director Sidney Lumet focuses relentlessly on the slow crack-up of powerful men (played by Henry Fonda, Larry Hagman and Walter Matthau) as they become the victims of their own military machine.

MORE Lumet: Close to Eden, Guilty as Sin, Night Falls on Manhattan, Power, Prince of the City, 12 Angry Men, The Morning After

© Adrian Martin November 1992


Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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