my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   Fail-Safe
Director:   Sidney Lumet
Year:   1964
Genre:   Political Suspense
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   02.08.06

Other Movies Seen By This Director (6)
- 12 Angry Men
- Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
- Dog Day Afternoon
- Find Me Guilty
- The Morning After
- Serpico

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
02.08.06Netflix Proof that Volcano and Dante's Peak were far from the first pair of similarly-themed projects, a friend's recommendation described this movie as Dr. Strangelove but serious. I guess ultimately Strangelove took on more cultural resonance as those born and growing up after the height of Communist paranoia coupled with the fast influx of the Computer Age died down and appeared ridiculous in hindsight, but Lumet lays this movie down in a way that completely grips you even if in the back of your mind you can't help but think of Strangelove's comedy. I have a couple notes about this.

When I first heard that Harrison Ford would be playing the president in Air Force One, I was like "right on" because at the time (this was before he slipped into the coma he's been in for like the last 10 years), there was no better actor I could imagine being the president. Not only that, I kinda didn't mind the idea of ol' Indy being the Commander in Chief in real life... as long as reality worked like the movies did. So I bet it was the exact same sentiment for audiences in the 60s to see Henry Fonda playing the big guy. Right On!

I've been thinking about what overall tone or theme I like most in Lumet's work and I guess it's his directness... a get-to-it, no-BS attitude in filmmaking that perhaps came from his TV roots or whatever... but just like, no slow motion, no useless musical montages, none of that crap. It's all "Here are the players, here is the story, let's go," and this movie certainly fits into that mold. The beginning dream sequence is maybe one of the weirdest and best dream sequences (in a way) that i've ever seen. from there, we just sit back and watch stuff happen. yet without any sort of heavy-handedness (in the direction, the script has plenty of 60s-era message-y explicity) you still become taken in and gripped by the film. When you hear the high-pitched shriek on the phone line, it's brutal... and you look at that scene and realize that it's just two actors in a non-descript room! yet it's riveting! even now!

pretty exhausting though... but in a good way. Now if only Volcano and Dante's Peak were as good as this and Strangelove...
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