Fail Safe Movie Essay

With almost identical plot and characters, Fail Safe pretends to be a high-minded discussion of the same topic. Director Sidney Lumet has merely placed a stock collection of political and military figures in an unrealistic situation and had them mouth inanities about cold war and atomic destruction.

First, there's a conscientious and loyal air force general who has nightmares about a matador killing a bull.

His character believes that losses are acceptable in a nuclear war if it is the American culture that survives instead of that of , which is “our mortal enemy.” Black feels that there are no winners in a nuclear confrontation.

He cautions against putting our defenses in the hands of lightning-fast machines that can make deadly errors which humans are powerless to correct in time.

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.

The President must demonstrate dramatically America's lack of animosity toward Russia and prevent total disaster. This plot might have made an enjoyable, if not plausible, melodrama.

But the film's ludicrous script turns the plot into a parody of itself. Meanwhile, everyone draws a long face because man has let machines take over his destiny and isn't it awful that we might go to war when no one wants to, except the professor.

In Lumet’s movie, it is the over-dependence on advanced machinery that is the cause of nuclear devastation. General Black goes to a Pentagon briefing where a consultant, Dr.

The film opens with General Black (Dan O'Herlihy) in the middle of a recurring nightmare. Groeteschele (Walter Matthau) is giving a briefing.


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