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Sidney Lumet, 1964
USA | Format: 35mm | 111 minutes
Q&A with screenwriter Walter Bernstein after the 6:15pm screening on July 20!
Miscommunication brings the USA and the USSR to the brink of nuclear war in Lumet’s adaptation of the Cold War novel by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler. An electronic malfunction leads a bomber squadron to mistakenly think they’ve been ordered by the President (Henry Fonda) to drop the big one on Moscow; an alliance of necessity emerges between the American and Soviet militaries as they scramble to thwart the imminent catastrophe. Walter Matthau co-stars as a scientist who might best be described as the anti-Strangelove. Released eight months after Kubrick’s 1964 satire, Fail-Safe is something else altogether: claustrophobic, tense, and utterly serious in confronting the possibility of global oblivion.