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Do you find "FAILSAFE" frightening, either now or when you first saw it?


FredCDobbs
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I did then and I still find it frightening. Between the Middle East and the new Hitler in Russia, well, be afraid, be very afraid...

 

Half the movie -- Fritz Weaver and his family/breakdowns, the overwhelming horror-movie reaction CUs Lumet gives Sorrell Booke and others -- is so ridiculous that it rivals Strangelove in hilarity.

 

My own fave moment is when we see a newspaper photo of the First Lady -- and she's a dead ringer for Jackie!

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Now what the heck are you guys talkin' about here, HUH?!!!

 

WHAT?! Have you guys NO appreciation for the proposed "foreign policy" which Mr. Newman is (facetiously) advocating HERE???...

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGO42gvCSPI

 

(...I mean "Freedom" DOES always come at a price, ya know!!!) ;)

 

LOL

 

 

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This film seems a little too theatrical for me to be frightened by it-- a lot of small studio sets that make it seem very staged. 

 

But something like THE BEDFORD INCIDENT which is filmed outdoors and in more authentic settings seems a bit more realistic to me-- and the ending seems better to me the way it's played.

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Yes, I do think that Fail Safe is quite believable and frightening.

 

I would concur with TP, though, that The Bedford Incident is even more dramatically involving, and its ending stays with you. The film also benefits from a very strong performance by Richard Widmark, with a large part of the credibilty of this film hinging on the obsessiveness of his character.

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I have seen FAIL SAFE many times and find it chilling, frightening, riveting, and believable each time.  Gives me goosebumps.  The sound of that melting Moscow phone. This vivid movie will mean far more to those who grew up during the very frightening days of the Cold War.  Those who actually did Nuclear War drills in school.  Those who remember the fear during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Those who have read much and studied the frightening and murderous ways of the Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact and Red China.  Those who had Nuclear Missile silos only a few miles from where they grew up and who saw extreme low flying B-52 training missions just over the remote high plains hills in western Nebraska.  The great BEDFORD INCIDENT is just as believable and frightening. 

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I have seen FAIL SAFE many times and find it chilling, frightening, riveting, and believable each time.  Gives me goosebumps.  The sound of that melting Moscow phone. This vivid movie will mean far more to those who grew up during the very frightening days of the Cold War.  Those who actually did Nuclear War drills in school.  Those who remember the fear during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Those who have read much and studied the frightening and murderous ways of the Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact and Red China.  Those who had Nuclear Missile silos only a few miles from where they grew up and who saw extreme low flying B-52 training missions just over the remote high plains hills in western Nebraska.  The great BEDFORD INCIDENT is just as believable and frightening. 

What is frightening is president Henry Fonda telling an american general in an american nuclear bomber to nuke nyc. that lunacy renders the whole film nuts. what fonda shoulda said to the friggin' russian premier was "hey, you stupid jerks jammed our radio frequencies so tough schlitz". :)

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What is frightening is president Henry Fonda telling an american general in an american nuclear bomber to nuke nyc. that lunacy renders the whole film nuts. what fonda shoulda said to the friggin' russian premier was "hey, you stupid jerks jammed our radio frequencies so tough schlitz". :)

.......................and the human world explodes/vaporizes/dies in one huge murderous Armageddon smack down because of too much  childish macho testosterone if the President had had your tiny thoughts.

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What is frightening is president Henry Fonda telling an american general in an american nuclear bomber to nuke nyc. that lunacy renders the whole film nuts. what fonda shoulda said to the friggin' russian premier was "hey, you stupid jerks jammed our radio frequencies so tough schlitz". :)

 

 

.......................and the human world explodes/vaporizes/dies in one huge murderous Armageddon smack down because of too much  childish macho testosterone if the President had had your tiny thoughts.

 

Actually RR, I have to somewhat agree with ND here, as I too have always thought that while the ending of this film leaves the viewer with much food-for-thought, I also think it's ending in order to elicit such thoughts is overtly melodramatic, and that in "real life" such a reaction done by any sitting American President who might find himself in such circumstances is EXTREMELY unlikely to say the least.

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As a young man, this movie scared me to death.  I still remembered the sirens at school which led us to the basement, where Civil Defense rations were stacked up, and I recalled the duck and cover routines we practiced in our classrooms, all pointless, of course.

 

If you didn't live during that time, it is indeed hard to imagine, but we really did think we could be blown away at any time...

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As a young man, this movie scared me to death.  I still remembered the sirens at school which led us to the basement, where Civil Defense rations were stacked up, and I recalled the duck and cover routines we practiced in our classrooms, all pointless, of course.

 

If you didn't live during that time, it is indeed hard to imagine, but we really did think we could be blown away at any time...

 

OH yeah! And as a 12 year old when this movie was first released, I not ONLY vividly remember these times BUT as that 12 year old living in Los Angeles California and where the VAST majority of the American "Defense Plants" were located at the time, I ALSO remember the general consensus in MY region was that "the Ruskies were gonna hit MY city FIRST"!

 

(...and so, for those of you here who grew up in "Bum F***" Montana or "Skunk Hollow" Mississippi OR some OTHER out-of-the-way location, TELL ME about it here. HUH?!!!) LOL

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What is frightening is president Henry Fonda telling an american general in an american nuclear bomber to nuke nyc. that lunacy renders the whole film nuts. what fonda shoulda said to the friggin' russian premier was "hey, you stupid jerks jammed our radio frequencies so tough schlitz".

 

I agree. No president, no matter the circumstances, would ever order the nuking of new york and 20 million U.S. citizens, no matter how stubborn and distrusting the Kruschev of the moment was. The americans had done everything possible to aid the Russians at that point and would draw the line at nuking themselves to prove a point. While the ending was chilling in a sense, it was also, as you say, lunacy. Not believable.

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(...and so, for those of you here who grew up in "Bum F***" Montana or "Skunk Hollow" Mississippi OR some OTHER out-of-the-way location, TELL ME about it here. HUH?!!!) LOL

 

You are aware that "Bum F*** Montana" (my happy home for 15 years) was and is home to multiple ICBM silos, aren't you? HUH?!!! LOL

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You are aware that "Bum F*** Montana" (my happy home for 15 years) was and is home to multiple ICBM silos, aren't you? HUH?!!! LOL

 

LOL

 

No, actually I thought Bum F*** NORTH DAKOTA was where those missile silos were located! ;)

 

(...but then again of course, considering that the two Bum F***s were just across the border from each other and just like Kansas City MO and KS are, I suppose a thermonuclear blast of about 15 megatons or so WOULD probably take out BOTH of those Bum F***s at the same time, wouldn't it?!)

 

LOL

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LOL

 

No, actually I thought Bum F*** NORTH DAKOTA was where those missile silos were located! ;)

 

(...but then again of course, considering that the two Bum F***s were just across the border from each other and just like Kansas City MO and KS are, I suppose a thermonuclear blast of about 15 megatons or so WOULD probably take out BOTH of those Bum F***s at the same time, wouldn't it?!)

 

LOL

 

The silos are in both Bum F***s, as well as in Bum F***, Wyoming.  B)

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I was a little too young  (8 to 10)  to see movies like FAIL-SAFE, DR STRANGELOVE,  THE BEDFORD INCIDENT, etc when those films first came out.  However I do remember those scary times, my older brother was in the Navy on a destroyer  and did two tours in the Mediterranean  Sea in 64, 65.  My parents were very, very anxious about the news going on in that part of the world and the Soviets and the U.S. were always closely shadowing one another. My brother would later tell us of several occasions when Soviet "cargo" ships would sail close by his group of ships.  Think of THE BEDFORD INCIDENT and what could have happened if any ship's captain (on either side) would have gotten a little too careless or aggressive in his behavior. A "small incident" could have very easily escalated into something very serious. So even if you didn't live in that time period (or like me were too young to understand things)  looking back now and understanding history those films are still very frightening. And the lessons we should learn are just as relevant  today.

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I went to school from the years 1950 to 1963 and learned about "duck and cover", civil defense and shelter locations.  I also experienced the Cuban missile fracas in real time as opposed to "reel" time and I can tell you without equivocation that there were some tense times for the population who listened and read about politics and communism.

Fortunately I saw Dr. Strangelove first so by the time I saw Fail Safe I was rather weary of the "doomsday" scenario.  I really had other things to worry about, like high school graduation and getting into college and paying for my first car (all $635 of it).   I also thought that the scenario in Fail Safe where the  President  sacrifices New York City as a form of apology rather ridiculous and an unsatisfactory ending.  

 

I recall that when Kennedy put the nation on alert during the Cuban Missile Crisis my mother, who had lived in London during the Blitz, filled bathtubs with water, packed a suitcase for each of us and piled canned goods in the closet.  Many years later, my brother and I chuckle about this response as it wouldn't have done a bit of good during a nuclear disaster.  However it made my mother feel good and since we were really naïfs about the whole thing it did offer us some comfort.  That was close enough to Fail Safe as I ever got.

 

However having read George Kennan's 10,000 word telegraph and his position on containment the nuclear armament option appeared to be the best one at the time.  Containment through the threat of nuclear weapons and SAC resulted in the slow dissolution of the Soviet Union (mainly by consuming almost all of their budget).

 

I would like to add an editorial aside to this post; if you cannot blog or post or express yourself without using a four letter word, regardless of how it is disguised please refrain.  It offers no beneficial comment to the ongoing dialogue and reduces the quality of the conversation.   

 

Dr. Strangelove, as far as I am concerned, is the best thing Stanley Kubrick made and the ultimate showcase of Peter Sellers' talent. 

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I agree. No president, no matter the circumstances, would ever order the nuking of new york and 20 million U.S. citizens, no matter how stubborn and distrusting the Kruschev of the moment was. The americans had done everything possible to aid the Russians at that point and would draw the line at nuking themselves to prove a point. While the ending was chilling in a sense, it was also, as you say, lunacy. Not believable.

that's what I always thought. you understand the rationale for it but that still doesn't make it anything but nuts. can you just imagine president fonda explaining it all later on that nite to the american people on TV. :) ...that is if he doesn't have a nervous breakdown after being told that his pal general black stuck himself. :lol:

 

33y2s78.jpg

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Yes! I saw "Fail-Safe" in 1964 at the Loew's 83rd St. Theater on Broadway just two blocks north of where I lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  I was 11 years old.

 

The ending of the movie, showing New Yorkers going about their business on a typical day included scenes of children around my age playing in an inner-city playground that particularly frightened me.  The scenes cut faster and faster until the screen turned a blank white, then silence.

 

I remember leaving the theater, calculating that I lived a little more than two miles from the Empire State Building; ground zero for the nuclear explosion.

 

Shortly after, I checked out the book "Fail-Safe" from my Junior High School library.  Sadly, to say, I never returned it.  (evidence below).

 

 

post-8502-0-01141000-1410809570_thumb.jpg

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