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Eclipsed by its contemporary, Dr Strangelove, Fail Safe eschews the former's black humour and opts for a deadly serious mix of cold-war melodrama and rampant psychosis. Creeping unease builds up to terminal paranoia as the machines run away from their masters, the 'fail safe' fails, and the unstoppable 'Vindicator' bomber homes in on Moscow - all by accident. Lumet sensibly avoids pyrotechnics in favour of tightening the psychological screws, as

Larry Hagman

(the president's translator - nice looking kid) does nervy trade-offs on the hot-line, and everyone, from President Fonda down, starts drowning in a sea of cold sweat. CPea.

Release details

Duration: 112 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Sidney Lumet
Screenwriter: Walter Bernstein
Cast: Henry Fonda
Dan O'Herlihy
Walter Matthau
Frank Overton
Edward Binns
Fritz Weaver
Larry Hagman
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