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
(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.