Fail Safe

Criterion

Fail Safe

Regular price $46.00

This unnerving procedural thriller painstakingly details an all-too-plausible nightmare scenario in which a mechanical failure jams the United States military’s chain of command and sends the country hurtling toward nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Working from a contemporary best seller, screenwriter Walter Bernstein and director Sidney Lumet wrench harrowing suspense from the doomsday fears of the Cold War era, making the most of a modest budget and limited sets to create an atmosphere of clammy claustrophobia and astronomically high stakes. Starring Henry Fonda as a coolheaded U.S. president and Walter Matthau as a trigger-happy political theorist, Fail Safe is a long-underappreciated alarm bell of a film, sounding an urgent warning about the deadly logic of mutually assured destruction.

FILM INFO

  • Sidney Lumet
  • United States
  • 1964
  • 112 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.85:1
  • English
  • Spine #1011

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • New 4K digital restoration, with an uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 2000 featuring director Sidney Lumet
  • New interview with film critic J. Hoberman on 1960s nuclear paranoia and Cold War films
  • “Fail Safe” Revisited, a short documentary from 2000 including interviews with Lumet, screenwriter Walter Bernstein, and actor Dan O’Herlihy
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Bilge Ebiri

New cover by Adam Maida