Today: June 18, 2024

WIN Fail Safe on Criterion Edition Blu-ray

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 (The Front) and director SIDNEY LUMET (Network) 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 (12 Angry Men) as a coolheaded U.S. president and WALTER MATTHAU (Charade) 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.

UNITED STATES | 1964 | 112 MINUTES | BLACK & WHITE | 1.85:1 | ENGLISH
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
* New 4K digital restoration, with 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
* PLUS: An essay by critic Bilge Ebiri

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