Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fail Safe



















17 comments:

Arbogast said...

They thought they'd never get off hold!

Greg said...

Goddamn IRS recording.

bill r. said...

I've never seen this. Great, now I know two guys talk on the phone in it. Thanks a lot, Spoiler Warning.

Greg said...

Bill, there is telephone talking it's true. For God's sake though, don't go to the screening room. I've got the end of the movie posted there.

You should see it. It gets such a bad rap thanks to coming out alongside DR STRANGELOVE but it's a tight thriller well worth watching. The dialogue's a little heavy handed and message laden but so is the Twilight Zone and that's enjoyable enough.

Arbogast said...

I actually loved Fail Safe even was a kid, even after having seen Dr. Strangelove first. The scene is great and Hagman (yeah, J. R.) is one of the reasons it's so great. I never got the argument that you had to like one or the other of these movies. They complement each other very well.

Greg said...

Larry Hagman is great in this movie. His nervousness and awkwardness with the President in this scene is played pitch perfect. Also, that look on his face when (SPOILER FOR BILL) the end comes with the detonation of the H-bomb (SPOILER OVER) well, it's just incredible. Like he's been gutted.

Walter Matthau is another favorite in the movie. He was terrific at playing arrogant and smug.

Arbogast said...

[SPOILER LEVEL RED!]

When I saw Fail Safe for the first time, I thought the bomb was going to stick on the needle of the Empire State Building. Wouldn't that have been a funny ending? Kind of like The Italian Job.

PRESIDENT HENRY FONDA: 'old on, 'old on... I 'ave an idea...

Greg said...

You know another thing? Well, in that scene where (SPOILER) So now that Bill is not reading, are you like me in assuming that Bill smells really bad? I figure he smells kind of like month old onions, what do you think? (SPOILER OVER)

Yeah, so anyway, that was a great scene.

bill r. said...

Actually, you know, I did see that live TV remake by Clooney some years back. That was sort of a strange move, I thought.

Anyway, so I know the story. I might read the book and see the movie for some "Overshadowed" action some day. Also, I smell fine.

Greg said...

Hey, now you know how the smell scene ends! Well, I warned you.

I saw the live version too and it was okay but not nearly what the film is. I remember Harvey Keitel in particular stumbling over lines and taking very painful, cringing pauses where it was clear he had missed a line.

bill r. said...

I remember Harvey Keitel in particular stumbling over lines and taking very painful, cringing pauses where it was clear he had missed a line...

Really? I don't remember that. That's why I watched the damn thing. I probably started to tune out, because it ultimately struck me as a novelty production.

Greg said...

It wasn't super obvious but there were clearly missed beats and a few overly long silences after someone would say a line and before Keitel would say his. And you're right, it was a novelty production and a very strange choice at that. It didn't have the "immediacy" as they always claim live drama to have. It felt staid and stale.

Arbogast said...

I think in order for live television to work, the actors need to do live television on a regular basis. It was a discipline, not a novelty.

Greg said...

During the American Masters on Rod Serling, John Frankenheimer and Jack Klugman imply that over and over about live tv, that one of the reasons it was such a shame to have it end was that it was its own art-form, unique from filmed television or movies.

Arbogast said...

How wonderful it must have been to have been a young actor at that time, and to begin your career with theatre and live TV. Of course, the downside is that you'd be really old now.

Greg said...

Or dead.

Klugman was one of the greats of that period by the way. Tons of live tv work and the footage of him in the Serling penned stuff was just terrific. Like so many great theatrical actors of the fifties and sixties who made their livelihood on tv he was greatly underappreciated for his talents.

STODD-1 said...

I think Kubrick's DR STRANGELOVE overshadowed a lot of the Cold- War -turns- hot films like this and On the Beach.

The film I always enjoyed was 'The Bedford Incident.'