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Fail Safe (1964) Extreme Cases and Movie Analysis Paper (Movie Review Sample)


A fail safe (1964) movies analysis. Use the sources provided

Philip Mutua
15th February 2017
Fail Safe (1964) Analysis
In the event of danger, it is in the nature of man to act on impulse. In extreme cases, one may find him or herself taking measures that a rational thinker would not. At times, the case may be because of obligation or even be a result of instinct directive. Such are the messages that war films pass. The film industry goes a long way in informing the audience certain aspects of war about which one can never think. Watching a war film is similar to reading a book about the same war, but has a more lasting impression than reading. In as much as the movie industry may be all about creativity, some film producers base their films on actual events of the war that happened over time. Such films educate and bring to life the memories of the personalities that presented in these films.
Fail safe (1964) is one such film based on reality. The reality of the film is that it has the cold war as its theme and tries to explain what the effects of the war may have been. Sidney Lumet directed the film. Henry Fonda stars in the movie as the president of the United States and faces the threat of a nuclear war with the Soviets. Other characters in the film include Walter Matthau as professor Groeteschele, and Dan O'Herlihy has the role of General Black. The film was an adaptation from a book “fail safe” written by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler. The film did an excellent job in bringing to life the written publication. Lumet tells the story of the cold war from the soldier’s perspective as well as that of the government. There were many decisions to make in the course of the war, some of which were very tough on the decision makers.
The book follows the story of the Strategic Air Command officers who had to keep the United States protected from imminent attacks by the Soviet Union. The film is all about trying to stop an attack on the Soviet Union. The attack was a response from detection of unidentified flying object on the American airspace. Thinking that the UFO could be a sign of trouble from the Soviet Union, bombers are instructed to go ahead and drop bombs in Moscow. The United States anticipated war so much that it had bombers ready in the event of the first sign of war from Moscow. The United States has to make desperate decisions as a way of “protecting” its people from probable atomic attacks on the country by the Soviet Union. However, its attempt to call off the air strike on Moscow is futile.
In as much as the film has some aspect of accuracy in it, there was no bombing during the cold war as the film supposes. However, there is historical accuracy in the command of the American Airspace. The Strategic Air Command was instrumental in the deterrence of nuclear attacks on the United States during the cold war (Karsten, 809). Its presence in the film as the part of the force that protects the United States from Air strikes, therefore, brings some along some historical accuracy in the film. In the light of such, the film qualifies as a source of information on the cold war. Better still, it creates an image of what the situation may have been if the war culminated in nuclear air strikes. Desperate measures, such as bombing one’s city in a bid to prevent war could, perhaps not have materialized. The Soviet Union may still have gone ahead to attack the United States.
The film, however, shows clearly the anxiety caused by atomic energy. While some people argue that development of the atomic bomb helped end the Second World War fast, it did cause a lot of anxiety among countries (The Dawn of the Atomic Age). Had there not been so much anxiety, the United States would not have kept bombers ready to attack. There would have been peace, and people would have run their businesses as normal. This was a race between the United States and the Soviet Union on who was more superior to the other, but there was still fear among them on who may attack first. Following success in the atomic bomb venture by the Soviet Union, President Truman commissioned research into hydrogen bombs (Soviet Atomic Bomb)! The film shows the aftermath of the tension between the two countries.
Columbia Pictures released and showed the film on the second New York Film Festival (Crowther). Crowther, in the New York Times review refers the film as a story of what may happen “if a flight of American bombers should accidentally be directed to fly over the Soviet Union and drop nuclear bombs”. The audience, therefore, received the film as an indicator of what could have happened in the course of the cold war in the event that any single mistake was made. It manages to do so as it shows the situation on all fronts. The audience can see that the events are the aftermath of errors by both the Soviet Union and the Strategic Air Command unit being too quick to act. Upon discovery that it was a false alarm, poor communication because of the soviet’s disrupting American communication system renders attempts to reach the bombers futile.
The central message Fail safe (1964) revolves around difficult choices that governments and soldi...
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