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Biography for
Ilsa Wolfe (Character)
from Fail-Safe (1964)

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Ilsa Wolfe is a sophisticated, beautiful woman who attends a dinner party featuring Prof Groeteschele [Walter Matthau], an expert on nuclear war. We don't learn much of her back story. The party extends all night as the guests are fascinated by the professor's views on nuclear war. Finally at dawn the party breaks up. Groteschele finds Ilse in his car, expecting a ride home. Instead of giving directions to her home, she directs the professor to a secluded woods. The conversation starts with Ilsa declaring 'you can joke about [the survivors] because you know there won't be any. That's the beauty of it.' The talk continues about this idea of nuclear war as beautiful, and becomes poetic/romantic. By the time they are in the woods the talk's become overtly sexual. It's a stunning scene - Ilsa sexually aroused by the idea of pushing the button and wanting to have sex with the man who is part of it. The scene ends with Matthau, who'se been egging her on, slapping her and disdainfully saying, "I'm not your kind". This ends her part. It's a suprising structure - the minor actor who has all this great character development, and then is used as a foil to show Groteschele 'isn't her kind'.


Page last updated by annieus, 6 years ago
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