Film "Too Big To Fail" is a financial horror flick

Thu May 12, 2011 3:47pm EDT
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By Dan Wilchins

NEW YORK (Reuters) - To the producers of the film "Too Big To Fail," the story plays like a horror movie.

It covers the period between the failure of investment bank Bear Stearns and the passage of the U.S. bank bailout program, and it depicts a relentless series of mishaps where every problem is succeeded by the emergence of a new problem.

"You keep thinking you've got a handle on it, and then the knock comes on the door, and there's a boogeyman again," said Len Amato, president of HBO Films.

That scary-movie quality reflects the reality of the events of 2008: the financial system was close to breaking down and every day brought a new calamity.

In the book "Too Big to Fail" by the New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin, the horrors are in abundance.

Then-Lehman Brothers Chief Executive Dick Fuld does not try very hard to negotiate with billionaire Warren Buffett for a capital injection just months before the bank goes under.

American International Group Chief Executive Robert Willumstad struggles to answer bankers' basic questions about the company's capital and credit after Lehman failed.

Morgan Stanley Chief Financial Officer Colm Kelleher admits to his board that the bank could run out of cash by the middle of the week.   Continued...