Director Stanley Kubrick, working on a movie in England, saw the review
when it was reprinted in a London Sunday newspaper, The Observer. He
contacted George, asking him to write a screenplay based on his book.
Kubrick and George got in touch with Schelling. Along with fellow
nuclear theorists Morton Halperin and William Kaufman, they sat around
for an afternoon and evening dealing with a quandary – Red Alert had
been written in 1958, before intercontinental ballistic missiles became
the primary delivery system for nuclear weapons, which changed the
plausibility of its scenario based on bombers.
"We had a hell of a time getting that damn war started," Schelling
says. "We finally decided that it couldn’t happen unless there was
somebody crazy in the Air Force. That’s when Kubrick and Peter George
decided they would have to do it as what they called a nightmare
Schelling had been hoping for a serious movie. "The book was a
very serious study; there was nothing funny in it at all," he says.
But, like generations of moviegoers, he was not disappointed in the
result that came out in 1964.
"I was a little sorry they couldn’t do it without making it a black comedy, but I think it got the point across," he says.
Here is the full article (brief registration required), thanks to Paul Jeanne for the pointer. And if you have nothing better to do, try to imagine how the works of other Nobel Laureates might have given rise to movies.