FAIL-SAFE was originally printed as a serial in The Saturday Evening Post, then as a book in 1962, in 1964 it became a movie starring Henry Fonda, Walter Matthau and a very young Larry Hagman, and uniquely, it became a live broadcast TV show in 2000.
First the Book
|Original 1964 Book Cover|
What a great way to start a novel about the nuclear threat. To predict that what they write in the book as fiction, may well become fact in the future. Especially in 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis!
The predicted accident did not happen because we, the American Cold Warriors, faced down the Soviets and by our dedication, perseverance, and strength, we convinced them to not continue the Cold War.
The book is slightly different than the movie in that on the written pages within numerous chapters, time allows for a much deeper character development and exploration. One major difference I noticed is that the Matador reference in the movie, is not in the book at all. I liked the conflict depicted within General Black in the movie and looked for it in the book. The book is a quick read and I finished it in a week's worth of reading in bed before sleep. It is written well enough to allow your mind to visualize the scenes, though I did keep seeing the movie version of the depicted scene from memory when the written words replicated the movie scene. I did not watch the movie again before reading the book. The book's end is less climatic than the movie but it must have been very hard for the writers to come up with an ending that describes the nuclear destruction of New York. The movie does the ending really well as you will see when you watch it.
I give the book 5 Stars. The book is available for purchase at Amazon with prices ranging from $2.99 to $60.00 for a first edition. I found my first edition in a church thrift store for $2.00.
|Original 1964 Movie Poster|
|2000 Made For TV Live Acting Version|