Reviews of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Displaying all 8 reviews
Title: Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Country: USA, UK
Language: English, Russian
Genre: Comedy, War
Director: Stanley Kubrick
George C. Scott
James Earl Jones
According to Morrissey’s recent manifestation “more gay people, more peaceful the world”, war is the malicious ramification of heterosexual men’s urge to kill their peers (I’m paraphrasing here), which tallies germanely with this Kubrick’s black war satire. Under the cold war backdrop, a rogue nuclear attack to Soviet Union commenced by a fervid anti-communist USA general, which would (irrevocably) launch a doomsday machine (a Soviet Union’s ultimate self-destructive nuclear contraption), and would annihilate all the human beings on the earth. It may sounds ridiculous and far-fetched by the mass, Kubrick’s masterful endeavor has overcome the detached accessibility of the warfare lingoes and the exclusivity of the decision-makers’ political impasse to implement a stranger-than-fiction satire which grants a considerable closeness to its audience with ease.
Running within 100 minutes, the film slickly unreels its storyline with great force of dark humor which imbues parodic and even cartoonish idiosyncrasies to the permeating machismo in the air. Peter Sellers’ three-faceted versatility, George C. Scott’s Communism-slamming extravaganza and Sterling Hayden’s trigger-happy paranoia plus Slim Pickens’ cowboy hat, the ensemble cast owns their respective frantic glory within a compacted steak of time, umpteen gags and mockeries can be savored ad infinitum, Sellers’British accent (as Group Captain) when confronting Sterling’s General Rippers is unimpeachably spontaneous, Keenan Wynn’s coca-cola joke is pertinently deadpan serious and Sterling’s conspiracy theory about water fluoridation and the fearful deprivation of life essence during a sexual intercourse (the man just cannot face his natural aging mechanism of the body) are plainly golden ideas, outlandish but vividly rib-tickling, and astringently self-reflective.
Kubrick’s trademark set design which would prevail in his later color features has not fully exploited this black-and-white war farce, and the (not-too-obvious) misogyny and chauvinism overtone does impede the sensitive nerves a bit, nevertheless, it is not my favorite Kubrick’s film, but it is an outstanding comedy which I presume can stay untainted by numerous re-watches, for me the first round is more than gratifying and since my generally inert resistance towards war-related films, a second round may take some time despite of its overall peerlessness.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
Maybe this is slightly reductive but it seems to me that there are two types of films: ones that reproduce the commonly accepted values of their time (and later seem anywhere from quaint to unnerving) and those which call those same values into question. Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove belongs firmly in the latter category. Throughout the Cold War many propaganda films were produced that vilified Communism and glorified the freedoms of America that chest thumping fear mongers like Joseph McCarthy were trying to eliminate or at least reduce. When Dr. Strangelove opened in 1964, just two years after the Cuban Missile Crisis captured the intense fear and existential dread of the world, it could hardly have been said to anticipate the cultural fallout of the Cold War. Yet, that barely seemed to matter as Kubrick’s inexplicably weird and deeply unsettling arms race satire boldly addressed the seriously ludicrous behavior of the world’s foremost nuclear powers: the United States and the Soviet Union. Filled with black humor, slapstick gags and many of Kubrick’s now famous visual tricks including long take, extensive tracking shots and “found footage,” Dr. Strangelove was the last of Kubrick’s shoestring budget films before he entered the richly experimental period of filmmaking he is now most famous for from the game-changing, sci-fi mindfuck of 2001 through the nightmare (and endless parody) inducing The Shining. To go back to Dr. Strangelove today is to see how fully realized Kubrick’s filmmaking talents already were. From the tightness of plot (something he would unfortunately lose in his later, mood-oriented movies) to the cleverness of the script (“Gentleman! You can’t fight in here! This is the war room.”), the film subverts its genre, makes you laugh at high level political shenanigans and concludes with a scathing criticism of the vanity that unites all the powerful men of the world. Wholly unforgettable, entirely essential, falling for Dr. Strangelove is not only possible, it is essential.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
In 1964, Kubrick would break all odds with humanity’s fear of the cold war in the most obscured way. The film entitled, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Stopped Worrying and Love the Bomb would be an essential to dark comical aspects. This film was made during the Cold War, when there was great fear over several nations of nuclear annihilation; weapons of the United States and Soviet Union were in fact capable of destroying civilizations, including the Cuban missile crisis. But to express these situations in the most absurd way possible would take courage. The film was loosely based from the novel, Red Alert by Peter George about the horrors of nuclear warfare.
Kubrick had the idea of making this a serious film of the matter, but the concept of global extermination by mankind was purely insane. So by partnering with satirical writer, Terry Southern, it was possible to make a film about lunacy over the American government. All the characters are acted in this provocative “cartoon” manner, each character is insane at a point without even realizing it. The film stars Peter Sellers playing title three roles as the English captain, Mandrake, the American president, Muffley and the ex-Nazi, Dr. Strangelove; also George C. Scott as the madding general, Sterling Hayden as the crazed base commander, always concerned about bodily fluids; and who could forgot Slim Pickens riding down with a destructive arsenal toward his death. In a way it pokes fun of the Cold War as idiotic, senseless behavior.
When Dr. Strangelove was first released, it gained an appalling uproar but it held an idea of seeing things from a political point of view, this film would also work well in modern society. A Kubrick film was not without controversy, due the fact that Kubrick broke the limitations of how a film should react toward an audience. Kubrick was trying to prove a point of how we live in a cold and stupid world.
This is a case where the parts are greater than the whole. Taken altogether, Dr. Strangelove is a good movie that doesn’t quite seem to come together. The parts, though; the distinct segments that make up the movie; the masterful cinematography that captures the characters and sets in ways that beautifully heighten their essences; the sexual underpinnings of the most powerful character motivations; the all around great performances including Peter Sellers’ triple roles and, most impressive of all, George C. Scott’s Buck Turgidson which is so animated, so expressive, and so thoroughly committed that, while it hovers just shy of Sellers’ delightfully cartoonish Dr. Strangelove, it remains completely believable, these are what make the film a must see for anyone who loves comedy, or good filmmaking, or great acting.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
In my opinion Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove is the greatest satirical film of all time. At a time when the whole country was terrified of the Soviet Union, Kubrick’s film decided to deal with the issue through humor, instead of fear. Supposedly Kubrick began writing the film as a drama, but found the whole situation so absurd that he just had to laugh. The film is about a crazed general who finds a loophole in the US military and manages to order a nuclear attack. As the film progresses it is revealed that the Soviets have set up a “doomsday” machine that will cause the whole world to be in destruction if Russia is attacked. What follows is an absurd race to stop the bombers before they attack the USSR, which in turn would destroy the world.
The general, who began the whole ordeal, did what he did, because he believed the Russians were poisoning his water. This idea came to him when he could not sexually perform as he would like, and of course the only logical answer to that was the Commies. This is making fun of the ridiculous paranoia that was surrounding everyone’s mind at the time.
Another example of satire in the film, is when it is decided that certain people are going to have to go underground to protect the human race. As the Americans are discussing this, the Russian ambassador takes out a hidden camera and begins taking pictures of the American plans. Even when the world is ending, he is still thinking about ruling it.
What’s wonderful about Dr. Strangelove is that it works even without the context. I first watched the film four years ago when I knew nothing about the history and I still enjoyed it. The film supplies enough information on its own so that those uneducated on the topic can still understand the satire. However it makes the experience so much more rewarding when outside knowledge is in fact known.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
When I was a kid , back when broadcast TV showed old movies, this film was on TV a lot. It is the first film I remember seeing more than once (in those pre-VHS days). The repeated viewings led to me starting to recognize things: lines of dialogue, camera movement, rhythm of editing. It’s the film that smashed open my brain with the shock that movies are made artifacts, and that movies could be made. And that directors had a hand in the making. (Actually that second revelation came from repeat viewings of “The Apartment” and " Irma La Douce", which led to Billy Wilder being the first director whose name I remembered) It was pure fortune that “Strangelove”, the film that did that for me also happened to be an awesome picture in its own right.
A watershed film; arguably the best film satire ever made and certainly the most bold. Stanley Kubrick’s legendary black comedy came at the height of the Cold War, thumbing its missile-shaped nose at the paranoia and fear perpetrated on a world fraught with potential nuclear disaster. A demented Air Force General, convinced of a Communist plot to infiltrate the “precious bodily fluids” of all Americans, launches an unsanctioned attack on Russia, leaving the President and his Pentagon “War Room” team with no choice but to divert disaster. A drunken Soviet Premier, his mysterious Ambassador, a gun-ho fighter pilot, and a deadly Doomsday Machine are all that stand in their way. Considered by many to be the most perfectly structured comic screenplay, “Dr. Strangelove” is somehow both improvisatory in tone and meticulous in execution. What results is an amalgam of cinematic highlights that are equal parts suspenseful, audacious, and hilarious. The cast includes Sterling Hayden as the screw-loose General Ripper, George C. Scott as the infantile General Turgidson (probably Scott’s best performance), Slim Pickens as a battle-starved fighter pilot, and Peter Sellers, in a tour de force triple performance as President Merkin Muffley, British Captain Lionel Mandrake, and the brilliant German physicist Dr. Strangelove; three distinctly original characters that remain the best example of Sellers genius. A remarkable film that must be considered mandatory viewing.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
It may be the most beloved black comedy of all time, being about an insane Air Force officer who orders his nuclear bombers to attack the Soviet Union. Featuring the incomparable Peter Sellers in three roles, aided by a wacky George C. Scott and with equally inspired turns by Sterling Hayden and Slim Pickens, Strangelove is perhaps the perfect cold war movie. Why does it represent that dangerous time so well? Precisely because of its absurdity. When Kubrick decided to make a film about the nuclear arms race and the dangers of Mutually Assured Destruction, he soon realized that the ideology and procedures behind them were so ridiculous that the film could only work as a comedy. Never has an apocalyptic vision been depicted so side-splittingly hysterically.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.