Friday, December 26, 2008

Dr. Strangelove

Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Dir: Stanley Kubrick, 1964, bw (10*)
Best Picture (BAA)
AFI Top 100
A perfect black comedy, even in black and white like a documentary, a satire of the cold war and nuclear paranoia.

The story begins when renegade Gen. Jack D. Ripper, Sterling Hayden in his best role, decides to attack the Soviet Union ("they're messing with our precious bodily fluids") with his nuclear bomber group. Peter Sellers (robbed of an Oscar for this!) has a field day playing three parts: Mandrake, the nervous British assistant to Ripper, the baffled President of the U.S. inside the war room, as well as the title character, a Nazi scientist confined to a wheel chair who's an expert on the "doomsday" weapon, and who can't control his hand, which both gives the Nazi salute and attempts to strangle himself!

In fact, Kubrick also wanted Sellers to play the bomber pilot that Slim Pickens made famous, and that character wouldn't be the same without the Texas persona; Sellers said "I can't play everybody". George C. Scott is hilarious as a gung-ho general in the war room, a character seemingly based on Gen. George Patton ("we can catch the Russkies with their pants down!") . A classic in every sense, probably Kubrick's tightest film, beginning to end, terrific pace.

Quote: Gentlemen, there's no fighting in here - this is the war room! (Sellers as President)


g3 July 29, 2010 at 8:46 PM  

I adore Sellers and Hayden in this. Sellers didn''t get an Oscar, eh? Shame!

Kubrick is simply amazing. The range! Shining and Strangelove, Clockwork Orange and Eyes wide shut - poles apart and completely brilliant. :)

Dylan Angliss June 20, 2012 at 4:40 AM  

I love this film! one of my favourites! "I mean, he'll see everything, he'll... he'll see the Big Board!" gets me everytime!

You cannot compete with Kubricks unique style. The only director i can think of to make so many masterpieces in so many different genres. Genius...

José Sinclair June 20, 2012 at 7:55 AM  

"Gentlemen, there's no fighting in here - this is the War Room!" - the President

then of course,
"Mein Fuhrer! I can walk!"

José Sinclair June 20, 2012 at 7:57 AM  

There is ONE director who has perhaps the variety of Kubrick with the master's touch in every film: Akira Kurosawa

Watch his early crime films like Stray Dog (1949) and you'll see what I mean. That one started an avalanche of police procedural films in Japan.

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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