Thursday, January 2, 2014

421. Dr. Strangelove

Dr. Strangelove
Directed by Stanley Kubrick

That was...odd to say the least.  A comedy about the US Air Force killing everyone in the world.  And Peter Sellers plays multiple roles for some reason?  Okay...

So I will start by saying this film really is not my cup of tea.  For some strange reason I find all Kubrick films incredibly dull.  I think it is because the first one I saw, A Clockwork Orange, had a rape scene in it and I kind of shut down and hated the rest of the movie.  The next one I saw, 2001: A Space Odyssey, was so boring that I am pretty sure I listened to music during the film.  After all that, I just can't seem to find any of his movie entertaining.  I also don't really like war movies in general.  So when I say I didn't like this film, that does not mean that you shouldn't see it (because I know everyone takes my words to heart and blindly follows them).  It just means it is not for everybody and it is certainly not for me.

General Ripper, who for some reason seems to be losing his mind, orders the US to attack the Soviet Union with B-52 bombers for no reason in particular.  Ripper is the only one that knows the recall codes.  Hilarity ensues.

This was an interesting satire about Cold War paranoia but I felt Kubrick inserted a lot of stupid, mindless jokes in the mix (Strangelove's hand for instance) to appeal to wider audiences.  So it misses the mark of being a smart comedy by a bit.

Overall, I am never going to be a Kubrick lover so if you are you might just want to skip these reviews.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Sellers improvised most of his lines.

Gene Siskel's favorite movie



  1. Another 'agree to differ', even if I can very much see what you say about the other films.. (Ah, we return to how poisonous a rape scene can be to a film)*

    This one I think is great.. a great black satirical comedy about the madness of war, and nuclear stand off.
    It makes a great companion piece to 'Fail Safe' which came out about the same time, dealt with a very similar subject and scenario.. yet played it is a very different way (Recently re-made with George Clooney)

    * Rape in films putting us off. I have just thought of an exception (for me). The Swedish version of 'Girl with a Dragon Tattoo has one of the longest, most brutal rape sequences around. I couldn't watch... but it didn't spoil the film. In fact it fitted in well to the characterisations of both the victim and perpetrator.

  2. Man, we are differing a lot lately. Well, we agreed that Women in the Dunes is great; I guess that can hold us over for awhile. I realize that I am the odd one out for not liking this movie and maybe it deserves another viewing. But yeah, I just didn't find it funny at all.

    Hmmm, haven't seen it Girl With a Dragon Tattoo. I haven't found any exceptions for me yet but I am sure they are some out there.

  3. I love Dr Strangelove. Basically I just found it hilarious! I loved Peter Sellers in it but George C Scott cracked me up everytime he was on screen.

    Ray- I rewatched Strangelove recently then I watched Fail Safe. I have to say I kind of felt a bit sorry for Sidney Lumet! If I hadn't seen Strangelove I would have been sitting thinking what a great idea the whole thing was and that he'd done a great job. Not that he didn't do a good job of the film but Strangelove came along and did pretty much the same thing but made it so funny too that it just overshadows it by a my opinion of course anyway. Not that Lumet had to lose any sleep over it of course considering all his other successes...

  4. Thanks Ashley... Yes, I see your point .. 'Fail safe' was very much overshadowed by 'Dr Strangelove' .. and very unfairly so, as, despite the similarity of subject are dramatically different in approach. Personally I wouldn't say one is better than the other, .. 'Fail Safe' is much, much bleaker... Less fun, sure, but sometimes bleakness is needed.

  5. As I understood it, Kubrick was contemplating different ways to approach this subject and decided that the only way to grasp the enormity was to demonstrate how completely insane a nuclear standoff is. The phone call between the president and his Russian counterpart says it all, complete madness.
    I think it is a great movie and it is exactly he hilarity that makes me understand it. Otherwise it would just be too easy to shut down and block it out.
    Sorry Amanda, I am with Ray and Ashley on this one.

    1. That's okay. I think I would be too depressed to give this another try now considering the current....climate

  6. Was there not room to put the full title?

    When I first saw this many years ago I was a bit disappointed, compared to what I had expected. But watching it again now I'm hugely impressed. Films always get better on a second viewing for me.

    George C Scott is as fantastic as he always is. Oddly, perhaps the only character that wasn't vital to the exercise was Dr Strangelove himself, who only has a few minutes of screen time anyway. I see that the idea of a former Nazi scientist is important but the way it was brought to life, not least the hand, as you say, seemed out of place. I'm not going to say badly done, just out of place.

    I read that the original filmed ending was a pie fight in the war room? Which sounds nuts, but I reckon that might have worked.