Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Not a lot of people think of the Cold War as a topic for a comedy. However, Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove managed to break that mold.

Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) goes crazy and sends B-52's to bomb the Soviet Union because the Communists are going "sap and purify" the "precious bodily fluids" of the American people. Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers) finds out that Ripper's attack is a fraud and tries to make him send the planes back.
At the Pentagon's War Room, Air Force General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott) tries to convince President Merkin Muffley (Sellers again) to do a full-scale attack on the Soviet Union. Muffley calls the Soviet Premier Dmitri Kissoff, who tells him if the Soviet Union is bombed, a Doomsday device will be set off. Muffley calls over ex-Nazi Dr. Strangelove (Sellers' third role) to explain the mechanics of the Doomsday device.

This is definitely one of Stanley Kubrick's best-known works, as well as Sellers'. I'm not sure which of his performances I liked the best; Mandrake's a little too serious (at least until he orders Colonel "Bat" Guano to shoot the Coca-Cola machine for money) and Muffley was as well (excluding his line "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the War Room!"), and Dr. Strangelove was his funniest role (particularly the last scene where his right hand is either trying to strangle him or do the Nazi salute).

Worth watching?: Yes!

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