Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Reviews
Strangelove, or, "How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb", tells the story of what could happen if the US nuclear programme went wrong. Based around the fears of many Americans, and much of the Western World, at the height of the cold war, a US air force general, who is the only one who has the codes to launch and bring back a fleet of planes carrying nuclear weapons, goes mad, and orders his entire fleet to attack the Soviet Union.
As the story unfolds we see the pure exceptional talents of Sellers in three characters, the bumbling British RAF pilot, Lionel Mandrake, the worried and hysterical US President, and the former, (perhaps still), Nazi weapon specialist, Dr Strangelove.
Through each of these characters, alongside marvellous acting from George C. Scott and Peter Bull, we see the fleet of H-Bombs draw closer to the USSR from four different perspectives, as the possibility of a nuclear war draws ever closer.
Released to cinemas just a year after the Cuban Missile Crisis, where the world came closer to nuclear war than ever before, Kubrick, in all his wit and talent, took a very real possibility, exposing the weaknesses of the safeguards of nuclear warfare, and made audiences laugh with joy, despite the fact the event could have happened just later that afternoon.
With Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, and the direction of Stanley Kubrick, the film makes for an incredibly entertaining ride, where we are taken along with each of the characters, and allowing us to look right into the weaknesses of the nuclear programme.
The acting of each and every character is purely fantastic, and a quality which most people would find hard to top. The cinematography, in the style of a documentary like handheld camera, adds to the realism, whilst at the same time, adding to the ridiculous and humorous connotations of a nuclear war breaking out.
The script, based on a serious novel called Red Alert, was adapted perfectly for the funny and sharp style Kubrick was aiming for, balancing moments of serious action and tension, with the laugh out loud moments following straight after.
It is hard not to laugh at the fantastic film which Kubrick has produced. Whilst it may be more than 50 years old, and the cold war has come to an end many years ago, Dr Strangelove still impacts on audiences today, in the same way it did in 1964. A fantastically funny, brilliantly acted, and exceptionally directed story, which only the master team of Sellers, Scott and Kubrick could achieve.
It somehow makes gut wrenching suspense out of a collection of one dimensional stock characters played with panache and crackerjack comic skill, headed by the superlative Peter Sellers, in 3 distinct roles, including the title one.
Stanley Kubrick, not known for comedy (Maybe Lolita?), takes exactly the right approach here, The scenes and cinematography are stunningly photographed B &W and mostly realistic. The laughs fly furiously throughout, even as the tension get ratcheted increasingly up to the last frame. Music is meticulous as always, from military choruses to the haunting Vera Lynn 'We'll meet Again' as the world (Spoiler alert?!)comes to its inevitable end. Writer Terry Southern was a talented satirist and fiction writer, but his material in the hands of lesser directors (Candy - with a huge cast of sixties icons) can go very flat and pureile. Kubrick is a genius, and his films have mostly held up over many years, expecially this one.
The cast is stellar, starting with George C. Scott (who really should have done more comedy) as a gung ho and stupid General, film noir tough guy favorite Sterling Hayden as a red-baiting General who has gone utterly impotent - and bonkers - and, British comedian Peter Bull as the childish and venal Soviet Ambassador. Then Sellers: as well intentioned and ineffective President Merkin Muffley, the hapless British miltary observer Mandrake who tries to talk Sterling Hayden out of destroying the world (one of the funniest quiet reacting performances in film history), and of course, diabolical and utterly original Dr. Strangelove, an ex-Nazi scientist who is beyond funny, yet still unbeliveably frightening.
This film has stayed with me since childhood. I was terrified and obsessed wtih the end of the world and I still havne't recovered. Every time Strangelove comes on TV, I am hooked till the end when the mushroom clouds fly. I do wonder if younger people that have no memory of the cold war perennial nuclear threat would appreciate this at all, I'll have to test it out with my nephew, after which time I may revise this review.
"The hot-line suspense comedy."
Dr. Strangelove is a timeless classic. It's littered with hundreds of hilarious instances, be it a cowboy pilot riding a nuke to his death or a Nazi doctor fighting his own arm. The film is probably the funniest movie I have ever seen is one of Kubrick's many amazing films. This has everything needed to be a great comedy. It has a director who knows how to present the material. It has three actors who just kick ass at being hilarious, Peter Sellers, George C. Scott and Slim Pickens. It has backgrounds that are telling jokes while characters are telling jokes. It's the perfect comedy.
A general, Jack D. Ripper(brilliant) goes a little off his knocker and sends his planes an order of Plan R, which means they're going to nuclear war. While planes on their way to Russia the president is meeting with top men in the Pentagons War Room. They then learn if the planes make it to Russia and attack, a new weapon("Doomsday Weapon") will automatically destroy the world.
Dr. Strangelove: Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you keep it a secret! Why didn't you tell the world, EH?
Ambassador de Sadesky: It was to be announced at the Party Congress on Monday. As you know, the Premier loves surprises.
The greatest thing about Dr. Strangelove is how smart and stupid it is at the same time. Most comedies that attempt to do something even close to what Kubrick was here, will just come off as stupid. Kubrick is as sharp as he ever was and would be here. There just aren't that many comedic masterpieces out there. Most of the comedies I love, I wouldn't call great films or masterpieces, but this is an exception; it is a masterpiece, from a director who seemed to only be able to make masterpieces.
There's nothing not like here. If you don't laugh, there's probably something wrong with you. My peers whom I saw this with give me little hope in our generation(I'm a senior in high school). It's probably all the over the top dialogue we hear now in movies like Step Brothers and The Hangover. Hopefully there are still teenagers out there who can appreciate the genius of this film.
I feel I need to go more in depth about just how good Sellers and Scott are in this movie. My two favorite comedic performances are theirs in this movie. Every time they want to make us laugh, they succeed. They don't have to say anything at times and they are still hilarious. Scott's facial expressions while the president is on the phone was laugh out loud funny and facial expressions rarely make me laugh. Sellers doesn't play one comedic performance to perfection but three. He fights his arm from saluting Hitler and has crazy good voices for each character, along with perfect timing in scenes where he is on the phone.
Dr. Strangelove is one of those movies that you will remember everything about, which is a good sign of a perfect film. It's a movie that doesn't have a throwaway scene or even a throwaway line. It is essential viewing. You shouldn't do anything before you see this movie. Go get it. Now.
President Merkin Muffley: Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room.