Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Screen 12 articles

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

1964

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Poster
  • Given the basic premise of nuclear annihilation, the zany conception of Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern, and Peter George has much to commend it. Where my critical fall out with most of my colleagues occurs is in the realm of execution.

  • Like most of his work, Stanley Kubrick's deadly black satirical comedy-thriller on cold war madness and its possible effects (1964) has aged well... Kubrick's icy contempt for 20th-century humanity may find its purest expression in the figure of Strangelove himself, a savage extrapolation of a then-obscure Henry Kissinger conflated with Wernher von Braun and Dr. Mabuse to suggest a flawed, spastic machine with Nazi reflexes that ultimately turns on itself.

  • Kubrick began adapting Two Hours to Doom and, suddenly struck by the ridiculousness of it all, transformed it into his seminal nightmare satire. So it may come as a surprise to anyone reading George’s novel today to discover just how much it actually resembles Strangelove... The similarities—and, naturally, the differences—offer a telling look at why Strangelove refuses to age, why its ability to provoke simultaneous laughter and terror remains undiminished, 45 years after its initial release.

  • Dr. Strangelove's status as the movie that confirmed both Stanley Kubrick's reputation and the arrival of beat-sick irreverence can no longer be retracted. Kubrick and co-scripters Peter George and Terry Southern fashioned a goonish-ghoulish portrait of diplomatic insanity that's zippy, ruthless, and cartoonish enough that the flick is worshipped even among those who can't stand Kubrick's later, fastidiously methodical movies.

  • Dr. Strangelove is a purgative rather than a wallow, a work of fatalistic fervour that is nonetheless perversely cheering precisely because it considers the worst the world had to offer and yet still finds the joie de vivre in it.

  • The film is indeed a depressing “sick joke” and an edifying one, and the “contempt” that it shows for those in power functions as something of a salvo for viewers who, then and now, feel eternally helpless while the fate of the world rests in the hands of a small group of frighteningly fallible fellows. To criticize Strangelove for being “sick” is to call out the world for its inherent bad taste.

  • The fears of Dr. Strangelove are real and remain so: Nuclear annihilation, not as a result of official policy—though that’s been sometimes considered—but via the convictions of a well-positioned madman (Sterling Hayden’s immortal cigar-chomping lunatic, Jack D. Ripper), is hardly an antiquated notion. So go down to Film Forum and party like it’s 1964; it might as well be. By a whopping margin, this is Kubrick’s most radical film and greatest dramatic gamble.

  • I saw this film multiple times as a young movie consumer before I understood that the entire atomic giggle-nightmare, from the bomb imagery to the characters' names, is an extended lampooning metaphor for big swingin' dicks, everywhere you look. It may be then the most viciously anti-patriarchal film ever made in Hollywood -- concluding as it does with the Splooge That Ends the World.

  • Shooting Dr. Strangelove as if it were Paths Of Glory makes its ridiculous elements at once funnier and more chilling, emphasizing the Cold War’s inherent insanity. When Scott, as Gen. Buck Turgidson, does a quick midsentence pratfall, it feels dangerously disruptive, because the character’s buffoonery is otherwise rooted in utterly plausible jingoism. Making light of world annihilation is serious business, and Kubrick treats it as such, without sacrificing laughs.

  • One of the masterpieces of filmmaking. And though photographed in England by an expatriate who would never return, it is very much an American masterpiece, brimful of American types and stereotypes, American madness and ingenuity, every species of American idiolect, from regional slang to institutional euphemism.

  • The film makes its content both viscerally and cerebrally funny by turning physical comedy into a simultaneous theme and visual component of Kubrick's thesis on a military industrial complex informed by heterosexual male frustration.

  • The prismatic brilliance of Stanley Kubrick's demented oil slick of a satire is such that successive generations would argue vehemently over which feels its relevance most keenly. But then, Strangelove contains multitudes..., Kubrick never underestimated the cupidity and stupidity of those with the power to end humanity.

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