Movie Review – “Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb”

Today is the day we learn if there is a limit to how
long an article’s title can get.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Peter Sellers as Group Captain Mandrake, President
Merkin Muffley, and
Dr. Strangelove

George C. Scott as General “Buck” Turgidson

Sterling Hayden as General Jack Ripper

Slim Pickens as Major Kong

James Earl Jones as Lt. Luthor Zogg

Written by Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern and Peter
George, based on
the Peter George novel

Directed by Stanley Kubrick

Complete information is available from the
IMDB
.

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca.
That link is to the 40th anniversary special edition,
available
November 2, 2004. The latest edition of the Stanley
Kubrick boxed
set, containing another edition of this and other
Kubrick films is
also available from
Amazon.com
and
Amazon.ca.

Past movie reviews can be found here.

Premise

An Air Force General goes a little bit nuts and tries
to start World
War III, without knowing that the Russians have a
Doomsday
device. (The Doomsday Device is the sci-fi element
I’m using to
justify this review, by the way.)

High Point

“Gentlemen, you can’t fight here. This is the War
Room!”

Low Point

Strangelove fights his arm. I just found that
sequence to be poorly
motivated. Maybe I missed something. I have the
book, and plan to
read it, so that may shed some light on things.

The Scores

Again, adaptations from novels are difficult to award
full
originality scores to. This isn’t even the
first “general
gone rogue” story. It is the first I’m aware of that
treats the
subject as a comedy, though. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects are some minimal bluescreen type
stuff. They
aren’t perfect, but they’re not as obviously terrible
as many of their
contemporaries, either. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is amusingly and carefully
assembled, right down to
the inclusion of Miss Foreign Affairs. Kubrick kept
very tight reigns
on all of his work. Perhaps the Low Point sequence
bothers me so much
because it’s the only part I can’t figure out. I
give it 5 out of 6.

The acting is excellent. Sellers is
wonderful in all of his
roles. Slim Pickens, Sterling Hayden, and George C.
Scott were
perfectly chosen. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response has a very rare
trait; I enjoy it
more, and laugh out loud more, with every viewing. I
just can’t seem
to get tired of it. I give it 6 out of 6.

The production was being controlled by
Stanley Kubrick. Once
again, everything contributes to the message(s), and
nothing is left
to chance. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this is a great movie, and a better
film. I would
recommend it to anyone without reservation. I give
it 6 out of 6.

In total, Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned To
Stop Worrying And
Love The Bomb
receives 37 out of 42.

12 replies on “Movie Review – “Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb””

  1. Lurch_Kimded says:

    Dr Strangelove
    Perhaps the Low Point sequence bothers me so much because it’s the only part I can’t figure out

    I’ve always seen the fighting with his arm as a representation of the characters WW2 German mad scientist overtones. Basically I see his arm as always wanting to do the nazi salute a move which has been indoctrinated into him in his past, but even though he now serve “Heir President” he can’t stop… if that makes any sense.

    • Timeshredder says:

      Re: Dr Strangelove

      In addition to the Nazi element, there’s the fact that his mechanical arm keeps trying to strangle the human being. Think Darth Vader, and soulless technology vs the human element.

      Well, it makes sense to me.

      • hitch says:

        Re: Dr Strangelove

        In addition to the Nazi element, there’s the fact that his mechanical arm keeps trying to strangle the human being. Think Darth Vader, and soulless technology vs the human element.

        Well, it makes sense to me.

        it was mechanical??

        • hitch says:

          Re: Dr Strangelove

          In addition to the Nazi element, there’s the fact that his mechanical arm keeps trying to strangle the human being. Think Darth Vader, and soulless technology vs the human element.

          Well, it makes sense to me.

          it was mechanical??

          this is the point where y’all throw me out for being so poorly read, isn’t it?
          (dr. strangelove, frankenstein, dracula…eesh. Even I’m starting to feel downright illiterate. )

          • fiziko says:

            Re: Dr Strangelove

            this is the point where y’all throw me out for being so poorly read, isn’t it?
            (dr. strangelove, frankenstein, dracula…eesh. Even I’m starting to feel downright illiterate. )

            I didn’t know it was mechanical either. (If I had, I’d have recognized Kubrick’s “be wary of technology” theme and been much less bothered by it.) I have the book, but it’s one of many I haven’t read yet. The busier I get, the more stuff I buy to enjoy when I’m not busy. Work has been nuts for six months, so the DVD and book collections are getting a little bit ahead of me. At last count, I had 14 full seasons of various TV shows I hadn’t watched yet (12 of which are reviewable) and about the same total viewing time in movies. I’ve also got some Outer Limits collections, some animated short collections, and so on. There are even more books I can review, and a few comics (including seven Essentials) to go, too. The video games aren’t coming along, either.

            I’m going to try to eventually get to everything on this list, but it will probably take a few years, espeically given the rate I add to it relative to the rate things come off of it. I plan to get through the titles with 3 or more requests in November, and then work through double requests in December and January, and so forth.

          • nkuzmik says:

            Re: Dr Strangelove

            this is the point where y’all throw me out for being so poorly read, isn’t it?
            (dr. strangelove, frankenstein, dracula…eesh. Even I’m starting to feel downright illiterate. )

            Don’t feel bad, bro. I graduated cum laude with a bachelor in Literature, and I haven’t read any of those books.

    • yakfacts says:

      Re: Dr Strangelove

      Perhaps the Low Point sequence bothers me so much because it’s the only part I can’t figure out

      I’ve always seen the fighting with his arm as a representation of the characters WW2 German mad scientist overtones.

      At this time, the top US (and Russian!) rocket scientists as well as many of the physicists were Germans and a lot of the American public still saw them as jack-booted Nazis goose-stepping around the lab.

      I find that to be my favorite sequence; for me Slim Pickens riding the bomb would be the low point

    • codejnki says:

      Re: Dr Strangelove

      Perhaps the Low Point sequence bothers me so much because it’s the only part I can’t figure out

      I’ve always seen the fighting with his arm as a representation of the characters WW2 German mad scientist overtones. Basically I see his arm as always wanting to do the nazi salute a move which has been indoctrinated into him in his past, but even though he now serve “Heir President” he can’t stop… if that makes any sense.

      Probably the reason it feels so out of pace with the rest of the film was that Sellers improvised most of it right on the spot. Watch the Russian ambasador during those final moments and you’ll see him crack a smile nearly breaking character. You are correct that Kubrick kept tight reigns on all of his productions, this is one of the rare moments where he allowed someone elses creativity take front stage.

      The story goes that the book it is adapted from is not a comedy, and Kubrick wanted his adaptation to be a serious drama. But as production progressed he began to see the absurdity in the idea of a World War 3 and that with very minor tweeks to the dialog and over top acting in certain spots you suddenly had comedy rather than serious drama.

      Had Doctor Strangelove been done as a serious drama I think it would probably rank with Barry Lyndon as one of Kubrics lesser works and would never have gotten people to think about the possibility and absurdity of mutualy assured destruction. Done as a comedy though, perfect.

  2. Jethro says:

    Gotta make more people watch this one…
    My high point is the “You’re going to have to answer to The Coca Cola Company!” thing. Probably misquoting like mad.

    I’ve got a friend who’s… not watched too many movies. I had him watch it and he goes “Where do you find these movies?” Dude, it’s a classic. Some people…

    I didn’t like the arm thing, either, reasonable explenation or not.

  3. Canthros says:

    MEIN FUHRER! I CAN VALK!
    I love that movie. I don’t really care for the political overtones, which I find both disagreeable and rather heavy handed. But I think it’s a hoot even so.

    • Timeshredder says:

      Re: MEIN FUHRER! I CAN VALK!

      disagreeable and rather heavy handed. But I think it’s a hoot even so.

      Heavy-handed, yeah, but growing up during the Cold War, this film seemed almost plausible. I think it was my favourite film as a young teen.

      (I think it was Garry Trudeau who said that accusing a satirist of being “unfair” is like accusing a football player of being “physical”: ).

      • Timeshredder says:

        Sellers

        According to Terry Southern, Sellers was also supposed to play the Slim Pickens role, but injured himself, and they decided to go with a replacement.

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