Film Review : DR STRANGELOVE or HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB * * * *
Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb(1964)
CAST Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Slim Pickens, Sterling Hayden, James Earl Jones
DIRECTOR Stanley Kubrick
Dr. Strangelove is the grand daddy of all comedies. It is a black comedy about the possibilities of a nuclear war and how we might react to one.
The movie starts with Capt. Mandrake (Sellers) recieving orders from his base commander General Ripper(Hayden) to shut the base down air tight because the ruskies have launched a nuclear attack on the United States. In actuality the general has gone mad and ordered a whole wing of bombers to strike their primary targets inside of Russia. General Buck Turgeson (Scott) is notified of the situation and he summons council in the war room. There, he informs the president (Sellers again) of the situation. The war room scene is one of the greatest in film and it is directed with stunning brilliance. We watch as the tension of the discussions escalate into almost hysteria. George C. Scott is brilliant in telling his theories on how to defuse the situation, stuffing chewing gum in his mouth at an alarming rate, taking phone calls from his secretary letting her know Bucky will be home as soon as he can.
Interchanging with the war room are scenes of a group of airmen aboard one of the bombers, piloted by the wise cracking but serious Major Kong, in Slim Pickens most famous role. They break out their survival pack issue and do a role call of its contents which is quite funny. Of course there is the famous bomb riding scene at the end of the film.
Sellers also appears as a mad scientist named Strangelove, who offers up some theories on how to survive " the doomsday effect ". All the performances are brilliant and there are lots of laughs as all the participants try to deal with this real situation. Sterling Hayden is wonderful as the suicidal General Ripper, who declares that russians cannot pollute his precious bodily fluids. Kubrick's best film is a remarkable acheivement and stands the test of time. It is amazing how a film about such a serious issue can be so damn funny and entertaining. Kubrick pulls off the magnitude of the issue while remaining true to the roots of the script. It is an undeniable masterpiece that will remain fresh year after year.