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An American/British 1964 black comedy film directed by Stanley Kubrick.

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Kubrick's Evil Twin of Fail-Safe

  • Oct 30, 2010
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What's the film about?

This film is about nuclear war.  It came out in January of 1964 and so was 9 months ahead of Fail-Safe.  But this was two years after the Cuban Missile Crisis so it should have been a big deal to most aware Americans.  How many unaware Americans were there at the time?  I don't really have any memories of the Missile Crisis.  I was only 10.

In this story a wacko American general launches his nuclear equipped bombers at the Soviet Union.  They are a threat to our precious bodily fluids.  Peter Sellers is on the base as a British exchange officer and must deal with the wacko.  He also has to prevent nuclear war as president of the United States while getting insane advice from himself in the role of Dr. Strangelove.

A fun time is had by all.  Then we die.

Who was the classic actor/actress?

Peter Sellers was without a doubt THE ACTOR of Dr. Strangelove.  He played the title character, the president of the United States and a British officer on an American base serving under the lunatic American general that started the entire nonsense.  George C. Scott was also present with a very memorable scene by Slim Pickens, ride 'em cowboy.

Why did you choose this film?

This flick is the Evil Twin of Fail-Safe so they need to be mentioned together.  But although this movie is presented as a comedy there is a certain black humor to the entire Cold War and arms race business that makes this picture more appropriate than Fail-Safe.  Here is the data:

End Year
                  US       SU    
1945          6         
1948        110     
1949        235          1     
1950        369          5     
1951        640         25     
1952      1,005         50     
1955      3,057        200     
1959     15,468      1,060
1962     27,297      3,322 Cuban Missile Crisis
1963     29,249      4,238
1964     30,751      5,221 Dr. Str & Fail-Safe
1965     31,642      6,129
1969     26,910     10,538
1971     26,365     13,092
1977     25,099     23,044     
1982     22,937     33,952     
1986     23,254     40,723     
1987     23,490     38,859     
1988     23,077     37,333     
1989     22,174     35,805     
1990     21,211     33,417
2000     10,615     10,201     
2001     10,491     9,126     
2002     10,640     8,600    

Those are the number of nuclear weapons possessed by the United States and the Soviet Union.  The US was way ahead in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  But what would 100 10 megaton nukes do to the US or any country?  What does the total number of weapons in the stockpile matter?  So why did the US make so many in the late 1950s?  How much did the Russians know about how many there were at the time?  Did the fact that they knew that they were so far behind help prompt the Cuban incident.

So that was the background in which Dr. Strangelove was created.  It is kind of funny really.  I mean, how dead can the Russians get?  Dr. Stranglove shows us how truly ridiculous the situation was.

Gentlemen!  You can't fight in here.  This is the War Room.

We can't have a nuclear war here.  This is the only planet we've got.

Dr. Strangelove is a great flick.  But remember, McNamara's middle name is Strange and Dr. Strangelove may have been modeled on the Hungarian mathematician John von Neumann who was in a wheelchair before his death in 1957 and worked on the atomic bomb and was violently anti-communist.  So the proper perspective helps make this great flick better.

What's the bottom line?

Consider the manpower and resources that went into making all of those nukes and their delivery systems.  If half of that had been devoted in other ways how different could the world be today?  But here we are.  There are still plenty of nukes are loose on the planet.   Maybe not as many as in Peak Nuke of 1989 but the targeting and delivery systems are better.  Not on this planet you idiots!

Kubrick's Evil Twin of Fail-Safe Kubrick's Evil Twin of Fail-Safe

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More Dr. Strangelove or How I Learn... reviews
review by . July 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Classis Sellers
   Stanley Kubrick’s satirical look at a possible nuclear winter in Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb doesn’t get the get the credit it is due.  Debuting during the Johnson Administration in 1964, the Cold War was in full swing, prompting the building of bomb shelters, terms like “mutually assured destruction,” and nuclear arms being produced at an alarming rate.  Dr Strangelove took on all sides, featuring bumbling bureaucrats, …
Quick Tip by . August 13, 2010
Great Kubrick film, a director I admire. Sellers does a great job playing multiple roles. Whenever I heard Dr. Kissinger speak for the first time, I laughed so hard because, it brought me back to this movie!
Quick Tip by . July 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This is one of the funniest movies ever and one of Peter Sellers best performances, that includes all of them. The cold war is over but it still leaves plenty to laugh about as well as be troubled about when the powers that be conduct their business without transparency.
review by . August 12, 2009
Doctor Strangelove was another dark black and white comedy that Kubrick directed. Filmed and produced right after Lolita, Kubrick decided to work again with the enigmatic actor Peter Sellers. This time he plays three different characters (an R.A.F. officer, President Muffley and Doctor Stranglove). George C. Scott co-stars as a manic gum chewing general, Slim Pickens as the S.A.C. bomber pilot (playing the role as straight as an arrow) Sterling Hayden playing the crazed airbase commander Jack D. …
Quick Tip by . September 26, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Absolutely hilarious. I love humorous satirical films. Lucky for me they're playing it on the big screen in Berkeley :D
Quick Tip by . September 26, 2009
Possibly the most sophisticated political satire ever put on film!!! Of all of Kubrick's films this is the one that I watch over and over...
review by . January 09, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Peter Sellers and crew are at their best in Stanley Kubrick's Dr Strangelove. Though the subject is serious, it never lacks in laughs. Rewatch Factor 5 stars
review by . July 23, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
I viewed this film when it was first released. Now, year later, it is still, in my opinion, one of the best of the genre. It is certainly a dark, dark movie but the darkness adds the the wonderful contradictions in the story. This one can certainly be classified as a classic and should be added to anyones collection. I, like several other reviewers, feel this was one of Sellers' better movies. He had his roles down pat. I suspect that this movie will be around for a number of years. I highly recommend. …
review by . July 18, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
Kubrick produced, directed, and co-authored the screen play of this film, one which has lost none of its bite after almost 40 years. In that same year, Sidney Lumet's Fail Safe was also released. Both pose the same question "What if someone accidentally launched an air strike armed with thermonuclear weapons...and it could not be recalled?" However, they offer quite different answers. Credit Stanley Kramer's On the Beach (1959) with alerting the world to a possibility which seemed a probability …
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Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (commonly known as Dr. Strangelove) is an American/British 1964 black comedy film directed by Stanley Kubrick, starring Peter Sellers and George C. Scott, and featuring Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn and Slim Pickens. Loosely based on Peter George's Cold War thriller novel Red Alert (aka Two Hours to Doom), Dr. Strangelove satirizes the nuclear scare.

The story concerns a mentally unstable US Air Force general who orders a first strike nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, and follows the President of the United States, his advisors, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a Royal Air Force (RAF) officer as they try to recall the bombers to prevent a nuclear apocalypse, as well as the crew of one B-52 as they attempt to deliver their payload.

In 1989, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. Additionally, it was listed as #3 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs.

DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB is Stanley Kubrick's Cold War masterpiece. Based on the novel RED ALERT by Peter George, the film is set at the height of the tensions between Russia and the United States, when all it would take to destroy the world was one push of a button. And General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) is just the man to do it. <br> <br> Convinced that the Russians have ...
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Director: Stanley Kubrick
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: January 29, 1964
MPAA Rating: PG
DVD Release Date: November 2, 2004
Runtime: 1hr 33min
Studio: Columbia Pictures
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