An American/British 1964 black comedy film directed by Stanley Kubrick.< read all 10 reviews
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:
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!
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