“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room.” This should give you a very good idea of the tone of Dr. Strangelove, a black satiric comedy that glibly makes fun of the then-current era when the world teetered on the brink of annihilation. According to IMDB.com, while shooting aerial footage over Greenland for Dr. Strangelove, the second unit camera crew accidentally filmed a secret US military base. Their plane was forced down and the crew held under suspicion of being Soviet spies. I remember when I was in 1st grade doing the nuclear attack drills when Ronald Reagan had just been elected president and although I only caught the tail end of the Cold War, it was enough to give me a healthy respect for what the world had endured. However, this movie takes all the paranoia, angst and tension of the day and channels it into an inspired satire. I’m not a fan of Stanley Kubrick, but Peter Sellers was such a comedic genius and having him play three different roles saves the movie from being too dark. There’s so much subtlety in this movie that I think it’s a good idea to watch it more than once in order to really appreciate it. Sellers’ performance as Dr. Strangelove (a kraut by any other name …) is inspired, with his manic fixed grin, a hand that keeps trying to give the Nazi salute and committing a glorious Freudian slip by calling the President of the United States “Mein Führer”. Hysterically funny on so many levels and a cutting portrayal of what, but for the Grace of God, could so easily have happened. Highly recommended for those who don’t know the significance of calling absolutely anything “a communist plot.” Fluoridation, anyone? – BETHANY
For more on Dr. Strangelove and to see Peter Sellers’ other movies (highly recommended) visit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057012/?ref_=nv_sr
Peter Sellers in his first role as Lionel Mandrake, a British RAF exchange officer, and Sterling Hayden as Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper (not kidding), the man who started the whole mess.
Peter Sellers in role #2, President Merkin Muffley.
Sellers in role #3, the titular Dr. Strangelove.
The War Room – no fighting in here!
George C. Scott as General Buck Turgidson.
The famous shot of Slim Pickens as Major T.J. “King” Kong riding the bomb.
Filming with a model B-52 (image found at flashbak.com)
Photos courtesy of Columbia Pictures and Hawk Films