Monday, March 21, 2011

Movie of the Week - Dr. Strangelove

The Cold War satire is about the brink of nuclear war after an insane general puts into motion the dropping of America’s retaliatory bombs on the U.S.S.R. without true provocation. In the War Room, U.S. politicians and generals frantically try to stop the impending nuclear holocaust. The film is by auteur writer-director Stanley Kubrick (also famous for his films 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining and others). On the film, Kubrick has a fun score from Laurie Johnson, good work from cinematographer Gilbert Taylor and a wonderful War Room set from production designer Ken Adam (who designed most of the classic James Bonds sets). However, the stars of this film are Peter Sellers (who is also brilliant in Kubrick’s Lolita) and George C. Scott. Their performances are very funny (if not hysterical at times) and make this the brilliant film that it is. Sterling Hayden, Peter Bull and Slim Pickens also give good supporting performances. Sellers plays three characters in the film, each is a fantastic creation with varying levels of zaniness and charisma (originally he was to play Pickens’s role as well, the pilot, but injured his leg while filming and could not quite get the accent right, which is a surprise for a master character actor like Sellers). What makes the film great is how it mashes together humor and sheer terror and tension of the time. I can only imagine how this played upon its release in 1964 (just two years after the Cuban Missile Crisis). As funny as the film is, the real life tension and fear of nuclear war was ever present. Now, the film merely plays as a comedy and satire, especially when set against films such as Fail-Safe. This is an absolute must see for cinema fans. Check out the trailer.

Available on Blu-ray, DVD and to Rent

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