January 29, 2009

Dr. Strangelove: 45 Year Anniversary

Two immediate notes about this classic: it’s a black and white movie, and the B-52 bombers are still flying today!!

The US Library of Congress considered Stanley Kubrick’s dark comedy about the Cold War as culturally significant and preserved it in the National Film Registry…just about the time the Cold War ended.

Much of the movie takes place in the War Room and an Air Force Base, but it also follows the flight of a B-52 crew led by Slim Pickens as Major T.J. “King” Kong. You can even see a young James Earl Jones as the bombardier.

Many of the exterior flying sequences show a primitive shot of a simple model airplane. It’s a little annoying that such a great movie uses a trite little toy in its special effects. Or maybe that’s the point. Maybe we’re supposed to see this one toy airplane as the fulcrum between peace and mutually assured destruction.

Anyway, it would have been cool if Kubrick could have ordered the B-52 exterior to be re-shot with modern special effects as George Lucas did with the original Star Wars series.

On the other hand, the bomb-drop scene could not be any better. It’s hilarious and horrific and impossible to forget.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Peter Seller’s stellar performance in three different roles: a British officer, the American president and Dr. Strangelove. George C. Scott is awesome, as always.

Also known as, "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb."

~Matt Thomas

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