Had some free time Saturday night, so I decided to check out Amazon’s Prime Instant Video library. I saw they had Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, a rather famous film directed by Stanley Kubrick, and starring Peter Sellers. It’s on my unofficial film “To Do” list, so I decided to watch this 94 minute film. This marks my 4th Kubrick film, after 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, and Eyes Wide Shut. Filmed in 1963, the film is a satire about the threat of nuclear war in the 1950s and 1960s between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, M.A.D, and the men in charge of keeping us safe. Besides Peter Sellers playing three different characters (because he could?), the film also stars George C. Scott, Slim Pickens, and a blink-too-many-times-and-you’ll-miss-him James Earl Jones as a B-52 crew member.
An insane U.S. Air Force general decides to go rogue, and unilaterally order a squadron of U.S. B-52s armed with nuclear missiles to bomb the U.S.S.R. Obviously, this is a problem, and more so with the revelation that the Soviets have developed a doomsday weapon that will irradiate the entire planet. Much of the film is spent centered around interactions between the supporting cast and one of Peter Sellers key characters:
- Group Captain Lionel Mandrake – a RAF captain who interacts with the aforementioned insane USAF Brig. General Jack Ripper.
- President Merkin Muffley – the President of the United States who is trying to manage his options provided by the Soviets and the Pentagon.
- Dr. Strangelove – the namesake of the film, an eccentric scientific advisor to the U.S. President. Very eccentric.
I think my favorite part of the entire film was watching Peter Sellers in action. He plays three different characters, and in certain scenes, is playing both Muffley and Strangelove, who are interacting with each other. Genius.
As for the film itself, I think it had its moments, but it’s not my favorite film. It was interesting, and I did like some of the ways Kubrick directed specific shots. For the most part though, I simply enjoyed watching Peter Sellers in action. Oh, and George C. Scott was pretty good too. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention him.