Home > Uncategorized > Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is a 1964 film directed by Stanley Kubrick starring Peter Sellers and George C. Scott. This dark comedy has been on numerous occasions ranked as one of the best comedic movies of all time due to its amusing acting and facetious plot.  Dr. Strangelove does not fall short on its intricate use of mise-en-scene and design.  The director of this film, Stanley Kubrick, created an excellent film which clearly illustrated and expressed many of the political fears about the U.S./Soviet Union nuclear arms race and the uncertainty of each side’s actions during the Cold War.  This film is quite a departure from prior Kubrick films in that Stanley Kubrick created a comedic/political war film when he had only directed war/dramatic movies before Dr. Strangelove.

The film is littered with symbolic imagery and comedic humor.  Dr. Strangelove contains many symbols throughout such as the use of names for significant characters.  For example, the demented General Jack D. Ripper is a play on words of the infamous mass murder nicknamed Jack the Ripper.  Another funny character name is the Army officer named Col. “Bat” Guano who fights his way into Burpelson Airbase to find the distraught general.  There were many other clever names in the film as well such as Maj. T.J. “King Kong and Dr. Strangelove.   A funny slogan used in the film was the sign outside Burpelson Airbase which read “Peace is our Profession.” The irony behind this slogan is that the base commander has assured global destruction and soldiers are fighting their way into their own air force base.

The storyline of the film is very interesting and audience oriented. Dr. Strangelove attempts to poke fun at the mutually assured destruction between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. This gripping story shows how the world could fall apart because of one madman and illustrates what the military leaders and advisor’s have in mind for assuring the existence of humanity.  The film does something interesting; Dr. Strangelove uses one actor three times in the movie.  The characters of Captain Lionel Mandrake, President Merkin Muffley, and Dr. Strangelove are all performed by Peter Sellers.  The story behind many of the characters and their names is interesting because not only do the characters play funny/strange roles, but they also have funny names and quirky attitudes.  One of the most interesting aspects of this film is that the film lays out a scenario where the possibility that nuclear war could happen, but at the beginning of the movie, a brief statement is included basically saying that the plot of the film is impossible because the Air Force has many safety precautions in place of such an event.

The film used very interesting settings and cinematography in general.  Many film critics call some of the sets, such as the War Room, expressionist style.  This basically means that the War Room was used and colored the way it was to provoke strong emotion out of its audience.  The film’s special effects in this film were good.  One of the scenes using special effects was the B-52 Superfortress flying over Russia.  Although this was not the best, it was good particularly for this film since the movie is a comedy.  Another interesting cinematic effect would be the final scene when Dr. Strangelove stands up and yells “Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!” then the scene immediately changes to nuclear explosions while playing the song “We’ll meet again” by Vera Lynn.  This sudden change of setting is interesting for the audience and film’s plot. Overall, Dr. Strangelove is an enjoyable movie which is also highly regarded as a great political satire of Cold War politics.


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