Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Trust Stanley Kubrick

Satire doesn't get much sharper than this. Not only is Dr. Strangelove deeply, darkly, and disturbingly funny in its Cold War arms race parody, but it is every bit as starkly beautiful in its cinematography. Every scene is a testament to Kubrick's mastery of formalism, from the breathtaking opening aerial shot to the dizzying Dutch angles artfully employed in Sterling Hayden's ominous closeups.

It is impossible to avoid crediting (although Kubrick, true to egoistic form, did just that) Peter Sellers for his tremendous - some might say single-handed - contributions to the film's humor both through his script work and his performance as no fewer than *three* of the principal characters. While Dr. Strangelove is ironically the weakest of these and perhaps the most overtly farcical aspect of the film, Lionel Mandrake's riotous RAF unflappability in the face of nuclear war and President Muffley's deadpan insecurities account for two of the highest points of comic genius in Seller's career.

Thanks to Kubrick's detailed direction and Sellers' uncanny characterization, Dr. Strangelove is that rare comedy whose artistic merits easily match - and perhaps even outweigh - its simple laugh appeal.

Arbitrary Numerical Rating: 10/10


  1. Again, another movie I love. "Mr. President, we cannot allow the presence of a mine shaft gap!"


  2. It's unbelievable just how relevant it's remained even in the post-Cold War-post-9/11 era. As hilarious as it is troubling.