Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Two View Movie Review: Dr. Strangelove, or How I Stopped Worrying & Learned to Love the Bomb

President Muffley
Set at the height of the Cold War, Dr. Strangelove begins when Air Force General & Commander of the Burpelson Air Force Base Jack Ripper (Sterling Hayden) orders all B-52 airplanes to enter the Soviet Union & bomb it with nuclear weapons. The order was given under a special code that would follow after the assassination of the President. But the President wasn't assassinated. General Ripper made the order out of fear that the Soviets were fluoridating the water supply. President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers) meets with General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott) & other high ranking officers in the "War Room" to figure out a way to stop the apparently unstoppable planes while General Ripper's executive officer, Lionel Mandrake (also Peter Sellers) tries to persuade General Ripper to call out the abort orders, because they learn that if there is a nuclear strike on the Soviet Union, there is a automatic doomsday device to be released by the Soviets.

Group Captain Lionel Mandrake
If you ever want to see a film about the Cold War, this would be it. It perfectly satirizes those nerving years & comments on the ridiculousness of the situation, which is why this is such a great comedy. And since this is a Stanley Kubrick film, there are a lot of sexual undertones, despite there only being one female character in the whole film. The opening sequence features an airplane getting fueled up during flying (featuring phallic symbols), the reasoning behind General Ripper's paranoia (he claims fluoride makes him impotent), & the President & the officers' backing of Dr. Strangelove's post-nuclear war plans (in which 10 women to every man would live in mineshafts) are just some of the subtle sexuality featured.

Dr. Strangelove
Speaking of Dr. Strangelove, which is Peter Seller's third & most hilarious character in the film, he is the President's scientific advisor, as he was an ex-Nazi physicist. Crippled & suffering from alien hand syndrome, Dr. Strangelove accidentally calls the President "Mein Führer" on a number of occasions, & Strangelove's explanation of a polygamist's society is extremely funny. He takes pleasure in the fact that the Nazi's two worst enemies, the USA & the USSR, might end up destroying each other causing a Nazi paradise where only the strong survive in a hyper-sexual world.

Dr. Strangelove has aged very well & is still relevant today & is considered one of the best political satires, if not the best.

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