Last night I watched the film “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” a film by Stanley Kubrick, starring Peter Sellers.
I added this film to our DVD rental queue after watching The Life and Death of Peter Sellers which was my favourite film of 2007. I think watching the Peter Sellers film before watching Dr. Strangelove is definitely a good idea – Peter Sellers is excellent in this film, playing the roles of the President of the United States, an English Group Captain and Dr. Strangelove – an ex-Nazi physicist who has become the President’s scientific advisor but who has tendencies to drop back into his old Nazi ways, calling the President “Mein Führer” on a few occasions, one of his hands also has a mind of its own – doing the Hitler salut whenever he gets excited about something, such as a doomsday event.
The film is based around a military general that orders a first strike nuclear attack on Russia, without the authority of the President. The “war room” is where a lot of the action takes place and in this short clip the President of the United States (Sellers) has to talk to Dmitri Kissoff, the Russian Premiere on the hotline to tell him what has happened, it is a genius piece of monologue by Sellers and apparently was mostly unscripted apart from the first few sentences –
The bomb Dmitri, the Hydrogen Bomb
The film is very dark and some people might not get the humour, as its mostly not laugh out loud funny at any moment but it dark comedy makes it brilliant, especially for a film which is 44 years old. A few anecdotes about the film –
* It was due to be released on November 22nd 1963 however Kennedy was assasinated that day and a film about a president trying to prevent a nuclear war being released wouldn’t have gone down well in a country which didn’t have one.
* There’s only one female in the entire film but the film is entirely based around sexuality, the general who orders the nuclear strike believes that water flouridation is a communist conspiracy to impurify “bodily fluids”
* One of the crew on the bombers was James Earl Jones who is the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars, it was his first motion picture.
* When Ronald Raegan became President of the United States he asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff where the “war room” was – probably from watching Dr. Strangelove. The war room was fictional at the time.