3 items from 2014
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Having finished Lolita, a subversive Hollywood piece even by noirish standards, Stanley Kubrick returned to war. Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb‘s scope was more encompassing than the private torture of Paths of Glory, looking forward to the threat of apocalyptic destruction instead of a reflective portrait of immediate world wars. Instead of matching and multiplying the grave tone inherent in his previous work and the source material, Red Alert by Peter George, Kubrick opted for a brand of blacker-than-pitch humor, claiming, “The only way to tell the story was as a black comedy or, better, a nightmare comedy, where the things you laugh at most are really the heart of the paradoxical postures »
- Zach Lewis
Blazing Saddles could be the most difficult movie to celebrate with a Scenes We Love feature. Not only is it a laugh-a-minute comedy with too many classic moments to narrow down from, but more importantly it is such a politically incorrect work that it’s hard to showcase excerpts that don’t play too offensively out of context of the whole picture. I realized this long ago while listening to shock jock radio and hearing many of the most hilarious quotes from the movie turned into uncomfortable soundbites. Yet this movie, which turned 40 years old this month, is a masterpiece of satire, slapstick and silliness. It’s one of the most important American comedies ever made, not to mention possibly the funniest in the last half century. Like another classic that recently celebrated an anniversary — Dr. Strangelove, which also features Slim Pickens — it played the nation’s fears and flaws for laughs. With »
- Christopher Campbell
The ultimate punchline to the nuclear satire of "Dr. Strangelove"? As absurd as Stanley Kubrick's imaginative black comedy about World War III seemed when it opened 50 years ago this week (on January 29, 1964), it all turned out to be true.
Everything in the movie that the Pentagon said couldn't happen in real life -- from Air Force officers launching nuclear strikes without Presidential approval, to the Ussr being ready to respond with an automated doomsday system of its own -- actually could have happened. The safeguards really were as flimsy as Kubrick and his screenwriters imagined them to be. (Which begs the question: How safe are we now from a nuclear apocalypse?)
That's just one reason -- albeit the most chilling one -- that Kubrick's 50-year-old comedy holds up shockingly well today. But there are many other reasons that the aftershocks of "Dr. Strangelove" continue to have an impact.
- Gary Susman
3 items from 2014
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