An insane American general orders a bombing attack on the Soviet Union, triggering a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop.An insane American general orders a bombing attack on the Soviet Union, triggering a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop.An insane American general orders a bombing attack on the Soviet Union, triggering a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop.
Director's Trademarks: A Guide to Stanley Kubrick's Films
General Jack D. Ripper has sent out the Strategic Air Command bombers and locked down Burpelson Air Force Base so that higher ups can't interfere. He's struck back at the dirty Communists for pushing fluoridation of the water supply which he feels has interfered with his bodily functions.
Ripper might want to have checked with the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Buck Turgidson who when we meet him seems to have all his bodily functions working just fine. A second opinion on Ripper's lack of bodily functions might have revised his reason on why his particular functions weren't doing well.
Of course his actions have created a crisis and President Muffley of the United States is busy trying to talk to Premier Kissoff of the USSR to prevent a nuclear war. That is in case those SAC bombers can't be recalled. One of the bombers commanded by Major Kong is anxious to do battle with the 'Rooskies'.
Director Stanley Kubrick went poaching on the black comedy normally that would be the province of Billy Wilder. But even Wilder in his wildest dreams never used those wonderful Dickensian names for his characters that Kubrick is so delighting in. My favorite however is the part played by Keenan Wynn as the army colonel commanding the tactical force that liberates Burpelson, Colonel Bat Guano.
Jack D. Ripper is played by Sterling Hayden a man consumed by his lack of bodily functions. This is a takeoff on Army General Edwin Walker who commanded US troops in Germany and was relieved when it was discovered he was indoctrinating his troops with John Birch Society propaganda which included their fears about fluoridation of water. Curiously enough that cause was actually taken up by other than fanatic right-wingers, people like Ralph Nader. Could Ripper have been right after all?
George C. Scott is cigar chomping, bodily functioning spoof of legendary SAC commander Curtis LeMay. He's having quite the difficult time in deciding just who to root for in this crisis.
Peter Sellers got an Oscar nomination for playing three different characters in Dr. Strangelove. Sellers is President Muttley, Colonel Mandrake of the RAF an exchange officer serving under Sterling Hayden and the crazed former Nazi nuclear scientist Dr. Strangelove. Watching the film, it's almost hard to believe this is the same man using three different voices and appearances that makeup alone could not explain. Sellers lost to his fellow British player Rex Harrison for My Fair Lady.
In fact Dr. Strangelove also lost as Best Picture to My Fair Lady. Of course George Bernard Shaw never put his legendary wit to the issue of mutual nuclear annihilation. Neither did Billy Wilder, but I have a feeling those two talents together couldn't have done any better than Stanley Kubrick.
The image that stays in your mind from the film I guarantee will be Slim Pickens as Major Kong riding that hydrogen bomb down to its 'Rooskie' target like a bucking bronco.
Hopefully we won't meet Major Kong again, who knows where and who knows when.
- Apr 6, 2008