Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) Film Review

Dr Strangelove

I’ve not seen a lot of Kubrick’s work; certainly, this is something that I intend to rectify. However, I’ve always loved the work of Peter Sellers, and not least in this film. Young uns may think that playing multiple comic characters in a film is the territory of Eddie Murphy or Adam Sandler; oh no. This is the best example of it, still holding strong after almost fifty years.

The plot; Brigadier General Jack Ripper (Sterling Hayden) goes a bit nuts and uses an ill-conceived safe-guard to set a series of US planes heading towards Russia to drop nuclear weapons. Unable to contact him, President Muffley (Peter Sellers) gathers his advisers, including the hilarious General Buck Turgidson (George C Scott) to figure out a plan. They contact the Russian President by phone to advise and apologise only to discover that the Russians have installed a doomsday device which means that any nuclear attack on Russia will set a large number of weapons off toward the US and other targets. It comes down to a British officer who is on exchange working under Ripper, Group Captain Mandrake (Peter Sellers again) to try to reason with the insane man, or else everyone will be relying on the advice of Dr. Strangelove (Yup, Sellers again), an ex-Nazi in a wheelchair with one arm still loyal to Hitler.

There are so many great moments and great lines in the film. So very, very funny and having recently read and watched On The Beach, it was nice to see a humourous take on a nuclear holocaust. Black humour, of course, but humour non-the-less.

Dr. Strangelove was nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Peter Sellers), Best Director (Stanley Kubrick) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.


The Killing (1956) Film Review


The Killing is a heist film – Johnny Clay(Sterling Hayden)  is organising to rob a racetrack. He has arranged men on the inside and has everything timed down to the minute. But can everyone be trusted?

What I find fascinating about heist films is the way the director gets the audience on the side of the criminals. These are the guys who are prepared to kill just for money. Rarely is the money to be used for some noble cause – it’s just to make the criminals rich. Still, every step of the way, I was barracking for Clay to get through. Being a Kubrick film, things don’t happen the way you’d expect, and whilst I love a good Ocean’s Eleven or The Thomas Crown Affair, it’s nice to see things messed up a bit.