Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
(PG) 96 mins

I donít think Iíve ever seen a film so simultaneously hilarious and unsettling. First, Iíll cover the unsettling part. A war general (General Jack D. Ripper) goes nuts and sends his planes (50 or so) a message that the Russians surprised the US and tells them to carry out attack orders. Their mission: to drop 2 nuclear bombs deep inside the Soviet Union. The Soviets will obviously retaliate, and World War III will begin. There is a recall code that the general can send out, but only the general himself knows the code, so any hope of retrieving the code is pretty small. Not exactly very reassuring. It helps a little bit that the cold war is now over, but something like that isnít completely out of the question.

Now for the funny part of the film: Peter Sellers. He gets a large majority of the humor, and knowing Peter Sellers, I find nothing wrong with that at all. He plays group captain Lionel Mandrake, President Merkin Muffley (ďGentlemen, you canít fight in here, this is the war room!Ē), and Dr. Strangelove himself. But whatís great about the film is that itís hilarious without Sellers. George C. Scottís defense secretary describing how well his pilots are trained, getting excited about their evasion tactics before realizing that if they succeed in their orders it means the end of the world. Sterling Haydenís general ripper describing the evil forces at work behind the fluoridation of water. And then of course, thereís the image of Slim Pickens riding the bomb down onto its target. Dr. Strangelove is not a film I will forget anytime soon.

+4


Oscar Nominations
Best Picture
Best Actor (Peter Sellers)
Best Director (Stanley Kubrick)
Best Adapted Screenplay