Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden
More of a strange liking than loving
My immediate reaction to Dr. Strangelove once it finished was one of dislike. I thought it was talky, boring, plotless and overrated. However, since I’ve had time to let it sink in I’ve begun to like it a lot more on reflection. It’s undeniably very well-made and beautifully shot, yet it still gives no inclination to Stanley Kubrick’s colossal genius of scale and intelligence which he would later produce in 2001.
To be honest I never fancied Dr. Strangelove. Watching a political comedy is my idea of hell, however I thought I’d finally give it a try as I’m venturing through every Stanley Kubrick film. It’s not a laugh out loud kind of comedy; it’s more of a lightly amusing one, although I must admit that some parts had me chuckling. I especially enjoyed the part where the president talks to a drunken Dimitri. Other bits of comedy fell flat for me, such as the Nazi stuff, although I do understand that comedy is very subjective so it’s just a matter of what you find funny. My favourite comedy film is Mrs. Doubtfire, so judge me however you like.
I found the story surprisingly straightforward. It’s basically set in three locations: The planes about to bomb Russia, the office of the mad general and the war room. The film is essentially just about trying to stop bombs landing on Russia in order to prevent a nuclear Holocaust. However, because it’s such a bold idea it remains quite involving. The running time is also very tight so it prevents it from getting too boring.
Strangelove is a film which I strangely liked, more than loved. I think that repeat viewings will help to uncover its hidden intelligence. However, for me it’s a step backward from Stanley’s previous three films (Lolita, Paths of Glory and The Killing) which I enjoyed more. I must say that Peter Sellers was fantastic in this though and it is definitely well worth a watch. Who would’ve thought that just four years post-Strangelove, Stanley would release such a masterpiece?