Magazine / Film / Brighton

Dr. Strangelove:

Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb!

Written by Toby King / 14 Jul 2010
Dr. Strangelove:

 

 
 
Without a doubt one of the finest and most perfect movies ever made Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb is getting a special screening at The Duke of York’s in Brighton to mark 30 years since the death of it’s star and comedy genius, Peter Sellers. Not only will Dr. Strangelove be screened but there will also be a panel of special guests to discus Sellers’ work. The panel will include Burt Kwouk (‘Cato’ from the Pink Panther movies), Sarah Sellers (Peter Sellers’ daughter) and Barry Cryer (comedy writer).

 

 

 
Dr. Strangelove is a benchmark in the careers of both director Stanley Kubrick and actor/comedian Peter Sellers. A satire on the cold war paranoia of the 1960s and told in real time, the film depicts a scenario where crazed US General Jack Ripper orders the launch of nuclear weapons on Russia. The film follows three main characters (each played by Sellers) Mandrake, the British air force officer in lockdown and with Ripper trying to persuade him to call off the launch, the US President who tries haplessly to resolve the nightmare scenario with his Generals and the Russian Premier (on the phone) in the ‘War Room’ and finally Dr. Strangelove himself, a sinister ex Nazi who is now adviser to the President. The story also unfolds in the B-52 bomber that is carrying the bomb itself, with a standout performance from real life cowboy Slim Pickens as Major ‘King’ Kong the ill-fated aircrafts pilot.
Kubrick originally intended the film to be a serious thriller and comment on the cold war, but when writing the script he kept finding too many humorous aspects to the whole situation (such as what if the generals and politicians in the ‘War Room’ get hungry during talks, or if an officer heard of a nuclear strike while he is in the bathroom!) and he decided that the only way to effectively comment on such a pressing issue is through a comic and satirical frame. This genius idea paid off as Dr, Strangelove remains a hilarious, farcical and slapstick comedy, yet through this comedy the comment of nuclear threat and the portrayal of the attitudes of the governments involved makes the comedy crossover and reveal the true potential horror of what could happen.
Dr. Strangelove is the perfect example of how a film can be told through both comedy and tragedy and how both are integral to each other for truly successful and immersive storytelling. The consistency of the high standard of comedy writing and performance will no doubt continue to leave audiences in hysterics for another 50 years, and the film’s imagery such as the iconic shot to Major Kong riding the bomb like a bull at a rodeo will surly continue to invoke strong feelings about the west’s continuing attitude towards warfare. This duality of comedy and drama/tragedy shows Dr. Strangelove as one of the few near perfect movies ever made.
One of my many favourite moments from the movie….
             
Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb
Saturday 24th July 6:00pm
Sunday 25th July 6:00pm (with special guests and discussion)
 
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