Movie Review: Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, I don’t know why we have the two titles, but why not? Not a huge fan of so called “Classic” comedies, but watched the tail end of this one with the Father-in-law, and enjoyed what I saw, so let’s look at the full one.

HUGE Scrawl to open. I mean even before the studio logos, just a HUGE scrawl.

Stock footage of mid-flight refueling. Hope you like black and white!
An American General Ripper calls his executive officer, a Captain Mandrake to go on Condition Red. He tells Mandrake, who is British, to execute plan “R”, and lock up all radios on the post.

Voiceover Guy tells us that B-52 Bombers are in the sky two hours from Russia with more destructive power than was used in all of WWII. Kind of doubt that.

We come to one plane, and look everyone, it’s Slim Pickins! He double and triple checks the code, and yup, it’s for Plan “R”. James Earl Jones pops up and asks if it might be a loyalty test. Slim tells him no. They head into to Russia.
Meanwhile, a Hot Woman answers the phone, and they want to talk to the General and it’s George C Scott! Considering this is 6 years before Patton, kind of jarring.
No one can get into the base to find out why they sent up Plan “R” and General Ripper has ordered anyone shot that comes into the base.

We get a fun sequence of Slim Pickins sending out orders on shutting the plane off from the outside world.
Back in the base, Mandrake has found out that General Ripper has issued Code “R” on his own, and has gone nuts.

The President is soon briefed by George C Scott on the situation. The President doesn’t understand how the bombing can go on without his say-so. Scott helpfully points out that Plan “R” was put in place in case the President was incapacitated, and the backup plans prevent them from recalling the Bombers.
So we have several things going on.

The bombing of Russia.
Attempts to get the Recall Code from General Ripper
General Ripper vs Mandrake.
The Idiocy of Washington.
The fun stuff in the bomber

So how is Dr Strangelove?

I’ve only seen one Peter Sellers movie, and I just miss how this guy was so impressive to a studio that he had to play 4 roles to get this movie done, but then again, I’m not a Pink Panther guy from the short clips I’ve seen.
But in this movie, Peter Sellers and George C Scott make the movie. Everyone plays straight man to someone overacting. Scott drops down a notch so that Dr Strangelove can have the stage, but is still just giving looks and quick comments to show he’s up for the comedy.
In this movie Sellers really does a great job, and the three characters he plays are different enough you might not catch its the same guy unless you know going in. George C Scott swipes the movie, especially if you are a Patton fan, and I am.
This is a black and white movie that moves, something is always happening, other than the General Ripper scenes, that is about the only time the movie slows, and only the performances make it not dull.

Dr Strangelove is one of the few “Classic Comedies” that lives up to it’s reputation, and I cannot recommend it enough. Full 10 here.

This marks the 8th Stanley Kubrick Movie I have watched, of his 13, and marks his fourth I would give at least an 8 to, plus his second easy 10.  One day I need to sit down and do them all.

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