Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Dr. Strangelove (1964), directed by Stanley Kubrick.

Endlessly quotable dark satire filled with images that have become cultural icons. Pretty damn funny still, ranging from the very dry to the slapstick. It was more forceful at the time before the gut-wrenching fear of imminent nuclear war had faded. It's amazing what Kubrick can fit into 94 minutes.

The fine cast includes Peter Sellers times three (great in each role -- I love the way Group Capt Mandrake's accent develops under stress), George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden and Slim Pickens, who would all be famous now for this movie alone.

This time the bomber interior seemed a technocratic blizzard of switches, dials, indicator lights and mysterious self-destructing controls. I recall this being very important in the 1960s, all wrapped up with the space race and early computers -- the notion that we were finally getting some control over nature and could build clever electronic gizmos for any purpose.

The missile attack on the bomber is very exciting and we have the disorienting impulse to cheer the crew and root for them as they struggle to complete their mission to start WW3.

In a famous inadvertent bit you can see the Russian ambassador (Peter Bull) cracking up while watching Strangelove struggle with his limbs.

Laurie Johnson score. Photographed by Gilbert Taylor.

Available on Blu-ray. This is the first time I have noticed that the centerfold in Maj Kong's "Playboy" has an issue of "Foreign Affairs" draped across her backside.

The Blu-ray has several history of the Cold War extras which I did not have time to watch. Hell, boy, I was there.