Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (1964)

on January 30, 1964 by BOXOFFICE Staff
The destruction of mankind by the H-Bomb and a so-called "Doomsday Machine" scarcely seems a likely subject for comedy yet producer-director Stanley Kubrick has fashioned a fantastically satirical picture with many chuckles and a goodly amount of suspense from his zany picturization of Peter George's book, "Red Alert." Once again, Peter Sellers demonstrates his versatility and fine comedy sense with three widely varied portrayals, a mild-mannered British liaison officer, the calm, serious President of the U.S. and the heavily accented crippled German scientist, who gives the film its title (certainly the longest ever). Sellers' name, plus the title and rave magazine reviews, will attract the mature class patrons, especially in the key cities, but the picture's weird theme and the sex angle, briefly introduced by the bikini-clad Tracy Reed as an Air Force general's amorous secretary, must be heavily exploited. It may be too off-beat and filled with technical and nuclear terms for many average moviegoers. George C. Scott, as a grimacing Pentagon general, and Sterling Hayden, as the grimly realistic Gen. Jack D. Ripper, contribute fine portrayals.

Sterling Hayden, a Strategic Air Command general, on his own initiative, sends bomb-carrying planes to attack Russia and, after sealing in the air base, no one is able to countermand his orders. Even the President (Peter Sellers) is unable to take decisive action and he calls a meeting in the Pentagon with other generals and even the Russian envoy (Peter Bull) participating. The latter threatens that if the U.S. planes bomb Russia, that country will release its secret weapon, a "Doomsday Machine," which will annihilate all the earth's inhabitants. Finally, an eccentric scientist, Dr. Strangelove (also Peter Sellers), is brought in and proves to be a former Nazi who invented these death-dealing devices. After Hayden, worried about fluoridation of water, commits suicide, several other fantastic events take place -- with no logical ending for the picture.

The top selling angles are Peter Sellers, who plays three vividly-contrasted roles, and the attention-getting title. Use photos of Sellers in each of his three characterizations (this first made a star of Alec Guiness in his seven roles in "Kind Hearts and Coronets").

The wild hot-line suspense comedy... Why did Dr. Strangelove want ten women for each man? And why did General Jack D. Ripper unleash his H-Bombers to attack Russia? Columbia. 93 min. Starring Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenen Wynn and Slim Pickens

Tags: war, satire, parody, spoof, government, military, political, atom bomb, nuclear, apocalypse, Stanley Kubrick, Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, adaptation, Slim Pickens, Keenen Wynn

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