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Is "Doctor Strangelove" The Best Film Satire Ever Made?

 
 
dlowan
 
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 01:51 pm
Ok, ok - so this is mainly an excuse to babble about Dr Strangelove - but, do you think it is?

If not, which film do you think is? Why?

And - what do you love most about Dr Strangelove?


I have to say, that scene of Slim Pickens (was it?) riding the bomb down (which I understand was added at the end) is pretty good.

Should they have kept the food fight ending? (Noooooooooooooooo! But -that is just my opinion!)
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 5,882 • Replies: 63
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 02:05 pm
I didn't think it was that good of a film at all and am puzzled by its popularity.

Even "The Russians are Coming" was better.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 02:07 pm
I will not hazard to guess if it is best. It is one of my top favorites, though. I keep a copy of it around to view every few years. How does one choose a favorite scene from so many great ones - Peter Sellers in multiple rolls, George C Scott as the dumb ass general, the general who starts it all rolling, Slim Pickens. Now you've made me want to watch it again.
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 02:10 pm
precious bodily fluids
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 02:16 pm
Precious bodily fluids was great!
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 02:41 pm
Craven - one of the reasons I love Dr Strangelove is the amazing way it captured the bizarre and paranoid tenor of the times. I guess the Reagan era was a dim echo of the fifties and early sixties in terms of the cold war, but only a dim one. It was sane in comparison, with its evil empire and let's nuke 'em.

The only other film that captures it a bit (apart from "Atomic Cafe" and some of the old SF films that seem to thrive off the same paranoia) was "The Right Stuff", in its scenes of a devilish Kruschev in the flames, and its knights errant view of the early astronauts. (The book was great, I think.)
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 02:54 pm
It is a film that warrants complete attention, it's nuances not pounding one over the head with satire but firing at us obliquely. It examines the group mentality of politicians and military people and how some complete nutcases can get into the hierarchy. It's chillingly right on target and not just where the bomb is dropped. It deserves multiple viewings before one really is able to interpret the satire -- films like "The Manchurian Candidate" are in the same genre although that film hasn't the tongue-in-cheek humor of "Strangelove." It does depend on if one saw it during the arms race and nuclear scare tactics governments were using at the time (including our own). It's becoming relavant again today with the North Koreans, but obviously not with the Iraqis.

A way to approach this films is not as the usual Hollywood entertainment but as thought provoking and masterful satire. It asks as nearly all Kubrick films ask -- that one consider thinking as entertainment.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 03:01 pm
One thing I hate - which really dates it- is the way the wome(a?)n are/is portrayed - but that, again, can be seen as an artifact not only of the times, but of the mind-set of the protagonists.

I think Seller's portrayal of the US President is wonderful! That first phone call to "Yuri" is a joy...

So - what if they had stuck to the food fight ending?

I think it would have cheapened the film no end. The Slim Pickens and Vera Lynn's voice over the explosions ending is perfect, I think.

I wonder how the Pentagon and Werner Von Braun felt about the Strangelove character?
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 03:37 pm
In the techno-military mindset of the time, women were placed in that position. Is it really that much different now as far as the military goes?
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 03:46 pm
It was Sterling Hayden as General Jack Ripper--i personally felt that Sellers turns in his best, most convincing role as Wing Commander Marmaduke. I also felt that part of the reason that Hayden as Ripper, Pickens as the plane commander, and Sellers as Marmaduke worked so well is because each character takes himself to so completely seriously. When Pickens gets the go order, he seems somewhat perplexed, then shrugs mentally and gets on the intercom: "Well, Boys, looks like this is it--toe to toe nucular combat with the Ruskies." Throughout his portrayal, he seems very much like a pilot who is dedicated to to doing properly the job for which he has trained. Sellers as Marmaduke, nervously attempting and failing in his "hail fellow well met" approach to Ripper; the nervous chuckles as he contemplates the prospect of Armaggedon, and attempts to get the recall code. I thought Sterling Hayden protrayed Ripper very well--the military is full of such fatalistic types, and the step over the line into madness is a short one. The precious bodily fluids scene was hilarious, and i thought Hayden managed to deliver it without making his character unbelievable.

It was after an act of love . . . i felt strangely . . . depleted . . .
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 04:55 pm
I know next to nothing about the military these days, LW - so I cannot speculate!

Oh - and I meant the call to Dmitri, not Yuri!

Toe to toe with the Russkis indeed, Setanta.

I have little memory of Marmaduke - can you remind me?

Hmmm - I am now mentally comparing Strangelove to the filmed version of "Carch 22"...hmmmmmm.....
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 05:09 pm
It's really subjective because there's no way of knowing how the average military man treats their wives or fellow female colleagues. I think Kubrick had a good idea how the male charactes would relate to woman and in a satirical sense, the misogeny seems to work in the context of the film. "Lolita" was even more pointedly satirical comedy than the actual book. Kubrick actually threw out almost the entire script abokov wrote as cinematically unfilmable and wrote most of the new screenplay himself even though Nabokov is still credited.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 05:12 pm
Tracy Reed as Miss Foreign Affairs was the only real female character in the film -- I though she was very funny. She is Sir Carol Reed's ("The Third Man" and "Oliver!") stepdaughter.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 05:16 pm
The writing credits on "Dr. Strangelove:"


Peter George (III) (novel Red Alert, aka Two Hours to Doom)
Stanley Kubrick. Terry Southern and Peter George (III)
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 05:18 pm
Would be interesting to read the book.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 05:37 pm
To me, Catch 22, the film, does not hold up that much. I always felt they shortchanged some of the characters. Also, the scene in which Yossarian sits in the meeting looking at the woman and starts groaning did not play well. I can watch it with enjoyment, but also with reservation.
Dr Strangelove and M*A*S*H* are the films of this kind I love the most.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 05:42 pm
MASH was good - also very misogynistic, though.

I thought Catch 22 did pretty well - it would have been a hard book to adapt well.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 05:56 pm
I was particularly miffed that Major Major Major Major Major Major became a shadowy figure we were never really made acquainted with.
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 08:59 pm
I don't know if Strangelove is the best satire ever made, but for my money it's the best film Kubrick ever made. (If you're guessing I'm not a huge Kubrick fan it's because, in my opinion, every single Kubrick 'drama' has such serious flaws that no director of his undoubted genius should have been guilty of. But that's another subject altogether.) Strangelove is absolutely brilliant.

I agree with edgarblythe on Catch 22. Maybe it was an effort beyond anyone's abilities. I don't think you can really bring the Heller novel to life with any kind of fidelity any more than you can make a movie of Joyce's Ulysses and still do justice to what James Joyce wrote. Another personal opinion. I did not much care for the movie version of Catch 22.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 09:05 pm
Hmmm - I so loved that book when I was a weelowan that I was ready to love the film - and, it came out way after I had read the book. 'Tis hard to make films from complex books mainly about character's thoughts.

I taught the book to a bunch of Vietnam vets once - oy veh!
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