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The Next Reel • Season 13 • Series: 1965 BAFTAs Best Film From Any Source Nominees • 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

"Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the war room!"

Stanley Kubrick didn’t do comedy often which is a shame because “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” is arguably one of the funniest films ever made. What’s interesting is that Kubrick intended on making a serious film about one of his greatest fears at the time: the threat of nuclear war. But after several attempts at finding the right way to tell the story seriously (including one involving aliens watching us from above, discussing our penchant for destruction), he hit on the idea of making it funny. And his dark comedy classic was born.

Join us – Andy Nelson and Pete Wright – as we wrap up our brief vacation challenge with Andy’s choice of his favorite end-of-the-world comedy, Kubrick’s 1964 film “Dr. Strangelove.” We talk about how we were introduced to this film and why it may not be a film that one connects to immediately but a film that one has to find the humor over time. We discuss the actors – Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Slim Pickens, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, even James Earl Jones in his first screen role – and the level of comedy brilliance they all achieve individually and how it ties to the overall film. We single out Sellers, of course, as we discuss the three roles he played in the film and what makes them all so unique. We touch on the look of the film, shot by Gilbert Taylor with impeccable production design by Ken Adam, pointing out just what it took to make the war room one of the most iconic sets ever made. We mention the sequel that Kubrick wanted to make with the help of Terry Gilliam. And we argue about its placement on our Flickchart, as we inevitably do every week. 

It’s one of the best films out there and well worth a discussion. Haven’t seen it? Give it a try. Just be aware that you may not connect on the first viewing. This is one of those movies that may need a few shots. But it’ll be well worth it. We promise you.

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