47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"
Dr. Strangelove, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is one of the most biting and hard-hitting commentaries about the U.S.-Soviet arms race, overdependence on technology, the can-do philosophy of the Air Force, and the sheer lunacy of MAD, the apt acronym for the term Mutual Assured Destruction -- which was the Cold War diplo-speak that meant "you nuke...
Published on 4 May 2004 by Alex Diaz-Granados
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dr Strangelove is a Sellers Love Fest!
A Peter Sellers' tour-de-force! Just about brilliant. Great b/w transfer. The 'extras' are a bit of a letdown, however.
Published on 24 May 2010 by J S Lasher
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You can't fight in here! This is the War Room!",
This review is from: Dr. Strangelove  [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Dr. Strangelove, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is one of the most biting and hard-hitting commentaries about the U.S.-Soviet arms race, overdependence on technology, the can-do philosophy of the Air Force, and the sheer lunacy of MAD, the apt acronym for the term Mutual Assured Destruction -- which was the Cold War diplo-speak that meant "you nuke our country, we'll nuke yours."
Normally one wouldn't think the possibility of nuclear annihilation would be the wellspring for a comedy, just as most people today wouldn't think the Holocaust is fodder for satire. Yet when Stanley Kubrick set out to do a straightforward dramatic film based on novelist Peter George's "Red Alert," a novel about an "accidental" nuclear attack on the Soviet Union by the United States, the more research and contemplation the director and co-screenwriter did on the subject of nuclear deterrence and all the nitty gritty of nuclear warfare, the more insane the whole theme seemed. So Kubrick -- no doubt aware that a similarly themed film (Fail-Safe) was underway -- gave in to his impulses and switched gears from drama to "dark" comedy.
Kubrick sets the tone right from the main title sequence. As the credits (and you have to see these yourself) roll, we see footage of a B-52 Stratofortress being refueled by a KC-135A aerial tanker. In the background, the very romantic strains of "Try a Little Tenderness" gives this aerial ballet an almost grotesque ironic counterpoint. Love music? In a scene depicting a nuclear bomber being refueled as it heads toward its fail-safe point?
Things get going, though, when Royal Air Force liaison officer Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers) gets an unexpected phone call from Burpleson AFB's B-52 wing commander, Gen. Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden), ordering him to impound all privately owned radios and to order the B-52s already on deterrence patrol to leave their fail-safe points and to implement Wing Attack Plan R. Befuddled but obedient, Mandrake complies, setting off Gen. Ripper's plan to launch an unauthorized attack against the Soviet Union.
Dr. Strangelove follows three story threads, each getting loopier as the world hurtles closer and closer to annihilation:
First, there is hapless Group Capt. Mandrake's reaction to his discovery of Ripper's real plot and the loony logic of the general's motives. The Soviet Union hasn't started a war, Ripper says, but has been messing around with Americans' natural fluids since 1946 -- the same year fluoridation began to be implemented in earnest.
Second, there is President Merkin Muffley's (Peter Sellers again) stunned reaction when he is summoned to the Pentagon's War Room along with the Soviet ambassador, where his increasingly pathetic attempts to defuse the crisis run into various stumbling blocks, including the hawkish demeanor of Air Force General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott), the dissembling of the ambassador (Peter Bul), the vagaries of long distance telephone service, the bizarre machinations of one of his senior advisors, Dr. Strangelove (Peter Sellers yet again), and the inebriated state of the Soviet Premier.
Third, there is the sheer pluck of Air Force Maj. T.J. Kong( Slim Pickens), who, upon getting the orders to implement Wing Attack Plan R, doffs his flight helmet and puts on a cowboy hat, peppering his orders and pep talk with slangy cowboy terms. He, too, is a bit loony, yet he and his crew (which includes James Earl Jones in his first film appearance) overcome every obstacle thrown at them on their way to their target.
Kubrick peppers his film with sight gags (nuclear bombs with Dear John and Hi There! stenciled on their warheads, a buffet counter in the war room) and punny names (Keenan Wynn's paratrooper character, one who fears retribution from the Coca-Cola company more than the prospect of an unstopped nuclear war, is named Bat Guano), and his use of music in an ironic counterpoint to the visuals ("Try a Little Tenderness" in the aforementioned title sequence, a hummed rendition of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" over Major Kong's toe-to-toe with the Rooskies speech, and Vera Lynn's famous rendition of "We'll Meet Again" as the crisis comes to a stark close) puts an end to the misconception of the director as being cold and unfunny.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the War Room!",
This and numerous other satirical tongue-in-cheek quotes will be found throught this fine film. It is as funny as it is frightening and outlines a world where the threat of 'the bomb' is right on everyone's doorstep. In it you'll be pleased to find an all-star cast including Peter Sellers, (who does a fantastic job playing 3 characters all by himself) George C. Scott, and a young James Earl Jones. That's right, folks...the Bell Atlantic Man himself in charge of a nuclear payload aboard his very own B-17. Sellers plays the President, Group Captain Lyonel Mandrake, and the mysterious and chilling Dr. Strangelove. If you know anything about the Cold War era, give this one a try...you'll love it!
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peace is our profession,
For those that have not seen the movie, which is highly unlikely, this is an improbable situation where a base commander is in the position to order an attack on Russia. Originally supposed to be a serious movie based on the book "Red Alert" by Peter Bryant (really Peter George). Now converted into a black comedy with many great stars including Peter Sellers as there of the characters. (It would have been four characters if he has not broken a leg).
This DVD (special edition) is worth purchasing even if you have earlier versions. Many DVD's contain what they call extras (I call them Goodies). In a lot of cases they are just rehashed versions of the movie or just rattling. In this case the extra "Inside the Making of DR.STRAINGLOVE" rivals the movie itself for entertainment and useful content. You find out how the movie evolved from a serious piece to a serious black comedy. You find that the movie is an aggregate of many talented people. It would take too log to describe the details that motivated the movie so you will just have to purchase this edition.
There is also a trailer for "Fail Safe" a rival movie...
One part I found interesting was when the Air crew was examining their survival kit. Slim Pickens says a person can have a good time in Dallas with the kit. This is over dubbed by Las Vegas as a result of JFK just being shot in Dallas.
57 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We all know the film's great, but what about the blu-ray?,
This review is from: Dr Strangelove [Blu-ray]  [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
You'll have to read the product description for all the extras and subtitled languages - what interests me is the film itself.
To say the film is perfect would be stretching the truth a little. The trouble (as viewers of the various DVD editions will know) is that Dr Strangelove was not filmed in a consistent aspect ratio, so every subsequent editor has to decide how to combine the full frame shots (1.33:1) with the matte in camera shots (1.66:1). To me it seems obvious that the open matte scenes were meant to be cropped to match the rest, but obvious is not a term usually associated with Kubrick. Nevertheless the makers of the blu-ray have done just this, presenting the entire film in 1.66:1. This results in thin vertical black lines either side of the picture when viewed on a 16:9 television, or an equal-sized border when viewed on a 1920x1200 monitor.
In my opinion this is a better solution than the mixed format of all the DVD releases. Besides which, this is how the film was originally seen in cinemas - at least in Europe; in the US it was apparently projected in 1.85:1. However, various sources (mostly tied with the mixed-aspect ratio LaserDisc and DVD releases) assert that Kubrick actually intended the film be projected in mixed format.
Then there is the matter of picture quality. Kubrick sometimes seemed to go out of his way to find grainy film stock, but in this case it was probably justified as the entire film is shot at night (even on the bomber flying over Russia). What this means, however, is that the blu-ray is not the dramatic improvement over DVD that is seen in other films. But I think this is as good as it gets. The detail, brightness and contrast are superb and there are no scratches or other defects that I can see, and I don't think the film grain - even in the external airbase shots where it is excessive - should be edited out.
All in all I suppose that DVD owners who prefer the mixed 1.33:1 and 1.66:1 aspect ratio format will probably not bother buying this blu-ray, and the same issue might persuade some new buyers to choose the DVD, but for everyone else the blu-ray is easily the disc of choice.
Finally, although I said I wouldn't mention the extras I am mildly disappointed that the excellent original film trailer is not included. I don't think this is on any of the DVD releases either and I recommend looking it up on YouTube.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relevant as ever, sharp enough to cut your throat...,
You might think that this powerful, indeed blood-chilling satirical vision of the insanity of nuclear brinkmanship would be redundant in the post-cold war era. On the contrary, the world of Bush and Rumsfeld fits very comfortably in the fabric of Kubrik's realpolitik. Bush might lack President Muffley's diffidence in the face of doomsday scenario's, but perhaps the gung-ho Texan bomber pilot Major Kong was cast with a foresight none of us could have predicted, 40 years ahead of his time!
This is a masterpiece, played without a false note by a truly memorable cast of characters portrayed straight(ish) by one of the finest acting ensembles I can recall seeing in any movie. Sellers is great, of course, but so are George C Scott, Keenan Wynn, Slim Pickens, and (my own personal favourite) Sterling Hayden as Gen Ripper, among other gems.
The fact that substantial portions of screenplay are improvised and changes to the plot (including Slim Pickens's bareback ride on the WMD targeted on a Russian ICBM base) continued right up to the last minute is remarkable since the whole film is executed with frightening precision. Every speech and considered analysis of the realities of MAD strategy like a fresh move on the chessboard planned five moves in advance, yet the very random and unpredictable behaviour of the human being (in this case Gen Jack D Ripper) and machine throw the whole system into total chaos... and that is as true today as it has ever been!
As for the Sellers factor, this is probably not his greatest performance(s) - that privelege must surely go to Being There - but he carries off three enthralling characters with a totally instinctive and bravura acting that you could not doubt for a moment his genius.
But the star of the show must surely be Stanley Kubrick for keeping on the rails what might in lesser hands have gone completely over the top. Whatever madness appears on screen, Kubrik ensures it is never less that believable. And with that power, the film is a not a political comedy but a political weapon.
One last thought: Kubrik packs into 90 minutes what many directors would have bloated out into 3 hours. Would that every film could be so razor sharp that not so much as one word is out of place! Rest in peace, Stanley.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Kubrick in High Def!,
This review is from: Dr Strangelove [Blu-ray]  [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
A classic black comedy from Stanley Kubrick in high definition. Great film, as you probably know already. The transfer has some grain, which is normal for this film was shot in black and white in 1963. Some may complain that the original multi aspect ratio previously available was not used. I am not complaining, as I think the 16X9 look doesn't lose much info, and it looks and sounds great.
I might add that I live in the States, but got this version as the U.S. version is housed in that damn Digi-book thing that Warner has been using a lot for classic films. Some may like it, but, not me. They get dusty, banged up, and the book has pretty useless info that any fan that's buying this film probably knows already. It's mostly pictures. Notice that after a time, Warner is reissuing most of these in a non Digi-book version. I bought North by Northwest from the U.K. for the same reason.
49 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kubrick at his best,
Simply put, the film Dr Strangelove is a black comedy take on the end of the world through nuclear holocaust and it succeeds utterly. Its a hilarious film which manages to address important issues while still making you laugh your eyeballs out.Although there is a slow set up the film almost reaches climax about half way through and you are dragged into the hilarity of an all too human holocaust finale. The film is almost too funny and at times you find yourself laughing at the crazy fools behind the button when you should be shivering thinking 'there but for the grace of god go I..'.
A young Stanly Kubrick here practically tricks George C Scott into one of the best performances of his life, with a lovably over the top, school boy styled General/advisor. Peter Sellers is likewise made fantastic use of, here delivering not one good performance but three - The President of the US of A, a British flight commander in a doomed air force base and in the films titular role as the 'mad scientist', beautifully over the top Dr Strangelove himself. You can also catch Slim Pickens here in his film debut.
The DVD is a good one for extras as well. A good lengthed making of featurette and an Art of Stanly Kubrick featurette both go into great detail about the creative processes of the various departments on the film, from designing and creating the fictional 'war room' to the internal cockpit of a B52.Also included is an odd interview with Peter Sellers and George C Scott in character!
Many a military advisor would do well to watch this film and be reminded of the stupidity of war, never mind the mind blowing insanity of nuclear war. Although having said that, after Ronald Reagan was sworn in he was disappointed to hear that he couldn't be taken to the War Room because it doesn't actually exist.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The second funniest movie of all time ?,
There aren’t many comedy films that stand up to repeat viewing and even less that get better the more you see them. “Some Like It Hot” (justifiably voted the funniest film of all time) is one and “Dr Strangelove” comes in a close second. The acting is superb, with Peter Sellers’ three character “tour de force” & George C. Scott’s performances ranking up there with the very best of comedy outings, the cinematography is brilliant, generating real tension through clever cutting and the use of hand-held sequences, and the essentially horrific storyline is tight, believable & wholly effective. The verbal and visual gags flow thick & fast and the last scene’s inspired marriage of Vera Lynn’s nostalgic wartime anthem “We’ll Meet Again” with repeated nuclear explosions perfectly reflects what has gone before: satirical black comedy at its very best. And… to cap it all, the theatre trailer on this DVD version is a small, perfectly formed cinematic gem in itself.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The famous custard pie scene,
I cannot add anything that hasn't already been said by other reviewers. This remains one of the funniest films ever made. Just a couple of things not many people know. Stanley actually wanted Peter Sellers to do 4 parts. In addition to Captain Mandrake, The President and Dr. Strangelove, Sellers was also expected to do the Slim Pickens part of the pilot who drops the bomb. Peter persuaded Stanley that he wasn't up to doing 4 parts and not long after the film was made, Peter Sellers had one of his many heart attacks. Stanley also had a different ending for the film: A major custard pie scene in the war room. You might notice during some of the scenes in the war room that there was a table set with food, (never actually used). But it was there for a reason and that was to set the scene for the famous custard pie scene at the end. For some reason known only to Stanley Kubrick the scene was never shown. However it was shot and must remain hidden in the vaults of some American movie company. How wonderful for all movie scholars if we can ever see this scene.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Peter Sellers.,
This review is from: Dr Strangelove [DVD] (DVD)
It may be Old and in Black & White, BUT It had me in stitches.
Yes it a vary Deep Black Comedy of War-eager Mad Military men,
who plan for a nuclear apocolypse.
It is both funny and frightening and seems as relevent today as ever.
Peter Sellers has multi parts in this simply brilliant classic.
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Dr Strangelove [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] by Stanley Kubrick (DVD - 2004)
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