Dr. Strangelove - The Reel Collection [DVD]
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Stanley Kubrick's Oscar-nominated black comedy starring Peter Sellers and Sterling Hayden. When lunatic General Jack D. Ripper (Hayden) launches a nuclear attack on Russia, President Merkin Muffley of the United States (Sellers) consults his advisors, among them the wheelchair-bound, ex-Nazi scientist Dr Strangelove (also Sellers). Meanwhile, British officer Captain Mandrake (Sellers again) attempts to cancel the unplanned attack. George C. Scott, Keenan Wynn, James Earl Jones and Slim Pickens all co-star.
Arguably the greatest black comedy ever made, Stanley Kubrick's cold war classic is the ultimate satire of the nuclear age. Dr Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, to give it its full title, is a perfect spoof of political and military insanity, beginning when General Jack D Ripper (Sterling Hayden), a maniacal warrior obsessed with "the purity of precious bodily fluids", mounts his singular campaign against Communism by ordering a squadron of B-52 bombers to attack the Soviet Union. The Soviets counter the threat with a so-called "Doomsday Device," and the world hangs in the balance while the US president (Peter Sellers) engages in hilarious hot-line negotiations with his Soviet counterpart. Sellers also plays a British military attaché and the mad scientist Dr Strangelove; George C Scott is outrageously frantic as General Buck Turgidson, whose presidential advice consists mainly of panic and statistics about "acceptable losses". With dialogue ("You can't fight here! This is the war room!") and images (Slim Pickens's character riding the bomb to oblivion) that have become a part of our cultural vocabulary, Kubrick's film regularly appears on critics' lists of the all-time best. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
end of world,but youll still be rootin for them to get through,kubrick,s humour shines thru.GREAT!Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
excellent period piece and many observations of humans and war still so valid- Peter Sellers outstanding,music 'so just right' and script right on the ball- but for all that not... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Not just nostalgia but the message this film conveys make it a masterpiece. Just as relevant now as when it was made - if not more so!!!Published 2 months ago by T. Hallas
Brilliant satire of the Cold War. This is director Stanley Kubrick at his best.Peter Sellers' performances(he plays three roles) steals the show.. Especially in the part of Dr. Read morePublished 3 months ago by H. Alles