When you consider the history of motion pictures, certain watershed films leap to mind -- productions which have left their mark on the craft. Without a doubt, one of those is Stanley Kubrik's 1964 masterpiece, Dr. Strangelove (or, as it's subtitled, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb). As political satire, few movies -- even those as incisive as the hilariously vicious 1992 release Bob Roberts -- come close to this level of accomplishment. In the case of Dr. Strangelove, the barbs and quips (both subtle and obvious) hold up as well today as they did thirty years ago.
When director Stanley Kubrick decided to adapt Peter George's thriller Red Alert for the screen, he recruited the author to help with the script. Instead of retaining the straight tone of the book, Kubrick wanted to try for a black comedy, and with the complicity of George and co-writer Terry Southern, Dr. Strangelove was born.
Originally, Kubrick envisioned Peter Sellers playing four unique roles. However, after filming three of them (President Merkin Muffley, RAF Group Captain Mandrake, and ex-Nazi scientist Dr. Strangelove), the actor broke his leg and was unable to complete the quartet. In his place, Slim Pickens was signed to portray Major "King" Kong. Other cast members include George C. Scott as General Buck Turgidson, Sterling Hayden as General Jack D. Ripper, and James Earl Jones (in his first film role) as Lieutenant Lothar Zogg.
The film opens with a deranged General Ripper declaring a "Code Red", sealing off his airforce base, and ordering a nuclear attack on Russia. When his assistant, RAF Group Captain Mandrake, advises moderation, Ripper replies that he intends to launch a pre-emptive strike to stop a Communist infiltration which is "sapping and impurifying all of our precious bodily fluids."
In: Other Entertainment
Tags: Stanley Kubrick, The making of, Dr Strangelove, george c scott, peter sellers, 1964, slim, pickens
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