Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop worrying and Love the Bomb

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Nobody likes Commies. Or rather, nobody did until they found out the meaning of a communist government and ideas of Marxism. The movie I watched is a Stanley Kubrick cult classic: Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. The movie, adapted from the novel Red Alert, is a satire that romanticizes the “red scare” of communists during the cold war between the Soviet Union and America.

The humor is what makes the film unique; it has a dark and somewhat eerie wit that pokes at big issues, politicians and war in general. Nuclear war and the idea of “doomsday” are thrown around and toyed with until ultimately the movie ends with mass amounts of hydrogen bombs going off annihilating both sides mutually. In the film we find comedy in the ignorance and pure negligence of the idiot generals running the military and deciding our fate when in reality most would find this situation no laughing matter. The message Kubrick is trying to get across is to not be quick to judge, especially in time of war.

I think Kubrick was also trying to make a point about war itself and what it leads to- paranoia, insanity, confusion and death. The final impression is that war is not good and neither are bombs. The film definitely fell into the category of counterculture in the 60’s- it was anti war, anti red scare and completely anti normal for the time, which was standard of Kubrick who loved to make political and social statements with his films.

The other major theme of the movie, which can go unnoticed if one does not catch the innuendo, is one of sexuality. The movie kicks off with two B-52 planes “mating.” Combining military and sex was Kubrick's way of mocking America at the time. Many of the characters names are referencing body parts that might suggest the nature of their personality. The one woman seen on screen is first viewed in a bikini and second on a playboy spread naked all but a newspaper covering her a**. General Ripper talks about a loss of bodily fluids due to communist as he has obviously had sexual troubles. Later, we can see the same sort of trouble, as the B-52 bound for a Russian weapons base has difficulty opening its doors and “hitting its target.”

Another contrast I found was in the fate of the characters and their settings. General Ripper made his final stand in his tidy office with a machine gun while the suits in Washington made decisions about life after the bombing in a triangular room strangely resembling a bomb shelter. We are left with the feeling that these men will survive and the soldiers will not and somehow its funny when you watch it.

Most everything in the movie is romanticized and satirized to a perfect degree. The film was funny, smart, well acted and attention holding. It allows us to see the silliness of an anti-communist movement in America. Whether it’s a thriller about a crazy man and his delusions of killing his family in a mountainous lodge or a political satire about our country, Kubrick's brilliant cinematography and bizarre way of telling stories through film ring true to the public and make him a great director.





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