DR. STRANGELOVE

Scheduled for release by Columbia Pictures in early fall, Dr. Strangelove is being shot in England, it was explained, to accommodate Peter Sellers, who was unable to leave the country for domestic reasons. In addition to the President, the protean Sellers also plays the title role of a German scientist, a Texas pilot of an H-bomber headed inexorably for Russia, and an R.A.F. exchange officer. What roles are left are handled by Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, Peter Bull, James Earl Jones, and Tracy Reed, Sir Carol Reed’s daughter, who, as the sole girl in the cast, is making her screen debut as a Pentagon secretary.

Background air sequences were shot over the Arctic. The sole other nonstudio location, Kubrick stated, was at International Business Machines in London, where Computer 7090 – the same data processor that calculated where Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. would descend into the ocean after his earth orbit – figured in sequences with Sellers.

The tea break over, the unit lined up for their felt slippers and padded back into the War Room. As cameras began to turn, 30 phones around the table were picked up simultaneously. The President was on the “hot line” to the Soviet Premier in the Kremlin (a full week, incidentally, before that headline-making announcement from Geneva). He spoke in the tones of a progressive nursery school teacher.

“Hello!… Hello, Dimitri…. Yes, this is Merkin. How are you?… Oh fine. Just fine. Look, Dimitri, you know how we’re always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with the Bomb?… The Bomb? The HYDROGEN BOMB!… That’s right. Well, I’ll tell you what happened. One of our base commanders…”

The New York Times, April 21, 1963

kubrick-1964

There’s a distinct possibility I saw this movie screened much too young, as I did “The Graduate” (now, that’s a premiere I remember well, because I was the only six year old in a theater lobby filled with tuxedos and evening gowns and huge sparkling chandeliers) but back to Strangelove, it’s still one of my favorite movies.

A link to the New York Times movie review, January 31st, 1964

http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=EE05E7DF173DE367BC4950DFB766838F679EDE

10 Comments »

  1. Bought this recently and still have not watched it.I remember being both amused by its dark humour and thinking that it was also a message for the times when I first saw it.

    Its an interesting movie to think of in the context of the Cold War which thankfully never turned nuclear hot.It has a lot of meaning in terms of the times in which it was spawned.On The Beach would be another example.

    Another movie for the times although it did not have as its theme Nuclear War,but Germ Warfare was The Satan Bug.

    I met Peter Sellers many years ago when I was much younger ,as he was a friend of one of my Uncles.All I remember was shaking his hand and he rather disarmingly saying-Hello I Am Peter.

    • I introduced this film to the young one not long ago, and then we went to see the Kubrick exhibit at the museum – it was, to use an over used term, *amazing!* (And, the movie is just as sharp and meaningful and funny as it was when it was made.)

  2. Wow! Wonderful taste. Dr Strangelove, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb remains one of my favourite Kubricks, if not my favourite of all. As a teenager I had an embarrassing impression of Sellers-as-Strangelove to go with my Sellers-as-Clouseau!
    I like the weird distant atmosphere of the direction which contrasts with the tragic-absurdist satire and the crazy dark-farce. And, oh! That black and white cinematography! Luscious.
    I wonder if it was Kubrick who really wanted to shoot in the UK, I think it was, as he never ventured to shoot in the U.S. again.
    Remember: “No fighting in the War Room” and we must keep an eye on our “precious bodily fluids” 🙂

    • I think the first movie I saw was Hatari and the only reason I remember it at all was because I watched the entire thing from my father’s lap and sometime during the run time I had kicked off my shoes and after the lights came up my six foot tall father got down on the floor and hauled my tiny shoes from under the seats… several rows down… I must have been very antsy and kicking, hence the lap 😉

  3. Aw, doll, your recollections are so charming and, sometimes, funny. They glow with warmth and light. You’re fantastic, Vickie! 🙂 And your Dad was, as they say, cool!

  4. you went to the Premiere of The Graduate?!

    joyousness.

    *sighs*

    we always used to sip tea at the table in the writers’ bar at the L’Ermitage that was Right In Front of the Original Script of The Graduate.

    • I wonder if the original script now sits at the Academy Library?
      It did feel rather posh wearing a taffeta dress and being surrounded by grownups.
      Didn’t really have a clue about the nuances of the film and thought it was a roaring comedy with a fine unambiguous ending…

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