5 October 2016 | rmax304823
It's been more than half a century since the release of "Dr. Strangelove" and yet references to it still crop up in vernacular culture from time to time. It's made that much of an impression, illustrating the tragedy and the comedy implicit in the concept of Mutual Assured Destruction. Each side is afraid to launch, knowing that the other side will also launch, and the insects will inherit the earth.
Yet, I wonder exactly how much of that initial impression has faded, and how very selective the lesson has become. We no longer have great big bombers circling at Fail-Safe points or myriad nuclear missiles pointed at one another, but we are building wall, shields, missiles, and seem to be readying ourselves for the next Cold War. Our attempts at suppressing nuclear proliferation in unstable areas are sometimes ridiculed as foolhardy. Is there something in us that ENJOYS the rush of danger? Is tranquility boring?
Enough of the lectern. This neatly produced documentary about the making of the film begins at the beginning, Kubrik's discovery of the novel that the movie is based on, and ends with a celebratory recounting of the film's merchandising, like the sale of cheap radioactive counters modeled on that used by Dr. Strangelove.
If you haven't looked into the production before, you'll find some new stuff, like a misspelling in the opening titles. If you already know something about it, you'll learn still more from the interviews with surviving participant, most of the principals, alas, having passed on.
"Dr. Strangelove" is a brilliant film, from the sexy opening shots of B-52s refueling in midair, to the closing exclamation from Peter Seller's sinister character.