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

After doing my laundry, I had the time to sit down and watch “Dr. Strangelove” before I went to work.  The one new thing I picked up on in watching it again was the Russian ambassador almost breaking into laughter during Dr. Strangelove’s weirdness at the end.  I always wondered what happened to Miss Foreign Affairs at the end.  She could have ended up in a mineshaft.  The three locations are Burpelson Air Force Base, the B-52 named Leper Colony, and the War Room.  The bomber is a moving location, though.  We do see General Buck Turgidson’s bedroom, too.  One of the funniest moments still is the cheap joke of Keenan Wynn getting sprayed in face with Coca-Cola.  I always enjoy watching Slim Pickens go over the contents of the emergency pack.  I always thought the music on the radio, and why it was some generic-sounding music instead of one of the current rock and roll hits of the day.  It’s funny how Turgidson gets the phone call from Miss Foreign Affairs in the War Room, especially when nobody seems to be able to communicate with anyone else in the movie.  Supposedly, the original ending of the movie had a pie fight. Kubrick also discarded the idea of aliens watching all the events as if they were watching a movie, although it could have been a lead-in to “2001: A Space Odyssey.”  One of the cool things about the recent Criterion Collection edition of the movie is that it comes with an envelope from the Strategic Air Command marked R, and inside there is an adult magazine called Strangelove.  When you think about it, it seemed that Peter Sellers should also have been in the bomber because it’s the one location where he’s missing.  I could not imagine a Hollywood movie with such dark humor about topical issues could be made today.  The movie business is too conservative.  Also, the audience reaction would be terrible because nobody has a sense of humor.  All the stand-up comedians are doing the same routine with the same rhythm with the same jokes, following a formula.  Sometimes I think about someone like Andy Kaufman, who would read all of The Great Gatsby to an audience, and wonder if there’s anyone out there who is still brave or audacious.  Does anybody even try to be different anymore?  Sterling Hayden seemed one of a kind in this movie.  I will remember him for this movie and for “The Asphalt Jungle.”  I read on IMDB that Slim Pickens didn’t know that “Dr. Strangelove” was a comedy, and so he was playing his role straight.  How did he feel about filming that shot on the bomb?  I liked the sequence where his bomber nearly gets shot down.  It is really quite tense.  The wacky thing is that watching them, we almost want them to succeed.  I always wondered how the Americans were going to convert those mineshafts.  Those explosions at the end looked impressive, and I wondered how Kubrick got that footage.  Stanley Kubrick had a remarkable period going from “Paths of Glory” through “A Clockwork Orange.”  I liked “Barry Lyndon” and “The Shining,” although I definitely found them less exciting.  I wasn’t quite enthusiastic about “Full Metal Jacket,” and I’ve seen “Eyes Wide Shut” only once.  Somehow, the thought of a Kubrick film with Tom Cruise didn’t appeal to me.  I’m glad that “Dr. Strangelove” didn’t end with that pie fight.  The ending has a mixture of emotions that makes the picture memorable.  Looking on the Internet, I saw that Tracy Reed died in 2012.  Her stepfather was Carol Reed.  She appeared in “A Shot in the Dark” and “Casino Royale.”  She was 69 when she died on liver cancer.  When I looked up Keenan Wynn’s height, I saw that it was listed at 5’ 10”.  When I saw him on television, he seemed short.  At one time, The Beatles were interested in appearing in a Lord of the Rings movie directed by Kubrick.  I can imagine him driving them crazy with his insistence on filming many takes.  I can see John Lennon going absolutely berserk.  I always wondered if the work on his last movie killed Stanley Kubrick.  Four days after he screened a final cut of “Eyes Wide Shut,” he suffered a heart attack and died in his sleep.  He was 70.  I don’t see why Tom Cruise spoke at his funeral.  Some of the people who died on August 4 include Hans Christian Andersen (1875), Melvyn Douglas (1981), Victor Mature (1999), and Little Milton (2005).  Today is a birthday for Barack Obama (55) and Billy Bob Thornton (61).

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