25 Things I Love About Dr. Strangelove

 

I’m trying to start a new series here where, every 1-2 weeks, I do a list of twenty-five things I love about a certain film; it could be a scene, a quote, an acting performance, a musical choice, or anything really, any detail of the film, whether big or small. This time I’m listing twenty-five things I love about the classic comedy Dr. Strangelove (1964).

1: The film’s tremendous opening credit sequence; one of countless very subtle sexual references.

2: George C. Scott’s subtle mannerisms and facial expressions.

3: Sterling Hayden’s awkward discussion of the attempted poisoning of his “precious bodily fluids.”

4: Purity of essence.

5: The name Merkin Muffley.

6: The patriotic but ironic speech delivered by Slim Pickens to his air crew.

7: George C. Scott tripping over and correcting himself, all without interrupting his manic monologue.

8: “Uh… h-hello, Demitri?”

9: The fact that the film manages to exceed its sexually energised predecessor Lolita in both comic value and the number of sexual references.

10: Hayden’s rant about water fluoridation, and the uncomfortable number of masturbatory euphemisms included in it. (“I do not avoid women, Mandrake. But I do deny them my essence.”)

11: Peter Sellers’ awkward turn as a muddled Englishman.

12: Peter Sellers’ awkward turn as an agitated President.

13: Peter Sellers’ quirky turn as an ex-Nazi with a knowledge of technology and nuclear bombs.

14: “One of our generals, well… he went and did a silly thing.”

15: The film’s direct targeting of audience’s fears of a nuclear holocaust and channeling those fears into comedy, a risky but rewarding achievement.

16: Sterling Hayden’s “commie conspiracies.”

17: The film continuing for another five minutes after logically it should end, for the pure reason of including a discussion about the eradication of monogamy in a post-apocalyptic world.

18: CRM-114.

19: “If anyone finds out about this, you’re gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola company.”

20: George C. Scott: “He can barrel in that baby so low, you should see it–” And then the awkward change of attitude as he realizes what he’s just said and how he’s said it.

21: That awkward moment when Sterling Hayden is explaining his realization of the dangers of the fluoridation conspiracy by recalling a sex session.

22: “No horsin’ around on the airplane!”

23: The cameo by a very young James Earl Jones, his most famous line being: “Where’s Major Kong?”

24: Major Kong riding the bomb, an unmistakable sexual euphemism, and the strange feeling of dark humour that comes when you realize that the film’s “climax” features a man with what appears to be a giant erection in the form of a nuclear bomb portruding between his legs.

25: The film’s final song, “We’ll Meet Again,” sung beautifully by Vera Lynn, as the world slowly explodes.

Those are some of my favourite parts of this comedy classic. What do you think of it? You can’t tell me you haven’t seen it; it’s the funniest movie ever made, in my opinion. But let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Posted on October 22, 2011, in 25 Things I Love About..., Humor, Lists, Movies and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. I absolutely love all Kubrick’s films I have seen (only few I haven’t), and this one is not different. One of the best comedies of all-time. A 10 in my book.

    “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room.”

  2. Hi, Tyler and company:

    Wonderful weekend choice of topic!

    Being a child of the Cold War, ‘Dr. Strangelove’ is the Kubrick work that most resonates with me. Having seen it dozens of times at Saturday matinees during the summer and winter of 1965. To the point of nearly memorizing its dialogue and pauses.

    I was hooked on Kubrick’s wonderful camera work. Especially as Sterling Hayden rocks a cigar while channeling Gen. Curtis E. LeMay. Then marveling at the dimly lit interior work inside the very real looking mock-up of Slim Pickens’ B-52.

    Excellent writing. Superb comedic timing. Most notably with George C. Scott’s arm waving and accidental prat falls opposite Peter Sellers’ liberal milquetoast Adlai Stevenson inspired President Merkin Muffley.

    Great, memorable lines that still work today. Superior model and chase plane work from an occasional shadow casting B-17. Very real looking, sporadic cinema verite during the siege of Burpelson AFB.

    An overall black comedy classic that has yet to be equaled!

    • And you have summed it up beautifully. It really is the greatest comedy film ever made. Kubrick was a technical genius even when he wasn’t making big-budget scifi epics.

  3. Fumiest Heil Hitler i’ve ever seen in a movie ever

  4. This was a very good comedy, really enjoyed it. Forgot quite a lot about it, but one I plan on revisiting sometime. Sellers is so good in it.

  5. Well, of course there are sexual euphemisms. It’s Kubrick. What do you expect?

  6. This is probably one of Kubrick’s best (infinitely amusing and rewatchable). Great cast, great script. Just a fantastic film!

    Well done again!

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