Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Film Ignorance Guest Blogger #4: Dr. Strangelove

If a space alien landed out of the sky and asked me to take him to my leader, one of my options would be to send him to Blog Cabins, where Fletch, the fearless leader of the Large Association of Movie Blogs, makes his online home. Well, today Fletch is stopping by Movies et al as our Film Ignorance Guest Blogger. Hope you enjoy his review.

Film: Dr. Strangelove
Rating: A Good Movie
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Peter Sellers, Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Peter Sellers
Year: 1964
Ignorance Rating: Pending

Bring on the hate mail.

Were my expectations too high? It's hard to say. Probably yes, as Dr. Strangelove is considered one of the best comedies (and films) of all time - nominated for four Oscars, firmly entrenched in the IMDb Top 25, #3 in the LAMB's rankings of the Top 10 Comedies.

And I should have loved it - Kubrick, Sellers, a great topic, black comedy - all up my alley. But...it just didn't connect for me.

Now, as you can see in the rating given above, I definitely think it's a good movie. There's brilliance aplenty, from the Presidential phone calls to the Russian Premier to Slim Pickens' wild ride to Sellers' multiple (varied) roles. The opening credits were a marvel of simplicity, and it was eye-opening to see George C. Scott in such a wild-eyed, loose role (just as it was almost as jarring to see the young James Earl Jones at all).

I just didn't laugh much - instead, I spent much of the time trying to put myself in the shoes of someone watching the film in 1964, with the Cold War a very real threat, wondering if the film was seen as taboo or "too soon" at the time of its release. It's easy to watch the film today and laugh at the things children were taught ("Hide under your desk!") in fear of a nuclear attack, but I'm left somewhat in awe that the film was received well in 1964 at all, thinking perhaps that the audacity of the film's mocking of the situation was a key ingredient to its success.

I'm sitting here trying to think of ways to delicately put this, but it's really of no use, so I'll just come out and say it: I prefer Strangelove's spiritual child to the original. That's right - if I were given the choice of watching only one of two films about mutual assured destruction between the United States and the former Soviet Republic...I'm choosing Spies Like Us every time.


Fletch's Film Rating:

"Darn tootin!"

1 comment:

Graham said...

Here, Fletch, let me deflect some hate: I really like this movie. It's also my favorite Kubrick movie, as I don't really care for A Clockwork Orange or 2001. And I really, really hate AI, which I partially blame him for.