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Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 February 2001

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

Columbia/TriStar Home Video
MPAA rating: PG
starring: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn
release year: 1963
film rating: Four-and-a-half stars
reviewed by: Bill Warren

‘Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb’ is one of those rare comedies that doesn’t date its humor. Perhaps because the threat of nuclear destruction will be around as long as the weapons remain, black humor on the topic -- done properly -- remains forever topical.

Directed by Stanley Kubrick, with a screenplay by Kubrick, Peter George (author of the novel ‘Red Alert,’ on which the film is based) & Terry Southern, ‘Strangelove’ tells of what happens when one U.S. Air Force commander, Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) unilaterally decides to bomb Russia. Alas, the Russians were just about to announce their new doomsday device, which will destroy the world if they suffer nuclear attack. With an ineffectual President (Peter Sellers) and a loony scientific advisor (Sellers again) dithering with the Joint Chiefs of Staff over how to stop the disaster in progress, it’s up to one lonely Royal Air Force captain (Sellers in a third role) to try to get the general to abort the bombers.

The DVD does right by ‘Strangelove’s’ irregular, shifting aspect ratio, though one or two shots have some very nasty jagged tops. The black-and-white photography has transferred beautifully for the most part, though there are some fairly ugly print scratches in Chapters 3 and 26. Chapter 6 has a nifty echoing microphone sound effect that comes through admirably and Chapter 17 has vivid gunfire audio, even if the documentary style momentarily muddies the accompanying exterior shots.

For starters, it’s a great pleasure to see Sellers at the top of his form in three entirely different roles; it’s also a lot of fun to see a young George C. Scott, Keenan Wynn and even James Earl Jones stepping up to the brilliant, deadpan dialogue. Kubrick alternates between crispy photographed dramatic scenes between his principals and a gritty, documentary look for exteriors when combat breaks out. The film’s observations remain intelligent and timely. Anyone who loves Monty Python may wonder if the troupe derived much of their inspiration from the straight-faced absurdity captured here so adroitly. ‘Strangelove’ has been around for 36 years and there are still few political satires that can equal its sharpness or its staying power.

more details
sound format:
Dolby Digital
aspect ratio(s):
Original Multi-Aspect Ratio (original theatrical aspect ratio, which changes during film)
special features: French Language Track; Spanish Language Track; Spanish Subtitles; English Closed-Captioning; Chapter Search
comments: email us here...
reference system
DVD player: Kenwood DV-403
receiver: Kenwood VR-407
main speakers: Paradigm Atom
center speaker: Paradigm CC-170
rear speakers: Paradigm ADP-70
subwoofer: Paradigm PDR-10
monitor: 36-inch Sony XBR

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