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Let’s Talk About: The enduring relevance of “Doctor Strangelove” even 50 years after its release (1964).

I was watching this movie today (it has been a few years) and I was taken aback at how relevant and timely it felt - especially as, for the first time in decades, truly adversarial countries are engaging in public nuclear posturing. Additionally, today’s accidental nuclear missile warnings in Hawaii certainly put in perspective how a single wrong push of the button can plunge lives in to chaos, even with all of our advanced technology.

I thought that because of this, the movie could use a discussion thread.

However, I think it would be a shame to limit the discussion to the current real world relevance of nuclear war. This film deserves appropriate discussion for many things: it’s comedy (obviously), its enduring cultural awareness, its acting, and even the way Kubrick shoots the film (including some really great battle scenes).

I hope this thread can foster some great discussions about a great film!

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Original Poster47 points·3 months ago

To get this started: One particular aspect I found interesting was the way General Jack Ripper’s rants about “Fluoridation” and “Bodily Fluids”, felt like something Alex Jones could be screaming on infowars right now!

Those Ripper rant scenes always crack me up second to the final scene. Even though I think water fluoridation is stupid, but not a conspiracy.

The best it watching the film for the first time. You're spending all this time speculating what caused Ripper to send the bombers to Russia, what conspiracy was so big, what threat demanded so much attention worth annihilating the USSR over?

The answer turns out to be a complete farce. He's simply a goddamn lunatic and seems to be completely unaware of the "doomsday machine," even if it exists (which it probably doesen't or at least doesn't work).

The doomsday machine exists and is functional. The doomsday part is the part they make sure works

[deleted]
4 points·3 months ago

The important and necessary part for a doomsday machine to work, is that you let everyone know you have it.

The answer turns out to be a complete farce.

What's perfect is that, at it's core, isn't threatened masculinity the root of most, if not all, historic conflict? History is a litany of generals and governors swinging their metaphorical dicks around, trying to prove they're the biggest men ever. That their legacy (i.e. seed) needs to be on top. Ripper's character motivations are hilariously poignant.

Wow, I'm going through the movie again and you're spot on. [Take this scene.] (https://youtu.be/eB5Vvs2cdqY?t=54s) Ripper explains the origins of his theory.

"I first became aware of it during the physical act of love. Yes, a profound sense of fatigue, a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. A Loss of senses."

Ripper derives his bogus theory to justify the feeling of hollowness he gets after sex (the ultimate display of one's masculinity). That means the reason Ripper sends the B-52s out to basically start World War Three, is all because a defense mechanism he put up because his masculinity was being threatened!!!

I always was aware of the phallic and sexual imagery of Dr. Strangelove, but never really understood why. Now it all makes perfect sense.

Or How Hawai'i Learned to Stop Vacationing and Love the Bomb

His compensation and clear insecurity about his masculinity is written into every fiber of his scenes. Not only do his lines betray him, but his mannerisms and the set dressing around him. I'm not the biggest fan of Kubrick, but I love this movie so much.

Don't forget Peter Sellers and his hilarious performance " Mein Fuhrer , I can walk!" , this movie and Lolita wouldn't have been half as fun without the man.

Can you explain that part? I really didn't understand that line or any of the weird suppressed Nazism stuff going on with him. Or why the movie is named after him.

A lot of German scientists and engineers fled Germany either during or after the war (not just to the United States) some kept doing military research for their new countries, so that character is supposed to be a parody of those.

Dr Strangelove is largely based on the real life Werner von Braun, who was the Nazi scientist who developed the V-bombs before being brought to America along with loads of other German scientists to help in the Cold War (ie before the Soviets could get their hands on them). He's largely responsible for most of the missile tech we see appearing post war, eg the moon landings

the character dr. strangelove represents fascism/nazism in the 60s. crippled by the war (in a wheelchair) but still very influential (US president's advisor). the ending represents the rise of fascism (dr. strangelove's mineshaft plan is totalitarian), nazism (repopulate with healthy, strong minds, a pure race) and it's a sex joke (dr. strangelove wants a piece of the 10:1 female-male action).

One of the greatest comedies ever as it's so dense in substance but is still making you laugh all the way through.

Dr. Strangelove: "Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you keep it a secret! Why didn't you tell the world, EH?" Ambassador de Sadesky: "It was to be announced at the Party Congress on Monday. As you know, the Premier loves surprises."

It’s a black comedy about human annihilation and what we find value in. Kubrick has humanity in dark places in his movies, yet this one dares to make us laugh because it made him laugh. Great shit.

43 points·3 months ago·edited 3 months ago

Its especially relevant today with the US president talking about nuclear buttons as if theyre dicks.

The best part about Doctor Strangelove was how the movie is basically a metaphor for a bunch of old men who havent gotten laid in a while. The cold war is portrayed as a case of blue balls for military leaders. Some of them are all too eager to press the button and see some action, and anyone who isnt is portrayed as effeminate or homosexual.

My favorite scene has to be the ending, when the men in the war room realize that a nuclear fall out is imminent. Naturally, their next course of action is to sit tight in a nuclear shelter with dozens of young women and begin to repopulate. In his excitement, the German Doctor Strangelove can no longer hold down his nazi salute, a metaphorical erection.

Check this film out if you havent, even if you dont like politics its a hilarious portrayal of war and the people in charge of it.

"Gentlemen, you cant fight in here. This is the war room!"

The entire opening with with the b52 Refueling is very sensual.

Haha exactly, especially to the tune of a love song. Kubrick fills the movie with this type of sexual imagery, the most memorable being the pilot with the nuke between his legs at the end.

Great username btw

Thanks for this. One of my favorite movies. Great explanation.

As much grief as Freud gets these days, he wasn't entirely off in his claim of people's (albeit mostly men's) obsessions with penises. I think it's primarily more metaphorical then he made it, but he had a point, really.

That part with the soda machine, lol.

-8 points·3 months ago(0 children)

I feel like it was a brilliant decision to make the movie a comedy and not a serious drama. If it had been a serious movie it would have been so dark and depressing, but making it a comedy makes it a joy to watch while still getting it's point across.

One of the best sources for comedy is the darkness of reality. Something so absurd and disturbing that one can only laugh at it.

2 points·3 months ago·edited 3 months ago

It was made as a serious drama! Well, kind of.

Fail Safe was also released in 1964. You'll see the [plot](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fail_Safe_(1964_film) is early close to Strangelove.

GENTLEMEN!!!! You can't fight in here, this is the War room.

It's yet another masterpiece from a guy who seemed only able to make masterpieces. It's also my favourite Kubrick film (the great thing about Stanley Kubrick is that you can pick any one of his films as your favourite and not be wrong).

The genius part of this film is that, while it's still a comedy, it can still be taken seriously. If a nuclear holocaust were to happen, I can totally imagine it playing out like this... and I think that's what makes it so funny, because it's so real. Dr. Strangelove is essentially the cinematic equivalent of a George Carlin comedy routine: Because you're laughing your ass off the whole way through, but in the back of your mind, you know everything he's saying is the truth.

I also have to mention just how ballsy it was to make and release this film. At the height of Cold War, not too far removed from the Cuban Missile Crisis AND the Kennedy assassination, we have a film coming out that mocks the whole thing. Could you imagine the online shit storm if the internet existed at the time?

The declassified tapes from the Cuban Missile Crisis sound pretty much like the film.

A high school teacher made us watch this years ago and I didn’t pay enough attention, although I love Kubrick.
I’ll have to give it a watch.

My favourite Kubrick movie

A masterpiece. And still very relevant today. Peter Sellers was a genius.

I think the final bombing run procedure was chillingly accurate though Kubrick had to make educated guesswork as it was top secret.

Peter Sellers, while apparently a real asshole away from the Silver Screen, was a fucking cinematic GEM.

They don't make them like him anymore.

Someone tell me how to watch this movie I can’t find it anywhere

It's on the UK Netflix and Amazon Prime too iirc

There is now movie that makes me feel the way I feel at the end of Dr. Strangelove.

Never knew there was something so hilarious about nuclear annihilation.

I love the scene where George C Scott's character is talking about the pilot still having a chance to make the bomb run. He's so proud of his boys, his system, his weapons. That moment when he realizes it will all kill him and end the world is amazing, the dawning realization written across his face.

Over in r/books they have a thread about which book or series you wish you could forget and experience again for the first time. I wish I could experience Dr. Strangelove for the first time again. It's just brilliant.

Hmm I see what you mean. https://imgur.com/gallery/MXHiA

It really shows how stupid Trump be.

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