Originally created 11/04/04

Film pokes fun at human foibles Cold War classic



Much has been made of the visual, verbal and theatrical skills on display in Stanley Kubrick's 1964 Cold War comedy Dr. Strangelove.

Though its ingenious use of nuclear paranoia as the fodder for comedy, a keen sense of style and courageous career performances by Peter Sellers, George C. Scott and Slim Pickens have become cinematic legend, this small, smart movie has managed not only to survive but also thrive because of a sly and subtle sense of subversion that permeates the plot.

The crew, the cast, even the audience, feels as though they are getting away with something.

Raucous and rebellious, Strangelove tells the what-if story of an inadvertently launched nuclear attack.

Like much of Kubrick's work, the Strangelove goal is nothing as mundane as progressing from plot point A to B. Instead, it uses story as a laboratory, a place where human foibles and follyand big issues and small moments can be poked and prodded, often to great effect.

An oddball collection of sophomoric slapstick, razor-sharp satire, cerebral metaphor and authentic drama, Strangelove is the rare film that tries to be all things to all people and manages to pull it off.

Whether laurels are assigned to the film's legendary director, to Terry Southern, who penned the script, or to a perfect storm of talent, timing and good karma, Strangelove remains a poised, pertinent and nearly perfect example of the filmmaker's art.

Rewind

Title: Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Columbia TriSTar, $34.95)

Running Time: 93 minutes

Special Features: After years of lackluster releases, the 40th anniversary edition finally bedecks and bejewels the film in a manner becoming a classic. The two-DVD set includes documentaries on the making of the movie and Kubrick's early career and an interesting critical piece that investigates the movie and the political climate in which it was made. Featured interviews include director Spike Lee, critic Roger Ebert and a vintage split-screen interview with stars Peter Sellers and George C. Scott.

The verdict: HHHHH out of HHHHH

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.