Classic Movie Review: “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”

5 out of 5 Stars by Holly Woodland

Being a movie reviewer, perhaps I should have reviewed the newly released Dumb and Dumber To film this week. However Jonathan Gruber and the mainstream media coverage of him seems to have captured the dumb and dumber theme instead. But just to continue the theme of Washington elitist arrogance and “stupidity”, I’ve chosen instead to review the classic political dark comedy, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

Released in 1964 and directed and written by Stanley Kubrick (based on the novel Red Alert), Dr. Strangelove is considered one of the funniest films ever made. The film stars the comedic genius of Peter Sellers in three roles (President Merkin Muffley / Captain Lionel Mandrake / Dr. Strangelove) with a slew of brilliant actors including George C. Scott, Keenan Wynn, James Earl Jones, Slim Pickens, and Sterling Hayden. Dr. Strangelove follows the line of insane logic in trying to stop a nuclear annihilation scenario during the peak of the Cold War. Sterling (as Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper), believing that Russia has poisoned American drinking water with the use of fluoride, sets off a doomsday mechanism which only he (Ripper) knows the code to halt. The film follows the course of action to stop or mitigate the scenario. With the help of Russian Ambassador Sadesky (Peter Bull) and the advice of the former Nazi scientist Dr. Strangelove (Sellers), we follow President Muffley (Sellers) in the U.S. War Room and beyond trying to advert the nuclear attack. Keenan Wynn (Col. “Bat” Guano) delivers one of the film’s hilarious scenes as he points out, despite the threat of annihilation, not to destroy a soda machine (for change to make a phone call to the White House with the needed code).  He warns Mandrake (Sellers), “Okay, but your gonna have to answer to the Coca Cola Company.” The film is also recognized for it’s hysterical ending, with Slim Pickens (Maj. “King” Kong) famously bull riding the atomic bomb.

Although Dr. Strangelove was a satire based on the political environment at the time, it seems to have come full circle in being ridiculously accurate today as we see in this clip of President Muffley (Sellers) trying to appease the Russian president. Perhaps Mr. “Goober” should see this film–or would he even recognize the parody of Washington elitist stupidity?

Holly Woodland

Holly Woodland is a native Californian who has been in the entertainment industry for over 30 years. In 'real life' she is a working actress, author and now Holly Woodland, a Hollywood film critic. Holly began her acting career on the stages of New York and leading theaters across the country. Once gaining her professional theater credits, she moved back to Los Angeles where she appeared in several television series including: Weeds, Grey's Anatomy, and was a regular comedic sketch artist on Jay Leno's Tonight Show for several years. She has authored many live theatrical productions, which are currently running across the United States. Holly's travels both in this country and abroad gives her the perspective of what she feels real people want to see in entertainment, whether it be films of today or the glorious films of the past.

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