Thursday, June 5, 2008

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

I've always thought this was one of the greatest movies ever made. I believe I first saw it when it came out in 1964, along with Fail Safe, the straight dramatic version of a similar crisis. I was only 11 at the time, so it was only years later (college, I imagine) when I began to fully grasp Kubrick's genius (not to mention the art of Peter Sellers -- whom I didn't recognize in multiple roles the first time I saw the movie).

I bought a DVD of the film only last year and tried to get my kids to watch it (tough sell - black and white AND the Cold War - ancient, ancient history). But who would have thought it was so contemporary after all.

From today's CNN News:
In August, a B-52 bomber flew from North Dakota to Louisiana with the crew unaware that six nuclear-tipped missiles were on board. Four officers were relieved of duty afterward, including three colonels.
"Air Force Officials ousted over nuclear gaffes"(CNN, June 5, 2008)

What made the movie so biting in the 1960's was that we were still in the midst of the Cold War so, despite all the zaniness, the movie was only a few steps away from what could really happen. Now, the bite has come back to haunt us.

[Aside from the recent Air Force incidents, does General Jack D. Ripper remind anyone of any of our current crop of religious wing-nuts? "Fluids, it's all about fluids," you know.]

For a flavor of the original, see this trailer. For diehard fans or others who would like some background, see this documentary on the making of the film, beginning with Inside the Making of Dr. Strangelove - Part 1.

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