Join 3,424 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Note: CRM-114 is a Kubrick trademark
November 28, 2012 7:29 AM   Subscribe

A scene-by-scene breakdown of Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
posted by griphus (39 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'd suggest you just watch the film. This isn't a scene-by-scene breakdown as much as a VERY extended synopsis.
posted by ReeMonster at 7:34 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Given the fluoridation FPP that was just deleted, this is some kinda coincidence.
posted by oneironaut at 7:36 AM on November 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


The bombs Inscribed with "Dear John" and "Hi There"

This movie is so brilliant on so many levels.
posted by three blind mice at 7:39 AM on November 28, 2012


Given the fluoridation FPP that was just deleted, this is some kinda coincidence.

Actually, that's what reminded me to post this. I was going to mention that, but then it got deleted and... uh, well, I guess I'm mentioning it anyway.
posted by griphus at 7:41 AM on November 28, 2012


Well, here's the SLYT that was the subject of the deleted FPP.
posted by oneironaut at 7:44 AM on November 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


I need to watch this movie again.
posted by DU at 7:46 AM on November 28, 2012


My favorite thing about this film is that every charachter succeeds at what they set out to do, and the world still ends up going to shit.
posted by hellojed at 7:48 AM on November 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


My son just got to watch this in International Relations class. Ah, to be a college student again...

He had already seen it as he worked his way IMDB's Top 100 list when he was in high school.
posted by COD at 7:51 AM on November 28, 2012


Stopped reading when he referred to the B-52 crew as "dim-witted."
posted by whuppy at 7:52 AM on November 28, 2012


James Earl Jones!
posted by Mister_A at 7:53 AM on November 28, 2012


We watched in a computer science class as part of a discussion on ethics in engineering. (Apropos to previous thread on how ethics don't belong in engineering.)

Also, as a kid I read a book that I thought at the time was a novelization of this movie. But when I actually watched it, years later, it totally wasn't. I'm not even sure of the title now or why I thought it was related. The only thing I can remember is that there was an astronaut trapped in orbit and it was a black comedy.
posted by DU at 7:54 AM on November 28, 2012


And yes, this is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time.
posted by Mister_A at 7:54 AM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Stopped reading when he suggested the character of Strangelove was similar to Kissinger rather than Wernher von Braun.
posted by imperium at 7:55 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I stopped when I found out the author didn't understand the difference between a merkin and a muff.
posted by Mad_Carew at 7:58 AM on November 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I stopped when the author suggested that Ripper "deliriously believed" the West was under attack by the Soviets.
posted by xbonesgt at 8:07 AM on November 28, 2012


I stopped when I was finished with it.
posted by bondcliff at 8:09 AM on November 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


James Earl Jones!

In his very first screen performance, no less!
posted by Rangeboy at 8:09 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, look, it's that paper every Film Studies undergrad has to write in the first week of their first semester!
posted by Sys Rq at 8:14 AM on November 28, 2012


I didn't even start reading in order to stop reading so there!

Anyways... I'm not sure how accurate it is but I heard offhandedly claimed that Sellers intentionally broke his leg so he wouldn't have to play yet another role in the film.

It is a brilliant film on many levels and I think the height of Sellers' career, but despite it really being a vehicle for his talent it had a lot of great supporting performances.

looking at the IMDB top 100 Strangelove is at #38, but good grief there are at least 14 movies ahead of it that really, while being decent movies, should not trump Strangelove by any means
posted by edgeways at 8:16 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


...they will be routed through a device called the "CRM-114 discriminator"). [Note: CRM-114 is a Kubrick trademark -- In Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1969), the serial number on one of the pods was "CRM114"; in his A Clockwork Orange (1971), the central character Alex was injected with "serum 114" - CRM=serum; in Eyes Wide Shut (1999), the mortuary was located on Level/Wing C, Room 114

Great bit of Kubrick trivia there. I never knew this.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:18 AM on November 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


Good thing you didn't stop reading!
posted by griphus at 8:24 AM on November 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


imperium: "Stopped reading when he suggested the character of Strangelove was similar to Kissinger rather than Wernher von Braun."

My mother always referred to Kissinger as Dr. Strangelove. I think that it was a pretty common association.
posted by octothorpe at 8:30 AM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dr. Strangelove is a stand-in for a lot of people.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:42 AM on November 28, 2012


despite it really being a vehicle for his talent it had a lot of great supporting performances

George C. Scott as General Buck Turgidson in particular. He is my favorite character, I think.

Sterling Hayden as Jack Ripper (there's your fluoridation scene) is fantastic too.

looking at the IMDB top 100 Strangelove is at #38, but good grief there are at least 14 movies ahead of it that really, while being decent movies, should not trump Strangelove by any means

I think once you get into "Top 100" or "Top 10" claims, you're talking about apples, oranges, and star fruits. My "objective" best movies list would look nothing like the imdb list. How can you compare Dr. Strangelove to ... Se7en or Lord of the Rings or 12 Angry Men (non-gangster drama gets short shrift on the imdb list). (Anyway, the imdb list correlates more with box office (e.g. Star Wars is #16, Matrix is #18, LOTR is #13 and #21, Dark Knight (!) is #8 than with critical appraisal.)
posted by mrgrimm at 9:02 AM on November 28, 2012


George C. Scott as General Buck Turgidson in particular.
George C. Scott had some really difficult experiences with the director. George was headstrong by nature. It is what fueled his particular talent. Stanley was very much the same kind of man. The irresistible force met the immovable object when Stanley asked George to do over-the-top performances of his lines. He said it would help George to warm up for his satiric takes. George hated this idea. He said it was unprofessional and made him feel silly. George eventually agreed to do his scenes over-the-top when Stanley promised that his performance would never be seen by anyone but himself and the cast and crew. But Kubrick ultimately used many of these "warm-ups" in the final cut. George felt used and manipulated by Stanley and swore he would never work with him again.
via
posted by griphus at 9:21 AM on November 28, 2012


DU wrote: Also, as a kid I read a book that I thought at the time was a novelization of this movie. But when I actually watched it, years later, it totally wasn't. I'm not even sure of the title now or why I thought it was related. The only thing I can remember is that there was an astronaut trapped in orbit and it was a black comedy.

Was it this book, which was made into this movie? I've never heard either described as a black comedy, but I haven't read/seen either one.
posted by 1367 at 9:38 AM on November 28, 2012


Related to griphus' comment, if memory serves me correctly I read that Kubrick never told Slim Pickens he would be appearing in a comedy as opposed to a war drama.

My old man told me, though, when we watched the film together, that he heard officers give similarly lamebrain speeches to their men in all earnestness when he was in Vietnam.
posted by Gelatin at 9:38 AM on November 28, 2012


I heard offhandedly claimed that Sellers intentionally broke his leg so he wouldn't have to play yet another role in the film.

A couple of books indicate that he didn't feel he could pull off the "Slim Pickens" approach to the character, so when he did actually sprain his ankle, he had it put in a plaster cast and begged off -- leading to the casting of, yes, Slim Pickens. It doesn't seem to have been a conflict with Kubrick per se, nor overwork, as the sequence was filmed consecutive to the other ones he had already played.
posted by dhartung at 9:38 AM on November 28, 2012


Gelatin - I always heard that Pickend played it straight, that he thought he was in a war drama instead of a dark comedy.
posted by nathan_teske at 9:43 AM on November 28, 2012


No, not Marooned. The astronaut was trapped up there during an apocalypse on Earth and later landed, IIRC. It's been a super long time since I read it, unfortunately, and it was also at least semi-hallucinatory in the way that 60s/70s SF often is.
posted by DU at 9:48 AM on November 28, 2012


James Earl Jones!

I always thought it was neat that Kubrick worked with the two people responsible for bringing Darth Vader to life years before Star Wars was made: James Earl Jones in Strangelove, and David Prowse in Clockwork Orange. (and in the scene Prowse's character is introduced in Clockwork you hear the sound of his breathing before you hear him speak)
posted by mediated self at 9:57 AM on November 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Related to griphus' comment, if memory serves me correctly I read that Kubrick never told Slim Pickens he would be appearing in a comedy as opposed to a war drama.

I remember busting my ass laughing when a woman I knew in college got all indignant telling me about this horrible movie she'd been watching the night before, and I slowly pieced together that she'd been watching Strangelove but taking it as a completely straight war drama.
posted by COBRA! at 10:03 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember busting my ass laughing when a woman I knew in college got all indignant telling me about this horrible movie she'd been watching the night before, and I slowly pieced together that she'd been watching Strangelove but taking it as a completely straight war drama.

Are you sure she wasn't talking about Fail-Safe? It's basically the same movie, played straight.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:10 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, it was pretty clear, she was quoting Gen. Ripper and Slim Pickens dialog.

Fail-Safe is great, though.
posted by COBRA! at 10:20 AM on November 28, 2012


...Kubrick never told Slim Pickens he would be appearing in a comedy as opposed to a war drama.

From what I remember, Kubrick pulled this off by only giving him the scripts for his scenes.
posted by griphus at 10:30 AM on November 28, 2012


Kubrick also lied to Scott to manipulate him into giving his over-the-top performance:
George C. Scott had some really difficult experiences with the director. George was headstrong by nature. It is what fueled his particular talent. Stanley was very much the same kind of man. The irresistible force met the immovable object when Stanley asked George to do over-the-top performances of his lines. He said it would help George to warm up for his satiric takes. George hated this idea. He said it was unprofessional and made him feel silly. George eventually agreed to do his scenes over-the-top when Stanley promised that his performance would never be seen by anyone but himself and the cast and crew. But Kubrick ultimately used many of these “warm-ups” in the final cut. George felt used and manipulated by Stanley and swore he would never work with him again.
posted by octothorpe at 11:16 AM on November 28, 2012


Hey, coincidence: Mefites in LA might like to check out LACMA's dinner and a movie this Friday night:

Red—A Pop-up Dinner: Dr. Strangelove
Friday, November 30, 2012 | 6 pm

Patina Restaurant Group and LACMA present RED, a brand new, pop-up dinner series. Drawing inspiration from LACMA’s current Stanley Kubrick exhibition, this dinner and movie series will feature a uniquely themed menu on each date by LACMA’s Executive Chef Jason Fullilove. Guests will enjoy a three-course dinner plus admission to a Stanley Kubrick film for $60 per person.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:01 PM on November 28, 2012


Raising Arizona has some Dr. Strangelove references.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:44 PM on November 28, 2012


I keep going back and forth over which is the better order for a double feature: Fail Safe followed by Dr Strangelove, or the reverse order. I think that watching Fail Safe first makes for Dr Strangelove being so much more disturbing, but watching Dr Strangelove first can make Fail Safe disquietingly funny.

Additionally, the CRM114 Discriminator is also a spam filter.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:53 PM on November 28, 2012


« Older The vanishing Ninja....  |  How is the new game Family Guy... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments