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Tony Grist

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Dr Strangelove [Jan. 19th, 2015|11:43 am]
Tony Grist
Kubrick was half in love with the military. He couldn't keep away from them. He knows they're silly- lethally silly- but then again there's so much about them that's aesthetically pleasing- the glamour of their uniforms, the precision of their drill, the shininess of their hardware. The sequences of the B57 flying over the Arctic are very beautiful- and seem like rehearsals for the space station and space ship sequences in 2001.

He was also half in love with Peter Sellers. James Mason complained that Kubrick's indulgence of Sellers' improvisations was allowed to unbalance Lolita and you could say the same about what happens here. Other actors are kept in line but Sellers is allowed to noodle on and on until he's finished. But who can really object?  Sellers was a genius.

While we're talking about the acting, I think it's got to be said that George C. Scott is a little over the top. He thinks you've got to telegraph comedy and he's wrong. Slim Pickens, on the other hand is wonderful. Sellers was originally slated to play that role too but chickened out because he wasn't sure it was within his range- and then got very miffed when Pickens made such a good job of it.

Originally the idea was to close with a custard pie fight- the last refuge of the comedy writer who's run out of steam. In the end- at the last moment- Kubrick changed his mind. The ending is abrupt. But no more abrupt than having a bomb dropped on your head.

It's one of the great films, isn't it? A prime contender for any list of the ten best ever. I always have difficulty deciding which is my favourite Kubrick because they're all so good. He's that rare director who made nothing but masterpieces. In the end I think 2001 edges it; it's just so brave and beautiful.

From: artkouros
2015-01-19 04:45 pm (UTC)
My favorite bit of trivia about that film is the scene where Slim Pickens is reading out the contents of the emergency packs. "Shoot, a fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff." The original line said "Dallas", but then the JFK assassination occurred and they had Slim Pickens overdub "Vegas". He said it was the easiest $600 he ever made.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-01-19 08:15 pm (UTC)
I can see why they did it- given that the emergency pack includes a gun.
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[User Picture]From: wyrmwwd
2015-01-19 07:21 pm (UTC)
I love that film. Yes, a masterpiece.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-01-19 08:18 pm (UTC)
A great example of Anglo-American co-operation.
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[User Picture]From: davesmusictank
2015-01-23 08:39 pm (UTC)
I agree. 2001 just edges it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-01-23 09:09 pm (UTC)
It's still the best SF movie ever made. The effects are extraordinary- and all achieved without CGI.
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