Dr. Strangelove

In Roger Ebert's Film Review at the end of October 1994, he writes: In the days after it first opened in early 1964, Stanley Kubrick's 'Dr. Strangelove' took on the enchanted aura of a film that had gotten away with something. Johnson was in the White House, the Republicans were grooming Goldwater, both sides took the Cold War with grim solemnity, and the world was learning to be comfortable with the term 'nuclear deterrent,' which meant that if you blow me up, I'm gonna blow you up, and then we'll all be dead. 'Better dead than Red,' some said. Others said the opposite. The choice was not appealing." Ebert continues, "The Bomb overshadowed global politics. It was a kind of ultimate hole card in a game where the stakes were life on earth. Then Kubrick's film opened with the force of a bucketful of cold water, right in the face. What Kubrick's Cold War satire showed was not men at the mercy of machines, but machines at the mercy of men - especially the loony Gen. Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden).

October 28, 2005 Kurt Vonnegut: the huge illiterate population can sure as hell watch a movie

In a Forbes special on communication, Kurt Vonnegut ventures about how to tell a story today: "All of the arts, with the exception of architecture, are practical jokes, making people respond emotionally and at no risk to themselves, because things aren't really happening... What I do, which is becoming more and more impractical I think, is make people respond to idiosyncratic arrangements of 26 phonetic symbols and ten Arabic numbers in horizontal lines on a page. And there was a time when this was a form of home entertainment, and so it was worthwhile for people to learn how to read. But reading it is actually quite difficult... But ink on paper is no way to tell a story anymore. Film and movies are the best way to tell a story today... Because of our terrible high schools, we have a huge illiterate population, but they can sure as hell watch a movie."

Refer to specific scenes in the movie to answer THREE of the following.

1.  “Peace is our Profession” Explain how the appearance of this slogan in the film is ironic.

2.  How is the film also a satire of traditional masculine traits (masculine hegemony)? How does it make this comment?

3.  What does it say, specifically, about the concept of retaliation (revenge)?

4.  Describe a scene that could be used as an example of black humor.

5.  Is there any similarity between the type of characters in the film and the type in Slaughterhouse Five? Is there a sane character in the film?

6.  Choose a scene and describe its tone. Remember, tone has to do with the attitude of the author (or, here, director) toward the subject and audience.

7.  What thematic connection can you find between this film and SH-5?

B.P. Above, a sentence of Ebert’s is bolded because it seems to say that one of Vonnegut’s themes is inverted in this film. Explain