Last night I watched the 1964 film Dr Strangelove again. In those uncertain times, the subtitle: ‘How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb’ was so apposite, just two years after the Cuba Missile Crisis, that somehow it was comforting.
Now of course, it all seems to be starting up again. No sooner do the North Koreans appear to be coming to their senses, than we have neo-aggressive Russians and a lunatic in the White House determined to scupper the Iran deal with the prospect of conflict between Iran and Israel.
The likelihood of nuclear war is too terrifying even to contemplate, but somehow Dr Strangelove, with its dark humour, makes it bearable. Astonishing that a film that came out more than 50 years ago is still so watchable and undated. I remember paying ten shillings at the time – a considerable amount then – to see it at a cinema in Shaftsbury Avenue.
The film is superbly cast and brilliantly directed by Stanley Kubrick. Acting honours must go to Peter Sellers, George C Scott and Slim Pickens. But for me, what made last night’s viewing infinitely more enjoyable, was to see the excellent Peter Bull as the Russian ambassador, unable to control his mirth, as Peter Sellers as Stangelove struggles in his wheelchair with his black-gloved right arm which refuses to obey him. All eyes, of course, are on Sellers’ hilarious performance, but I’ll bet if Kubrick had seen Peter Bull struggling not to laugh, he would have reshot the scene as he was known to do many times.
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Welcome to the Mirli Books blog written by Peter Maggs