On this day in 1964, one of Stanley Kubrick's greatest films, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
opened in theaters across the nation. If you haven't seen it, you should. Peter Sellers played three parts including the title role (which was probably a composite of Herman Kahn and Wernher von Braun, with perhaps a little Edward Teller and Henry Kissinger thrown in). My emerging favorite of the three, however, is the President, Merkin Muffley (a merkin is a pubic wig and the muff is the part of the woman Playboy didn't show back then). Kubrick was calling the guy a pussy--and he was. He also looked a great deal like Adlai Stevenson, the two time Democratic loser to President Eisenhower. Ah, it all makes sense now. Slim Pickens, Sterling Hayden and George C. Scott have their finest cinematic moments. Hayden as General Jack D. Ripper, starts WWIII for what was then straight John Birch Society platform, the fluoridation of water as a Communist plot. Scott, as General Buck Turgidson, gives the greatest realpolitik speech ever given--"Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks." and Pickens, as Major T.J. "King" Kong rides the bomb to its target of opportunity like the cowboy he really was, an image hard to banish from ones memory.
Labels: Dr. Strangelove