Dr. Strangelove (1964)
The year is 1964. The Berlin Wall went up just three years ago. Worldwide extinction by nuclear annihilation is never far from anybody’s mind — the idea of preparing for even some humans surviving a nuclear exchange was officially discouraged as an unbalancing political influence. Everybody knows it’s the end of the world. So: what’s there to do but laugh?
In director Stanley Kubrick’s hands, Dr. Strangelove began as an attempt to adapt the serious novel Red Alert into a serious movie about a nuclear accident. But in the course of its writing, he found that he couldn’t present the military doctrine of mutually assured destruction seriously without sounding absurd, laughable. So the film became a comedy, a farce, that defused some of the deadliest ideas humanity has ever devised. Meanwhile, Columbia Pictures agreed to finance the movie only if Peter Sellers played at least four roles (he ended up with three, but who’s counting?). Most of Sellers’ lines were improvised, then written back into the script. It’s an incredible example of a film that’s the product of a visionary creator willing to be flexible and follow the material wherever it has to go. Off the cuff yet perfectly planned, it’s one of the most memorable comedies (and most important cultural artifacts of the Cold War era) ever.
Immediately after the film, Tampa Theatre’s own James DeFord will lead a short discussion of Dr. Strangelove and an audience Q&A. The session is included with film admission.
The Summer Classics Movie Series is presented by Bank of America.
Media support is provided by WEDU-PBS. Additional support is provided by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Council on Arts and Culture, the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, and the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners.