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Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Dr. Strangelove (1964)

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Dr. Strangelove (1964)

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  1. Dr. Strangelove (1964)

  2. Peter George’s Red Alert, a serious suspense thriller about an accidental nuclear attack. Kubrick felt the subject matter needed to be dramatized but could not make it work, finally decided to make it a black comedy, “a nightmare comedy” (p.703). “black humor is pitched at the breaking point where moral anguish explodes into a mixture of comedy and terror, where things are so bad you might as well laugh (p.704).”

  3. Interpreting the Film Maland (1979) argues the movie challenges the “Ideology of Liberal Consensus.” What is the “Ideology of Liberal Consensus?” The structure of American society was sound in that our democratic capitalism was kinder and gentler that provided an abundance to a wide range of people. Communism was a clear danger Technology was the key to progress

  4. Ideology of Liberal Consensus “Confident to the verge of complacency about the perfectability of American society, anxious to the point of paranoia about the threat of Communism—those were the two faces of the consensus mood.” Geoffrey Hodgson (1976)

  5. The Cold War Consensus • Cold War Consensus • A rational approach to foreign policy in a nuclear age • A belief that nuclear war might be acceptable, even tolerable • Propagated by the mass media • U.S. News & World Report, “If Bombs Do Fall.” • Life Magazine, “How You Can Survive Fallout.” • Movies: Above and Beyond (1952); Strategic Air Command (1957); Bombers B-52 (1957)

  6. Critics of the Ideology of Consensus J. Robert Oppenheimer, Linus Pauling, Bertrand Russell, C. Wright Mills, SANE Argued that the Soviet Union did not warrant the use of nuclear weapons. And the realities of America itself—as the defenders of democracy and civil liberties—did not really live up to those standards

  7. Dr. Strangelove (1964)

  8. Themes in Dr. Strangelove • Anti-war • What other movies did Kubrick make that where anti-war? • Paths of Glory (1957) • Full Metal Jacket (1987) • The connection between sexual and military aggression. • How does Kubrick make this connection

  9. Sexual and Military Aggression • Opening scene with the two airplanes • General Jack D. Ripper • Pilot reading Playboy with the centerfold’s buttocks covered by the magazine Foreign Affairs. • Premier Dmitri Kissov is at his lovers place • Dr. Strangelove’s idea of having 10 women for every man in a fallout shelter • General Turgidson and his secretary

  10. Criticizing the Cold War consensus • Maland (1979) suggests Kubrick takes on these issue in his movie • Anti-Communism paranoia • Our culture’s inability to realize the enormity of nuclear war • Various nuclear strategies of the time • Blind faith in technology

  11. Communist Paranoia General Ripper and fluoridation General Turgenson’s reaction to the Soviet ambassador in the war room The Pilots enthusiasm to bomb the Russians

  12. Different Strategies Discussed • MAD • Plan R; Doomsday machine • The Logic and Illogic of Nuclear Deterrence • Deterrence depends on fear, but if we are so fearful of nuclear war then we may never use them, thus reducing the credibility of a deterrence (Lindley 2001) • Solution? • Preemptive Strike (Ripper; Turgidson; LeMay) • automation

  13. Criticizing the Nuclear Strategies • Kubrick mocks the military’s perception of a winnable war with the pilot’s pep talk about winning medals and the survival kit. • General Turgidson is a hardliner who supports a first strike policy • General Ripper is obsessed with floride and his essence. • Even the reasonable president is ineffectual

  14. Technology “Gap between man’s scientific and technological skill and his social, political, and moral ineptitude (p.701).” Depiction of scientists The doomsday machine Communication technology seems to always fail. Can’t get through to the pilot, can’t get through to General Ripper, Mandrake can’t get through to the White House because he doesn’t have a dime.

  15. This Criticism of the Cold War was Unique Films, even those like Fail-Safe, “present a common respect for national and military leaders. Though bad apples may show up occasionally, though accidents may cause some difficulties, each film ends with control being reestablished, the viewer reassured that the American way is the best course”(p.715).