Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"Dr. Stangelove or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb" came on the other night. It's one of those films that I just can't stop myself from watching. It's the darkest of dark comedies, but the deadpan performances by the actors and the whole way it's put across make it an incredibly compelling film.

It's an anti-war film (soldiers aren't necessarily pro-war, they just recognize its inevitability) by the Master of the Strange, Stanley Kubrick. If you haven't seen it, well, put it on your list. It has to do with "noocular" annihilation of the world, but Kubrick and his bent staff do things along the way you couldn't imagine. The characters have incredibly imaginative names, but I have to wonder about the sex lives of the guys who came up with the names.

First, there's Gen Jack D. Ripper. No explanation required.
Then there's Gen Buck Turgidson--"Buck" being a young, studly man and "turgid", well, you know
The hero of the film is a British exchange officer named Mandrake and, of course, Mandrake is known as an aphrodaisiac
The Soviet Ambassador is named Alexis Desadeinski--could the Marquis de Sade be far behind?
The US President is named Merkin Muffley. The two words have something in common. Ask me if you don't know.
The Soviet Premier is named Kissov (kiss off).
There are some gratuitous names such as Col. "Bat" Guano and Maj. "King" Kong, but the above ones are the best.

There are even things like a B-52 Pilot reading a Playboy centerfold and later the same woman (who I think really was a centerfold) showing up in Gen Turgidson's bed.

And then the lines:
When Gen Ripper loses his marbles, he calls Wing Commander Mandrake and informs him that the "big one" has started. In an understated US stereotype of British officers Mandrake replies "Oh, damn...are the Russians involved?"
Or when Gen Turgidson catches the Soviet Ambassador taking photos he tackles him prompting the president to declare "You can't fight in here, it's a war room".
Or, "Shoot, a fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff" (You'll have to watch it).
And I don't know why this is my favorite, but it is. You'll have to watch the movie: "That's private property. Ok, I'm gonna get your money for you. But if you don't get the president of the United States on the phone, you know what's gonna happen to you?....You're gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola company".

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