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DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB ($30) is one of the most outrageous sick jokes perpetrated on the movie going public. This ultra-black comedy plays off the farcical nature of "the cold war" and the possibility of total nuclear annihilation. Director Stanley Kubrick had intended to make this a serious film, but the ironic elements of the story were too hard to resist, reshaping DR. STRANGELOVE into the black comic masterwork it has become.

The plot concerns an Air Force General, who has gone off the deep end and has launched a preemptive nuclear strike against the Soviet Union. Peter Sellers gives the performances of his career and earned himself an Academy Award Nomination, portraying three separate roles. Sellers’ British RAF officer Group Captain Lionel Mandrake and US President Merkin Muffley deliver many humorous moments, but it is his performance as Dr. Strangelove which has left an indelible mark on cinema history. The character of Strangelove is so utterly on target, and downright hilarious, that one will remember this character above all others in the film.

This is not to say that the other performances are weak, on the contrary, DR. STRANGELOVE is replete with top-notch actors creating marvelous characters. George C. Scott is hilarious as the paranoid General "Buck" Turgidson, whose better dead than red attitude is the perfect counterpoint to his personal peccadilloes. Sterling Hayden is utter perfection as General Jack D. Ripper, the man responsible for this nuclear nightmare. Slim Pickens is also hilarious as the gung-ho Major T. J. "King" Kong, determined to deliver his nuclear payload personally. Keenan Wynn is another of film’s comic gems, making the most of the clueless Colonel "Bat" Guano.

Columbia TriStar Home Video offers DR. STRANGELOVE in a pseudo wide-screen presentation that flip-flops between 1.33:1 and 1.66:1. The Letterboxing is so mild, that one is scarcely able to detect it when it is in effect. The black and white transfer is quite sharp, with good contrast and detail. The film element does have a number of visible imperfections, but none are too serious. Digital compression artifacts were never bothersome.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack is of the two-channel variety and is reasonably clean and crisp, without too many age related anomalies. Other soundtrack options include French and Spanish language tracks. Subtitles are available in Spanish.

DR. STRANGELOVE is a classic film, which will make a worthwhile addition to most DVD libraries.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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