Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dr. Strangelove

Over the weekend, we watched Stanley Kubrick's cold war masterpiece on the insanity of mutual assured destruction. If you have never seen it, you should. If you have forgotten it, you should see it again. I don't fall into either category and I enjoy seeing it every time I do, each time learning a little tidbit about the movie I didn't know before.

One of those tidbits is the lost pie fight at the end. It was all cut.

Another is the fact that the movie was originally planned to be released on November 22, 1963. Because of the tragedy of that day, it was released in January of 1964.

Here is a good synopsis of the film from Wikipedia.

And here is one of many trailers.

But I like reading the Terry Southern screenplay. Here is the Finale.

Target in sight. Where in hell is Major Kong?

Kong busily works to splice two wires together. He finishes and then attaches an alligator clip to a patch panel above his head. The bomb doors open. He grabs his stetson to keep it from blowing away in the sudden slipstream.

Aaaaaa hooooo! Aaaaaaaa hooooo! the bomb is dropped, and Kong along with it

Hey, what about Major Kong?

Aaaaaa hoooo! Waaaaa hooooo! Kong rides the bomb in its falling arc waving his hat over his head, celebrating his success in ecstatic rodeo style. On reaching the ground, the bomb detonates.

Cut to: int. War Room

Executes an about face from the big board to face the camera. Mr. President, I would not rule out the chance to preserve a nucleus of human specimens. It would be quite easy... heh heh... rolls forward into the light at the bottom of ah ... some of our deeper mineshafts. The radioactivity would never penetrate a mine some thousands of feet deep. And in a matter of weeks, sufficient improvements in dwelling space could easily be provided.

How long would you have to stay down there?

Well let's see now ah, searches within his lapel cobalt thorium G. notices circular slide rule in his gloved hand aa... nn... Radioactive halflife of uh,... hmm.. I would think that uh... possibly uh... one hundred years. On finishing his calculations, he pulls the slide rule roughly from his gloved hand, and returns it to within his jacket.

You mean, people could actually stay down there for a hundred years?

It would not be difficult mein Fuhrer! Nuclear reactors could, heh... I'm sorry. Mr. President. Nuclear reactors could provide power almost indefinitely. Greenhouses could maintain plantlife. Animals could be bred and slaughtered. A quick survey would have to be made of all the available mine sites in the country. But I would guess... that ah, dwelling space for several hundred thousands of our people could easily be provided.

Well I... I would hate to have to decide.. who stays up and.. who goes down.

Well, that would not be necessary Mr. President. It could easily be accomplished with a computer. And a computer could be set and programmed to accept factors from youth, health, sexual fertility, intelligence, and a cross section of necessary skills. Of course it would be absolutely vital that our top government and military men be included to foster and impart the required principles of leadership and tradition. Slams down left fist. Right arm rises in stiff Nazi salute. Arrrrr! Restrains right arm with left. Naturally, they would breed prodigiously, eh? There would be much time, and little to do. But ah with the proper breeding techniques and a ratio of say, ten females to each male, I would guess that they could then work their way back to the present gross national product within say, twenty years.

But look here doctor, wouldn't this nucleus of survivors be so grief stricken and anguished that they'd, well, envy the dead and not want to go on living?

Strangelove: No sir... Right arm rolls his wheelchair backwards. Excuse me. Struggles with wayward right arm, ultimately subduing it with a beating from his left. Also when... when they go down into the mine everyone would still be alive. There would be no shocking memories, and the prevailing emotion will be one of nostalgia for those left behind, combined with a spirit of bold curiosity for the adventure ahead! Ahhhh! Right are reflexes into Nazi salute. He pulls it back into his lap and beats it again. Gloved hand attempts to strangle him.

Doctor, you mentioned the ration of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn't that necessitate the abandonment of the so called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as men were concerned?

Regrettably, yes. But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious... service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature.

I must confess, you have an astonishingly good idea there, Doctor.

Thank you, sir.

Turgidson: to Muffley
I think we should look at this from the military point of view. I mean, supposing the Russkies stashes away some big bomb, see. When they come out in a hundred years they could take over!

(DeSadeski begins walking away from the crowd around Strangelove and the President, toward the banquet table).

I agree, Mr. President. In fact, they might even try an immediate sneak attack so they could take over our mineshaft space.

Turgidson: Yeah. I think it would be extremely naive of us, Mr. President, to imagine that these new developments are going to cause any change in Soviet expansionist policy.

(DeSadeski kneels, unseen, and begins photographing the big board with a secret camera within a pocket watch.)

I mean, we must be... increasingly on the alert to prevent them from taking over other mineshaft space, in order to breed more prodigiously than we do, thus, knocking us out in superior numbers when we emerge! Mr. President, we must not allow... a mine shaft gap!

...sir! (stands up out of his wheelchair) I have a plan. Heh. pauses, realizing that he is standing Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!

Multiple scenes of exploding bombs, dancing to the tune of "We'll Meet Again."


Somehow, I suspect that a variant of this scene is being played out today somewhere in the dark recesses of some other war room, as another generation of Strangeloves talk of climate change and its effects on the human condition.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

great movie, I've seen it many times and it never fails to terrify and entertain.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Charlie Loving said...

Yes it is a good one. I just read Rajiv Chandrasekaran's IMPERIAL LIFE IN EMERALD CITY.
Many of the same characters are and were in Versailles on the Tigris.

3:25 PM  

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