The Making of Dr. Strangelove (2013) [video]


104 points | by dxs 10 days ago


  • sidcool 7 days ago
    My all time favorite movie. First time I watched it i was floored. And the technical aspects are also cool. I read somewhere that the details were so spot on that military had investigated Kubrick if stealing defence secrets
    • Synaesthesia 7 days ago
      Might just be the greatest movie of all time, certainly my favourite too. I read recently that it was kind of the "Big Lebowski" of it's generation, with tons of quotable quotes, eg "You're gonna have to answer to the coco-cola company"
      • mads 7 days ago
        You are right. I personally enjoyed the quote "No fighting in the war room".
        • dvh 7 days ago
          Nothing beats "Mein fuhrer, I can walk!"
        • WalterBright 7 days ago
          Major Bat Guano
          • euroderf 6 days ago
            Wasn't that his nickname ? Perhaps his given name was Bartholomew.
      • JKCalhoun 7 days ago
        You reminded me of "One, Two, Three" another awesome Cold War farce (that I recommend).

        • dekhn 7 days ago
          Yes, under appreciated film today.
      • sidcool 7 days ago
        TBH I find Big Lebowski bit overrated compared to the other greats. It's a nice movie, no doubt, but not in the same league as Strangelove or Goodfellas or Godfather.
    • preisschild 7 days ago
      I believe it was due to the interior of the B-52. Very similar to the real thing if you look at photos now.
    • gandalfgreybeer 7 days ago
      The military secrets thing is at 10:46 of the video in case you’re interested. Not much details but I still found it interesting.
  • bmitc 7 days ago
    This is probably in the posted video at some point, but George C. Scott was a serious actor who Kubrick talked into starting a scene with a few silly and ridiculous takes to warm up and that the real takes would be the later ones. In typical Kubrick fashion, he used the silly takes in the final edit.

    Kubrick is one of the most manipulative directors I have ever read about. He's a genius for sure, but I can't imagine he was much fun to work for as an actor.

    • denton-scratch 7 days ago
      > He's a genius for sure, but I can't imagine he was much fun to work for as an actor.

      Malcolm McDowell would comfirm that working with Kubrick was punishing. My fave Kubrick movie is 2001; happily for the cast, there's not very much acting in that movie.

    • scaredginger 7 days ago
      Yeah, I feel really bad for what Shelley Duvall went through, Kubrick was a maniac by the sounds of it. The Shining is a masterpiece all the same though
    • Someone 7 days ago
      From that WSJ article:

      “Stanley was unfailingly polite and even-tempered on the set. After every take that didn't work, even the 100th, he would say nothing more than "Let's try that again."

      Of course, it was also true that Stanley was a control freak of the highest order and ran his set more like a dictator than a director. He treated actors as if they were technical elements in his design, not as creative professionals like himself.”

      Another glimpse of how working with Kubrick was: (“If you did a film with Stanley, you were married to him. There was nothing else in your life.”)

      I don’t think anybody could direct a movie the way Kubrick did today. They would be canceled before the shoot (which would be long. That reference to the 100th take above may not have been an exaggeration. Kubrick is in the Guinness book of world records for doing 148 takes of a scene in “the Shining”. See was over.

      On the other hand, Elon Musk seems to get away with being very manipulative and demanding of his personnel.

      • watwut 7 days ago
        I dont know about directors being cancelled for taking too many takes. The cancellation issues tend to center around sexual abuse and it took many accusers over years for anything to happen. And they typically bounced back quickly anyway.
  • xamuel 7 days ago
    Kubrick films often have "once-you-see-it-you-can't-unsee-it" easter eggs. In Strangelove there's an amazing one: the big circular table in the war room (with the circular lights above it) looks like a mushroom cloud if you squint at it right.

    Bonus "can't-unsee-it" in the title itself: Strangelove = Strangle + Glove

  • oblib 7 days ago
    I think I saw that the first time when I was about 11 years old, so around 1970. Before that I grew up watching the TV show "Combat" and show like that were all I really knew about our Military.

    I was stunned at how they portrayed the insanity and ineptitude of our Military Officers and politicians. They made it look so crazy and believable at the same time. But what was really stunning was someone had the balls to make it.

    In that same sort of genre Kelsey Grammer in "The Pentagon Wars" (1998) is pretty good too. I haven't watched either of those for a long time but think about it now and then.

  • BirAdam 8 days ago
    Dr Strangelove is my favorite film. Absolutely hilarious, and also a good satire on the actual views of some at the time.
    • nmg 7 days ago
      Same. I was lucky to see it on film once, and the theater projected it without masking, so you could see one of its most brilliant touches, that it has two aspect ratios (1.66:1 and 1.33:1) [0] depending on the scene, which enhances the "rewsreel" effect, as if unrelated stock footage were spliced together. i believe the only home video version that faithfully reproduces this is the criterion dvd, done so at kubrick's explicit demand.

      The cinematography overall is brilliant, which is a hallmark of his movies of course, the most famous examples maybe being 2001, and Barry Lyndon, in which he used astrophotographical lenses to capture scenes lit only by candlelight.

      Gil Taylor, Strangelove's DP, was a wartime aerial photographer for the RAF, and went on to shoot Star Wars. [1] Just so many fascinating levels of unique brilliance went into the creation of that film.



      • bmitc 7 days ago
        Oh, interesting! I never knew about the aspect ratio changes. I'm going to have to track a digital version down.
    • pdpi 7 days ago
      It's a testament to Peter Sellers's skills that you can genuinely fail to notice that he plays three major characters.
      • dmitri1981 7 days ago
        According to his biopic he was originally slated to play Major Kong as well, but struggled to make the character work. Which is just as well since Slim Pickens is of the great highlights in the film
      • denton-scratch 7 days ago
        That is indeed remarkable. You have to pay attention to notice.

        The guy was a comic; you'd think his performances would be all pratfalls and punchlines. But he was a good actor.

    • danielodievich 7 days ago
      "You can't fight in here, gentlemen, this is the War Room!"
    • Waterluvian 8 days ago
      I think that’s what impresses me most about the film: when it was produced.
      • bmitc 7 days ago
        Kubrick was really insane and decades ahead of his time. Nearly every film he made was the genesis of some genre in the modern era.
        • denton-scratch 7 days ago

          Spartacus: Swords and sandals.

          Paths of Glory: WW1 anti-war.

          Strangelove: I don't know what genre that was.

          2001: Space opera.

          A Clockwork Orange: Dystopian sci-fi.

          Barry Lyndon: Picaresque costume drama.

          I haven't checked, but I think the gaps between his movie releases roughly doubled with each release.

          There are some scenes in these movies that scream "Kubrick". There always seems to be a perspective shot in which the camera is pointing down the centre of some tunnel or corridor. In Paths of Glory it's a trench; in 2001, it's the aisle of the shuttle. It's usually some grand corridor.

    • candiddevmike 7 days ago
      General Ripper would fit right in today if you replaced Russia with the "Deep State".
      • thakoppno 7 days ago
        Sterling Hayden, who plays General Ripper, kind of steals the show for me in Dr. Strangelove.

        There are other top notch performances but I’ve always loved his scenes with Sellers as the RAF officer trying to reason with his madness.

        The film is my favorite and George C. Scott deserves a ton of credit too. Slim Pickens is incredible as well. If there’s one character that is a bit over-the-top for me it’s Dr. Strangelove himself. It’s a close call but I wonder if the film could still work without some of the mein furher, involuntarily nazi salute stuff.

        • pdonis 7 days ago
          > I wonder if the film could still work without some of the mein furher, involuntarily nazi salute stuff.

          That part is funnier if you recognize that the main real life person that Dr Strangelove was a spoof of was Wernher von Braun. (For more insight into the joke, listen to Tom Lehrer's song about Wernher von Braun.)

  • js2 7 days ago
    Fun fact: Fail Safe was released the same year as Dr. Strangelove by the same studio. Directed by Sidney Lumet, it’s also about nuclear war. It’s a fine movie in its own right. From the Wikipedia:

    > Fail Safe so closely resembled Peter George's novel Red Alert, on which Dr. Strangelove was based, that Dr. Strangelove screenwriter/director Stanley Kubrick and George filed a copyright infringement lawsuit. The case was settled out of court. The result of the settlement was that Columbia Pictures, which had financed and was distributing Dr. Strangelove, also bought Fail Safe, which had been an independently financed production. Kubrick insisted that the studio release his movie first.

  • oriettaxx 7 days ago
    was he Henry Kissinger?


    but he really looks like :)

  • MichaelMoser123 7 days ago
    I keep wondering about them using the song by Vera Lynn in the final scene: "We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when".

    When and where exactly were they supposed to meet? In a fallout shelter? In the afterlife?

    • amiga386 7 days ago
      I'm fairly certain it's ironic juxtaposition. We'll Meet Again was a massively popular wartime song, sweetly sentimental, asking people to keep their spirits up, giving them hope their loved ones will come back after the war and all will be OK. The montage of explosions is a visual bombardment with a diametrically opposed message. It's the perfect combination.
    • chriswarbo 7 days ago
      It would not be difficult, M̶e̶i̶n̶ ̶F̶ü̶h̶r̶e̶r̶ @MichaelMoser123!

      > I would not rule out the chance to preserve a nucleus of human specimens. It would be quite easy...heh, the bottom of ah...some of our deeper mineshafts. 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.

  • DrNosferatu 7 days ago
    One of my favorite films of all time - seen it as a kid of 8 and loved it already. After, the additional meanings started to trickle-in as I rewatched it getting older.

    Peter Sellers is pure genius x3... (he was supposed to have EVEN more characters, but Kubrick finnaly settled on 3)

    "Precious bodily fluids"...

    and so many more...

    Legend has it that Slim Pickens ("Maj. Kong", the B52 commander) was playing his character straight and not told that the film was in fact a comedy during the whole shoot.

    PS: Couldn't help myself enough to the "Ms. International Affairs" pun while in Erasmus.

    • DrNosferatu 7 days ago
      Purely sociological question:

      - Is it me or, the..."magic" of Dr. Strangelove appeals mostly to us men?

      Or are there any women also quite enjoying it?

      • thakoppno 7 days ago
        In some previous article/thread on Dr. Strangelove someone mentioned it was his wife’s favorite movie.

        The posted video mentions there’s only a single female role in the film, Tracy Reed as Miss Scott, General Turgidson's secretary and mistress.

    • DrNosferatu 7 days ago
      I guess a more recent film is almost impossible to make you feel the same "feeling" again when watching it. But close calls I would say would be:

      - Wag the Dog (1997)

      - In the Loop (2009) [the closest, in my opinion]

      PS: The Death of Stalin (2017) and Don't Look Up (2021) also try, but I think they don't manage to get that close.

      I would also say that Coen brother's works, also of high quality and appealing to a similar-minded crowd, though are completely different animals.