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How to learn to stop worrying and love the Bomb January 27, 2007

Posted by Jeff in "Reality has a well-known liberal bias", 1961 through 1989, Movies.

In these days of sexual and political repression, let us praise the Citizen Kane of American poiltical and sexual satire: Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (1964).

At the age of eleven …

I was enough of a Peter Sellers fan to convince my parents to let me see this in its first run — I was a little young to understand the sexual innuendo. It is, of course, a Sellers festival. It’s generally known that Sellers was originally slated to play Major “King” Kong, although explanatons vary as to how Slim Pickens ended up cast in the role. As good as Pickens is, I’d love to think what Sellers would have done with this:

JFK was assassinated during the making of the movie, and so a reference to Dallas was changed to Vegas. Did you recognize Lt. Zogg, the bombardier? It was James Earl Jones’s first movie.

Later, U.S. President Merkin Muffley (Sellers) has a conversation on the hot line with the unseen Soviet Premier Kissoff, along with Ambassador DeSadeski (Peter Bull) and General “Buck” Turgidson (George C. Scott):

As the destruction of civilization seems assured, Dr. Strangelove (Sellers) has a plan:

We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day
Keep smiling through, just like you always do
Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away
So will you please say hello to the folks that I know
Tell them I won’t be long
They’ll be happy to know, that as you saw me go
I was singing this song…

— sung by Vera Lynn; music by Ross Parker and words by Hughie Charles

Tracy Reed, the girl in the bikini in the first scene with George C. Scott, was the only woman to appear in the entire movie. A former Playboy Playmate, she was the stepdaughter of Carol Reed, who directed The Third Man.

With a small handful of exceptions (Wag The Dog comes to mind), American movies haven’t been this daring about poiltical issues in forty years.

This is my attempt.

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