Stanley Kubrick's celebrated black comedy classic about an "accidental" nuclear attack was nominated for four Academy Awards in 1964. Created during a time when the paranoia of the Cold War was at its peak, the film still seems surprisingly relevant today. Convinced the Commies are polluting America's "precious bodily fluids"; a crazed General orders a surprise nuclear air strike on the USSR. His aide Captain Mandrake-Peter Sellers furiously attempts to figure out the recall code to stop the bombing. Meanwhile the US President –Sellers again, gets on the hotline to convince the Drunken Soviet Premier that the impending attack is a silly mistake, while the President's advisor (and Ex-Nazi Scientist) Dr. Strangelove-Sellers yet again, confirms the existence of the dreaded doomsday machine—a new secret Soviet retaliatory device guaranteed to end the Human Race once and for all! (Back of the box spin)
The audio for the film is presented in a Mono platform that pushes all of the film's audio material through the center channel. Admittedly, it's a lackluster audio performance but given the source materials for the day, you couldn't have had better. It has been remastered digitally so, the audio is clean and there is only a moment of background hiss that can be heard sporadically throughout the film's presentation. The original aspect ratio for Dr. Strangelove is 1:33.1. As such the director's vision is contained in total on this full frame presentation of the film. The print is incredibly clean with only a couple of scratches of note. The black and white transfer really sparkles in its presentation of the film. Beautiful full frame transfer with no transfer errors to really speak of.
This edition of Dr. Strangelove is loaded compared to the previous DVD entry of this title. For starters, a documentary entitled The Art of Stanley Kubrick from Short films to Strangelove. Roughly 13 minutes in length, it covers interviews with art directors, friends and colleagues of Stanley Kubrick and presents Kubrick's life story if you will, covering his first work in short films, then on to his first major break with a big studio and finally, the coda of films that go to make up the Kubrick legacy.
The next segment is a bit longer (45minutes) and is entitled Inside the Making of Dr. Strangelove.In this documentary among other things it demonstrated that Kubrick was no easy man to work with. He knew what he wanted and he wanted it when he wanted it! It also showed the incredible genius of set designer Ken Adams. One of the integral elements of the story deals with a B-52 bomber and it's interior. Given the sensitive nature of the bomber, the Air Force refused to assist Adams and his crew of designers in their assessment of the planes' interior. However where there's a will there's a way. In doing his research, Adams came upon a novel that described in perfect detail the interior of the bomber. So complete was the description that the FBI became involved in an attempt to determine the source of material for Adams' set design! Lucky for him, it was all above board! Additionally, the story is conveyed about Peter Sellers playing four (4) roles in the film as opposed to the three (3) that currently exist as well as the "pie fight scene" for the ending of the film that exists only in B&W stills of the event. In all, this documentary was exhaustive in its presentation and thoroughly covered all aspects of the film's genesis and final appearance. Very well done documentary.
The weirdest part of the extras segment is the Split-Screen Interviews with George C. Scott and Peter Sellers. Before live links for promotional segments were available, the studios would pre-tape interviews with the actors responding to static questions that an interviewer could time in order to get the needed response and the appearance of a live interview. It's just a strange thing to see people laughing and cajoling in response to nothing.
All of the original advertising/print media is found in the Original Advertising Gallery, and a trailer for the film is included as well. The trailer while 37 years old is still effective in setting the stage for this terrific film.
If you look closely enough, you'll be able to find a misspelled word in one of the title sequences. It's revealed in the second documentary but it's kinda fun to try and locate it yourself.
The animated menus need a nod for originality and kitsch! When you select any of the features on the disc from the main menu, a B-52 flies across the screen and drops a bomb complete with Slim Pickens voiceover! Pretty neat. Additionally, the cover art for the disc as well as the main menu screen is the artwork that Kubrick selected for the film himself.
I must have seen this film 100 times before and never quite got all the gags. However, watching it this weekend I found myself in tears from all the humor found in Dr. Strangelove. This is a very funny movie that any political scientist (like myself) should find enormously funny. Strangelove is classic Kubrick and a definite must for every collection.