When revisionists strike…

Posted by · 8:29 pm · June 21st, 2009

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the BombDon’t hurt yourself, Dave Kehr:

For all of his technical brilliance, Kubrick had no discernable sense of humor and many of the gags in “Strangelove” — from the broad puns of the character names to the overdrawn figures of Peter Sellers’s Strangelove and Sterling Hayden’s Gen. Jack D. Ripper — seem less funny as their audacity has drained away. Lines like “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!” now seem more labored than deliciously droll.

Steeped in the improvisational ethic of the early ’60s (Nichols and May, the Second City) the film may be at its best in those low-key moments when Sellers, playing the American president Merkin Muffley, chats nervously on the hot line with the unseen Soviet premier — moments that owe everything to Bob Newhart’s classic telephone routines. “Strangelove” is a rare case of a film that has become a classic more for marking the end of an era (of high cold war paranoia) than initiating a new one.




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5 responses so far

  • 1 6-21-2009 at 8:41 pm

    david said...

    Kubrick definitely had a keen sense of humor…and Dr. Strangelove is a classic for any era.

  • 2 6-21-2009 at 9:07 pm

    Mr. Milich said...

    Dave Kehr must’ve eaten too much fluoridated children’s ice cream…

  • 3 6-21-2009 at 9:30 pm

    Mr. Milich said...

    Or…

    If Dave Kehr failed to achieve an erection, he wouldn’t launch a nuclear war. It would be just like any other day for him.

  • 4 6-22-2009 at 5:05 am

    limeymcfrog said...

    When critics attack classic films, it is quite often the critic who suffers the most damage.

  • 5 6-22-2009 at 8:36 am

    El Rocho said...

    I agree with limeymcfrog. Strangelove will always be a classic. I always thought Kubrick had a great sense of humor. Very dry, but very funny. He was an intelligent man. And funny. So say it’s droll is one thing….to say he’s not funny is another.