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Dr. Strangelove is a 1964 movie that was produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. It is a black comedy whose story line is remarkably close to the much more serious movie Fail-Safe. Dr. Strangelove is based on the serious novel Red Alert by Peter George. Kubrick decided to turn the story into a comedy.
Peter Sellers plays three people in this film. He’s Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, President Merkin Muffley and German born scientist Dr. Strangelove.
The story shows the absurdities of the nuclear arms race and officials of both The United States and The Soviet Union are presented almost as comic caricatures of highly placed government bureaucrats.
The story opens with Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden), Commanding General of Burpelson Air Force Base ordering his B52 bombers, which are at their fail safe points, to attack the Soviet Union. He then orders his base sealed off and all outside communications cut off.
Meanwhile, on board the B52 Leper Colony, Major Kong (Slim Pickens) is reading Playboy and napping when he’s informed by the radio operator that they’d just gotten a message of their CRM-114 receiver that decoded as Wing Attack Plan R. At first the Major doesn’t believe it but soon verifies the message himself.
One person to look for in the airplane scenes is James Earl Jones in his first movie role. He plays Lieutenant Luthar Zogg, the bombardier.
President Merkin Muffley meets with generals and other government officials in the War Room. One of the more interesting characters in the movie is Air Force General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott). He admits to the president that, while there seems to be a slight flaw in Plan R, the plan itself is basically sound. He continues to defend the policies and procedures of the armed forces even while the planes are on their way toward the Soviet Union. He advises the president to send in even more planes since there doesn’t seem to be any way of recalling the first group.
The president orders the army to attack Burpelson Air Force Base and to get General Ripper to call him. Since the base is on Condition Red, it is defended by security personnel against any and all attempts by any unit to gain entry to the base. General Ripper himself pulls a machine gun out of a golf bag and orders Group Captain Mandrake to help him repel the army attack. Mandrake, meanwhile, tries to get Ripper to tell him the recall code for the bombers but Ripper refuses.
The president, while talking to the Soviet Premier, discovers that the Russians have built a doomsday machine that will automatically trigger itself in the case of nuclear attack, spreading Cobalt Thorium G around the world, killing all plant and animal life. The Soviet Ambassador explains that they built it because they’d read in The New York Times that the U.S. was working on one and they were afraid of a doomsday gap. The president assured him that it wasn’t true.
The army took over Burpelson Air Force Base. Mandrake has figured out what the recall code is and he contacts the president ant the Pentagon he and his generals have been trying to help the Soviets shoot down the bombers. The recall prefix is OPE, a variation of Purity of Essence that General Ripper was so worried about. He felt that the communists were sapping the precious bodily fluids of everyone in the country through the fluoridation of water.
The recall code works for all the bombers except the Leper Colony. A missile exploded near the plane, causing the CRM-114 to self-destruct. Since the officials know where it’s going, they assume they can knock it down. They don’t know that the plane is losing fuel and has to divert to the nearest target of opportunity. Naturally, they get through and drop a nuclear bomb.
Dr. Strangelove suggests a plan where they could preserve the human race by building a community of a few hundred thousand people in a space created in one of our deepest mine shafts where they would have to live for 100 years. General Turgidson, still worried about the Russians, suggests that they can’t allow a mine shaft gap.
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General Ripper: “Has the wing confirmed holding at their fail safe points?”
Captain Mandrake: “Yes, sir. The confirmations have all just come in.” (62K)
General Ripper: “It looks like we’re in a shooting war.”
Captain Mandrake: “Oh, hell.” (46K)
Major Kong: “Well, boys, I reckon this is it. Nuclear combat toe-to-toe with the Russkies.” (76K)
President Muffley: “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the war room.” (31K)
President Muffley: “He went and did a silly thing. Well, I’ll tell you what he did. He ordered his planes to attack your country.” (123K)
Soviet Ambassador: “The doomsday machine.”
President Muffley: “The doom….The doomsday machine? What is that?”
Soviet Ambassador: “A device which will destroy all human and animal life on earth.” (108K)
Radar Operator: “DSO to Captain. I have an unidentified radar blip.” (42K)
Radar Operator: “Confirmed. Definite missile track. Commence evasive action right.” (49K)
Colonel Guano: “What kind of suit do you call that, fella?”
Captain Mandrake: “What do you mean ‘suit’? This happens to be an RAF uniform, sir.” (75K)
Major Kong: “At this height, why they might harpoon us but they dang sure ain’t going to spot us on no radar screen.” (61K)
Colonel Guano: “I think you’re some kind of deviated prevert. I think General Ripper found out about your preversions and that you were organizing some kind of mutiny of preverts. Now move. (101K)
President Muffley: “Dimitri, I’m sorry they’re jamming your radar and flying so low but they’re trained to do it. You know, it….it….it’s initiative.” (72K)
Navigator: “Navigator to Captain. Approaching target at distance one-zero miles. Switch from green grid to target orange.” (114K)
Major Kong: “Stay on the bomb run, boys. I’m going to get them doors open if it hare lips everybody on Bear Creek.” (60K)
click here to view the script for this movie.