Stanley Kubrick: "Dr. Strangelove"

Essay by paulsannaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 2007

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Stanley Kubrick's movie Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stope Worrying and Love the Bomb is based upon the thriller novel Red Alert by Peter George. In his book the author describes the fear of many Americans. A theme that was hot since the beginning of the cold war and got even hotter after the Cuba crisis in 1962 when the world stood at the edge of destruction. The book is about an almost unchained atomic war and its avoidance in the last minute . If Kubrick would have followed George's pattern the movie would approximately look like this: Because of a misunderstanding or a crazy idividual the superpowers reache the brink of an atomic war. In the very last moment staid politics and haeroic fighters can avoid a disaster. This is the material out of which Hollywood made hundreds of eposes until today. The question is: If there would be staid politics and generals leading our superpowers, could the world ever come into such a situation? In this question lies the up-to-date potential of Kubrick's movie.

Our society is not dominated by a fear of atomic war anymore, but the people sitting in the international headquarters today are the same as were the people during the cold war. The madness does not lie in a single person, but in the system itself. "Could there be something more absurd then two superpowers ready to erase humanity, because of a hap-hazard," Kubrick must have asked himself before shooting the movie. On the instant he must have seen the impossibility to let reasonable figures act on this fundament. There was only one possibility to emphasize the system's dementia, to portray it in the whole extent of its cynanthropy. Therefore the only adequate form for the subject was the satire. The paradoxicality...