Monday, June 1, 2009

Quotes from the bomb

An argument I have heard in the past, but only occasionally agree with, is that a movie is only as good as its quotes. Though Dr. Strangelove is more than the sum of its parts, one can't ignore the dialogue when searching for the soul of the movie.

A fine quote for the era of the film's setting is "deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy...the FEAR to attack." Perhaps if we applied this philosophy, Hitler would not have run such a muck. Fear, as we all know, is one of the most powerful weapons an army can possess. It is the only real reason that the final scene was not ours. Strangelove later argues that the Doomsday machine should have been announced to the world.

For all the polygamists at heart, there is "the ratio of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn't that necessitate the abandonment of the so-called monogamous sexual relationship." As Mr. Bennet mentioned, this movie is all about sex. The point of sex is to reproduce, which is the point of life, from an evolutionary stand point. Perhaps this is Stanley Kubrick's philosophy on love (With eccentric films like "A Clockwork Orange", "The Shinning", and "2001: A Space Odyssey", it would not surprise me).

The capitalist can appreciate this one: "Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face?"
Like much of the film, this is a satire. Fluoridation is one of the most harmless communist concepts that exists. Because it is a public project that would influence everyone in a given nation. It is merely the level of control that would frighten the die hard anti-red person. The fear discussed in the first quote is responsible for both the inability to attack and the desire to do the opposite.

Finally, the historian gets a bone too: "[C]ome over here, the Red Coats are coming!" Ironically, the color of the enemy that began and ends our existence is red. The director chooses this line, probably to show how our roles as the victim, and now the bully, has changed over the centuries. We are the ones attacking the Russians and we have the nerve to call them red coats, though we technically did that to them too, but we had better reasons.

What I can gather from these quotes is that "How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb" is a satirical, yet deep film. Though it pokes fun at the military institution of the 1960s, it also puts it in perspective.


  1. I honestly think this is the best written screenplay of all time. There isn't a single line in this movie that isn't completely perfect. I don't care how extreme that sounds.

  2. I thought this was a great post Dominic. To comment on your statement about the red coats, we started off fighting a war against the imperialistic Great Britain and ended up fighting a war against the extremely powerful communist regime. It seems, though, that in reality we were fighting against the same criminal, any nation that proved detrimental to our independence.

    The 10 women to 1 man ratio was not a favorite part of the movie. But I guess, men are allowed to dream of the impossible, especially in our era. :)

    When Mr. Bennett pointed out the sexual innuendos throughout the movie, I was slightly exhausted from the endless obsession with sex that many film makers have. I understand that it is a large percentage of human existence, but there are other themes that can be used as an inspiration for a movie.

    Also, I thought the acting in this movie was absolutely phenomenal. It is clear while watching a scene from the movie (especially those that take place in the war room) that the actors were completely absorbed in their characters and were comfortable to freely experiment with improvisation.

  3. Excellent post, Dominic. I have to apologize to you for not responding to your posts more frequently. I read them all, and found them interesting, and different, in a good way. For some reason, they sometimes do not move me to comment. Perhaps I figure that you've said it best and I needn't add nor detract.

    But, it wouldn't kill me to simply say, "word" or "true dat" or every teacher's very favorite comment, without which the entire course of civilization would change, "very good."