Dr. Strangelove

The 1964 Dr. Strangelove is now closer to the onset of the Cold War (the 1948 Berlin blockade) than we are today from its 1989 demise, when the Berlin Wall came down. The antic black comedy by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with Terry Southern, is a keepsake from an age when nuclear annihilation threatened to arrive each day with the morning papers. (So, too, is LBJ's nuclear countdown "Daisy" ad from the same year.) Potential armageddon was just another daily fact of life. Today, 48 years later, no one worries about a rogue American general (cue Sterling Hayden) commandeering some A-bombs. And Putin's Russia only cares about wealth, not kilotons and megadeaths. All our modern worries come from small, smeared spots on the map—not like the majestic, high-tech clarity of the B-52 paths charted in Kubrick's war room. With Peter Sellers playing three roles in the film, Dr. Strangelove reads almost like a farce from the dinosaur age: Were the planes really that big? Did we really employ former Nazis? Were women just playthings? And were we really that insane? The answer on all counts is yes. Movie screens at midnight. (PG) BRIAN MILLER

Fri., May 4; Sat., May 5, 2012

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