Blu-ray Review: Dr Strangelove: or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Stanley Kubrick is without doubt one of the greatest film makers of the 20th Century. Whilst the image of Alex or his fellow droogs causing havoc in A Clockwork Orange remain the most iconic, films such as Full Metal Jacket, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining and Spartacus are as feted today as they were upon release. However, Dr Strangelove: or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is in my opinion his greatest triumph.

When General Ripper (Sterling Hayden) goes rogue, issuing Wing Attack Plan R and ordering Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers) to lock-down the air force base which houses Strategic Air Command, it sends shockwaves through the Pentagon. In the War Room, General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott) and President Merkin Muffley (Sellers) are trying their best to prevent Armageddon. Meanwhile, on the way to dropping the bomb, Major T. J. “King” Kong (Slim Pickens) is determined to do his duty for his country.

At the heart of Dr Strangelove is Sellers who, harking back to his greatest performance in Kind Hearts and Coronets, takes on the roles of several characters; most notably as the eponymous title character. The humour is madcap and oddball and it all amounts to one of the greatest comedies ever made. The writing is ingenious and the sheer weight of acting talent ensures that it remains a classic until this day.

Special Features:

  • Restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray
  • New interviews with Stanley Kubrick scholars Mick Broderick and Rodney Hill; archivist Richard Daniels; cinematographer and camera innovator Joe Dunton; camera operator Kelvin Pike; and David George, son of Peter George, on whose novel Red Alert the film is based
  • Excerpts from a 1966 audio interview with Kubrick, conducted by physicist and author Jeremy Bernstein
  • Four short documentaries, about the making of the film, the sociopolitical climate of the period, the work of actor Peter Sellers, and the artistry of Kubrick
  • Interviews from 1963 with Sellers and actor George C. Scott
  • Excerpt from a 1980 interview with Sellers from NBC’s Today show
  • Trailers
  • Plus: An essay by scholar David Bromwich and a 1994 article by screenwriter Terry Southern on the making of the film

Dr Strangelove: or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is released on Blu-ray by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment as part of the Criterion Collection on Monday.

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