Lauren Kolsum on Dr. Strangelove
Dr Strangelove is a well made dark comedy, with the insane characters being what makes the film so effective. They demonstrate how military officials act in war sitsuations to the extreme, the very extreme. Dr. Strangelove definitely made its point as a dark comedy, I do not think it would have done well as a serious film. The Americans have the most over the top protrayal including general Ripper and General Turgetson, you give them a little power and the run off with it, blowing it out of proportion. It is like they believe blowing everything up and shooting everyone down is the most sensible option. The overdramatization is what makes Dr. Strangelove a dark comedy. I recall General Ripper announcing to his men "Shoot first and ask questions later," this theme of trusting no one plays throughout the film. My point is also reinforced when he whips out his machine gun from a golf bag and shoots from his office like a madman. General Turgetson protrays a typical ego driven American with his agressive violent nature that presents itself under the extreme pressure of Plan R. He wants to strike with nuclear bombs and has no problem that "10-20 million people tops" would die in the process. It would be a small sacrifice to pay to save the American way of life. "Bat Guano" is also one to take his position both too far and too seriously. While he will shoot to kill people at the drop of a hat he hesitates to shoot a Cocacola machine for 55 cents, saying its private property! He does not trust Mandrake and won't listen to his reasoning as if he sees Mandrake as inhumane. All he does is follow orders, no questions asked "Don't try any preversions or I'll blow your head off." Yet another comedic character is the hysterical Dimitri, the phone conversations between Dimitri and the president are both ineffective and unprofessional. The president clams his call to be friendly with the basic message being that the US mistakenly ordered planes to attack his country, Woops! It was obviously just a small slip up, no biggie.
While all these characters are definitely crazy, they are also hilarious in their rigidity and stubborness. The humor comes from their over the top personas, they are lovable lunatics. They are effected so entirely by their ego and militant position that they are blind to any other way of thinking. General Ripper has some far fetched theories on our precious bodily fluids and he seems to be the only one that knows what the hell he is talking about. Turgetson is also pretty spastic and overreactive to be a general, who are usually composed individuals who think things through. Guano's tendancy to act on orders like a robot, unaffected by emotion is an overdramatization of the sodiers of war. The characters are who they are, unchangeable stubborn individuals that make the movie what it is. A great, timeless satirical film.