As hardcore film geeks might tell you, iconic director Stanley Kubrick (The Shining
, A Clockwork Orange
, Full Metal Jacket
) originally intended his 1964 opus Dr. Strangelove
, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb to be a fairly straight-up adaptation of Peter George’s cautionary thriller Red Alert
But somewhere along the way he completely switched gears and turned the film into a pitch-dark comedy that satirized anxiety brought on by the Cold War. At its core hypothesizing that an unstable American general could order a nuclear attack without consulting the President, the film stars Peter Sellers of Pink Panther
fame as three characters: well-meaning Royal Air Force Captain Lionel Mandrake, unprepared and unqualified U.S. President Merkin Muffley and Dr. Strangelove himself — a former Nazi physicist-turned presidential advisor.
Although initially critiqued as implausible and even dismissed as Soviet propaganda, the classic has not just stood the test of time but emerged as a surreal premonition the New Yorker
outlined in the 2014 article “Almost Everything in Dr. Strangelove Was True.” Hailed by the Criterion Collection as “one of the fiercest satires of human folly ever to come out of Hollywood,” Dr. Strangelove comes to light at the McNay in conjunction with local filmmaker AJ Edwards’ politically leaning stint as curator of the museum’s Get Reel film series.
Free, Thu Dec. 20, 7pm, McNay Art Museum, 6000 N. New Braunfels Ave., (210) 824-5368, mcnayart.org.
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