Before taking this class I only knew Stanley Kubrick by one movie. That movie was Dr. Strangelove. I was able to watch this in a film theory class here at NIU. This movie itself gave me a sense of Kubrick himself. The shot composition, dark humor, and ability to have such dedicated characters.
I want to dedicate this blog to the sole movie, Dr. Strangelove. I want to look at certain aspects of the film. The shot composition, dark humor, and the odd character of Strangelove himself.
Kubrick’s shot composition in this movie goes along way to how he wants audiences to see his work. One particular shot that I thought was interesting was when they introduced Dr. Strangelove in the end. The shot starts off with Dr. Strangelove moving towards the camera from a dark cloud. It is hard to see him, and then he slowly becomes visible as he gets closer. I find this interesting because of his oddly, dark character already. Kubrick used a lot of dark humor in this movie, and I have a feeling that he might have carefully chose to have Dr. Strangelove come in really dark the way he did. The different angles of this scene were unique to really understand his character. The close-ups, to the wide shot, to the shots of everyone watching him embarrass himself with the Hitler references.
Another aspect that I found interesting about Kubrick’s directing is his use of dark humor. In Dr. Strangelove, there are many examples that help make the audience laugh. This dark humor is used to almost distract a serious issue going on at the time in this movie. In one scene that most of the class laughed at the most was when General “Bat” was more worried about the after math of shooting the Coca-Cola machine than calling off the nuclear attack. Goes to show that Kubrick never feared humor with a serious object. Another example of Kubrick’s dark humor was when Major Kong promised promotions to his crew once the mission was over. Turns out this mission doesn’t end well, in which the crew barely will be able to receive anything since the explosion.
Dr. Strangelove came off as a very odd character to me, so I decided to look into his background. Dr. Strangelove was based on four famous German scientists and political figures. His character had traces of rocket scientist Wernher Von Braun, military strategist Herman Kahn, Manhattan Project kingpin John Von Neumann, and hydrogen bomb designer Edward Teller. Peter Sellers who was Dr. Strangelove took on a role of four characters in this movie. Sellers was demanded to play these characters, and in my eyes he played these characters well. Dr. Strangelove was a strange man, but he had a background full of scientists that created him.
Overall, Dr. Strangelove was a movie that I would definitely tell others to watch. The shot composition, dark humor, and dedication of certain characters helped make this film one of my favorites from Kubrick.