or how I learned to stop worrying and love the BOMB
Dr. Strangelove is considered by many veterans to be the most
accurate film every made about SAC, at least in terms of depicting
air crews and how they respond to adversity. Of course the
pilot, Major Kong (King Kong), played by Slim Pickens, wears a
cowboy hat. It does not contain any whining wives, but does
address the insanity of the Cold War.
It begins with a B-52 on airborne alert.
The 24 hour flights were really boring! Slim Pickens is almost
asleep. Another crew member has his feet propped up while he scan
the latest issue of Playboy.
Meanwhile, back at their base, the wing
commander, Major Jack E. Ripper, played by Sterling Hayden, has gone
mad. Seems as if his sexual performance fell below customary
standards and this led him to conclude it was the result of fluoride
being added to our water. He is convinced it is part of the
communist conspiracy to take over the world. n our water. He
responds by ordering the six bombers of his wing on airborne alert
to attack the Soviet Union. He then calls SAC headquarters and
tells the duty officer what he has done, then adds, "You can stop
them, so you'd better send the rest of SAC in after them."
| The scene
then switches to the Pentagon's huge underground War Room, a murky,
cavernous room with a round conference table and a massive graphic
display strategic map lit to indicate the progress of the bomber
wing planes to their Russian targets. Lights illuminate the room
from above in a circle, casting a glow over the assembled egghead
'Adlai Stevenson-like' President, Merkin Muffley and his
idiosyncratic advisers at a huge round table. The President and his
advisers, scramble to stop the impending nuclear Armageddon.
Unfortunately, the bombers are ordered to maintain radio silence and
the only man who can recall the planes is the insane general Ripper.
The versatile English actor, Peter Sellers, plays
Major Mandrake, an RAF attached to General Rippers headquarter, the
President and Dr. Strangelove.
Muffley then consults with a wheelchair-bound
German nuclear scientist (ex-Nazi "kraut" formerly named
Merwerdich-liebe, literally meaning "strange-love") and U.S. weapons
strategist, Dr. Strangelove. With thick dark glasses, Strangelove,
director of weapons research and development, also has a
black-gloved mechanical, robotic right hand which shakily holds his
cigarette. Strangelove, who epitomizes the mad scientist is often
unable to control his body, especially his arm which jumps to
attention at inopportune moments.
Finally retaking the base, British exchange
officer, Lionel Mandrake discovers the code to withdraw the B-52's
and prevent the triggering of the "Doomsday Device." However one
B-52 was damaged and it never receives the recall order. Unwilling
to concede defeat the crew of the "Leper Colony" flies under radar
cover to its target, only to be unable to launch its missiles.
Finally, riding the missile to its target in Russia, Major Kong,
exemplifies the American cowboy image. Unable to stop the Doomsday
Device, the movie ends with numerous shots of mushroom clouds set to
the light World War II song, "We'll Meet Again."
Quotes from the film
|Dr. Strangelove: Based on the findings of the report, I
concluded that such a device would not be a practical deterrent for
reasons which at this moment must seem all too obvious.
Ripper: Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenseau once said
Mandrake: No, I don't think I do, sir, no.
Ripper: He said that war was too important to be left up to
the generals. When he said that, 50 years ago, he might have been
right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They
have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic
General Turgidson: Tell you what you do, baby: you just
start your countdown, and old Bucky will be back before you can say
General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, do you realize that in
addition to fluoridating water, why there are studies underway to
fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk... ice cream.
Ice cream, Mandrake, children's ice cream.
Group Captain Lionel Mandrake: Lord, Jack.
Ripper: You know when fluoridation first began?
Mandrake: Aye, no, no. I don't Jack.
Ripper: Nineteen hundred and forty-six. Nineteen forty-six
Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy,
huh? Its incredibly obvious isn't it. A foreign substance is
introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of
the individual. Certainly without any choice. That's the way your
hard-core Commie works.
Mandrake: Uh, Jack, Jack, listen, tell me, tell me, Jack.
When did you first...become...
well, develop this theory?
Ripper: Well, I, uh...I...I...first became aware of it,
Mandrake, during the physical act of love.
Ripper: Yes, a uh, a profound sense of fatigue...a feeling of
emptiness followed. Luckily I...I was able to interpret these feelings
correctly. Loss of essence.
Ripper: I can assure you that it has not recurred, Mandrake.
Women uh...women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I do
not avoid women, Mandrake.
Ripper: But I...I do deny them my essence.
Major T. J. "King" Kong: Goldie, how many times have I told
you guys that I don't want no horsing around on the airplane.
Major T. J. "King" Kong: Now I've been to one world fair, a
picnic and a rodeo and that's the stupidest thing I've heard come over
a set of earphones. Are you sure you got today's codes?
Major T. J. "King" Kong: Now boys I reckon this is
it...nuclear combat toe to toe with the Ruskies.
Major T. J. "King" Kong: Look boys I ain't much of a hand
at making speeches, but I got a pretty fair idea that something
doggoned important is goin' on back there. And I got a fair idea the
kinda personal emotions that some of you fellas may be thinkin'. Heck,
I reckon you wouldn't even be human beings if you didn't have some
pretty strong personal feelings about nuclear combat. I want you to
remember one thing, the folks back at home are counting on you and by
golly we ain't about to let them down. I tell you something else, if
this thing turns out to be half as important as I figure it just might
be, I'd say that you're all in line for some important promotions and
personal citations when this thing is over with. That goes for ever'
last one of you regardless of your race, color or creed. Now let's get
this thing on the hump...we got some flying to do.
Major T.J. "King" Kong: Well boys, we've got three engines
out, we've got more holes in us than a horse trader's mule, the radio
is gone and we're leaking fuel and if we was flying any lower why we'd
need sleigh bells on this thing...but we've got one thing on those
Ruskies. At this height why thy might harpoon us but they dang sure
ain't gonna spot us on no radar screen!
Mandrake: Colonel! Colonel, I must know what you think has
been going on here!
Guano: You wanna know what I think?
Guano: I think you're some kind of deviated prevert. I think
General Ripper found out about your preversion, and you were
organizing some kind of mutiny of preverts. Now MOVE!!
Mandrake: Colonel...that Coca Cola machine. I want you to
shoot the lock off it. There may be some
change in there.
Guano: That's private property.
Mandrake: Colonel! Can you possibly imagine what is going
to happen to you, your frame outlook way of life and everything, when
they learn that you have obstructed a telephone call to the President
of the United States? Can you imagine?! Shoot it off! Shoot! With a
gun! That's what the bullets are for you twit!!
Guano: Okay. I'm gonna get your money for ya. But if you don't
get the President of the United States on that phone, you know what's
gonna happen to you?
Guano: You're gonna have to answer to the Coca Cola company.
General Jack Ripper: I can longer sit back and allow communist
infiltration, communist indoctrination, communist perversion and the
international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our
precious bodily fluids.
General "Buck" Turgidson: I don't think it's quite fair to
condemn the whole program because of a single slip up.
General "Buck" Turgidson: I'm not saying we wouldn't get
our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million
killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.
Major T. J. "King" Kong: Survival kit contents check. In
them you'll find: one 45 caliber automatic, two boxes of ammunition,
four days concentrated emergency rations, one drug issue containing
antibiotics, morphine, vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills,
tranquilizer pills, one miniature combination Russian phrase book and
Bible, one hundred dollars in rubles, one hundred in gold, nine packs
of chewing gum, one issue of prophylactics, three lipsticks, three
pairs of nylon stockings. Shoot! A fella could have a pretty good
weekend in Vegas with all that stuff.
General "Buck" Turgidson: Gee, I wish we had one of them
The President: That's mass murder, not war!
The President: You can't fight in here, this is the War
The President to the Soviet Premier over the red phone:
Hullo? ... Ah ... Hello, Dm... ah ... Hello, Dmitri? ... Listen, ah, I
can't hear too well. Do you suppose you could turn down the music just
a little? ... Oh-ho, that's much better. ... yeah ... ha ... yes ...
Fine, I can hear you now, Dmitri. ... Clear and plain and coming
through fine. ... I'm coming through fine, too, eh? ... Good, then ...
well, then, as you say, we're both coming trough fine. ... Good. ...
Well, it's good that you're fine and ... and I'm fine. ... I agree
with you, it's great to be fine. ... a-ha-ha-ha-ha.
Now then, Dmitri, you know how we've always talked about the
possibility of something going wrong with the bomb. ... The bomb
, Dmitri. ... The hydrogen bomb! ... Well now, what happened is
... ah ... one of our base commanders had a sort of ... well, he went
a little funny in the head ... you know ... just a little ... funny.
And, ah ... he went and did a silly thing. ... Well, I'll tell you
what he did. He ordered his planes ... to attack your country... Ah...
Well, let me finish, Dmitri. ... Let me finish, Dmitri. ... Well
listen, how do you think I feel about it?! ... Can you imaginehow
I feel about it, Dmitri? ... Why do you think I'm calling? Just to say
hello? ... Of courseI like to speak to you! ... Of courseI
like to say hello! ... Not now, but anytime, Dmitri. I'm just calling
up to tell you something terrible has happened... It'sa
friendly call. Of course it's a friendly call. ... Listen, if it
wasn't friendly ... you probably wouldn't have even got it. ... They
will not reach their targets for at least another hour. ... I am ... I
am positive, Dmitri. ... Listen, I've been all over this with your
ambassador. It is not a trick. ... Well, I'll tell you.
We'd like to give your air staff a complete run-down on the
targets, the flight plans, and the defensive systems of the planes.
... Yes! I mean i-i-i-if we're unable to recall the planes, then ...
I'd say that, ah ... well, ah ... we're just gonna have to help you
destroy them, Dmitri. ... I know they're our boys. ... All right, well
listen now. Who should we call? ... Who should we call, Dmitri?
The ... wha-whe, the People... you, sorry, you faded away there. ...
The People's Central Air Defense Headquarters. ... Where is that,
Dmitri? ... In Omsk. ... Right. ... Yes. ... Oh, you'll call them
first, will you? ... Uh-hu ... Listen, do you happen to have the phone
number on you, Dmitri? ... Whe-ah, what? I see, just ask for Omsk
information. ... Ah-ah-eh-uhm-hm ... I'm sorry, too, Dmitri. ... I'm
very sorry. ... All right , you're sorrier than I am, but I am
as sorry as well. ... I am as sorry as you are, Dmitri! Don't say that
you're the more sorry than I am, because I'm capable of being just as
sorry as you are. ... So we're both sorry, all right?! ... All right.