An Analysis of a Political Satire: Dr. Strangelove

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Stanley Kubrick’s sexual parody, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, illustrates an unfathomed nuclear catastrophe. Released in the midst of the Cold War, this 1964 film satirizes the heightened tensions between America and Russia. Many sexual insinuations are implemented to ridicule the serious issue of a global nuclear holocaust, in an effort to countervail the terror that plagued America at that time. Organizing principles, such as Kubrick’s blunt political attitudes about the absurdity of war and the satirical genre, are echoed by the film style of his anti-war black comedy, Dr. Strangelove. The black comedy follows the story of a paranoid U.S. Air Force Commander, General Ripper, who irrationally orders a group of patrol B-52 bombers to attack their targets in Russia. This character’s full name, Jack D. Ripper, is a parody of the notorious murderer of prostitutes, Jack The Ripper. The duration of the narrative involves the President and military personnel’s frantic effort to abort the attack. In conclusion, a single bomber follows through with the attack, triggering the detonation of Russia’s secret “Doomsday Device” and ending civilization. Kubrick’s derisive attitudes about war and the military are influential to the style of Dr. Strangelove. The setting locations contribute to Kubrick’s sexual allegory. The male-dominated B-52 bomber represents a phallic symbol that is eager to complete its mission and empty its precious load. The circular “War Room” is illuminated with low-key lighting, with a gleaming center of attention besieged by darkness. This represents a dark, enclosed, cave-like environment, where the men conceive their major, independent decisions. In General Ripper’s office, ... ... middle of paper ... ...e black comedy, Dr. Strangelove, incorporates Kubrick’s political beliefs through the film’s distinctive style, utilization of motifs, and the suggested affiliations between war and sex. Stanley Kubrick emotionally distances the viewer from this terrifying issue by illustrating the absurdity of the war. By implying sexual frustration and suppression as a reason for war tension, Kubrick displays a worst-case scenario of the Cold War in comical fashion. Dr. Strangelove is an anti-war satire that implicitly conveys the importance of sexual expression while humorously portraying the worthlessness of war and violence that ravaged the sanity of the 1960s American public. Works Cited Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Columbia Pictures, 1964. Fail Safe. Directed by Sidney Lumet. Columbia Pictures, 1964.
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