Movies/Entertainment,  Off the Shelf

Groovers & Mobsters Present: “The Dark Comedy”

As per the gracious invite by Fandango Groovers and Movie Mobsters, we present Go,See,Talk‘s review of “Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb“. Each month, special guests are asked to participate topic at hand. This month’s topic is The Dark Comedy. Click the graphic above to check out the other guest’s entires.

“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the War Room.”

In terms of dark, I’m not sure it gets any more gloomy than the thought of national and global annihilation and worse, the inability to prevent such an attack. But if you can find humor in the darkest of places, you can bet on finding it here. Yet for a story depicting an inescapable end of days, the characters here-in (when all else fails) take a surprisingly humorous “hey there’s a bright side to this” mentality. Bright side? Really? The unexpected humor is a result of the morbid hilarity that comes from actually having to deal with such inescapable events. Sellers and the crew are in top form, adding levity to the situations, even when their lines really are meant to be serious.

In Dr. Strangelove , the U.S. Military has been sent into a mad dash to counter-act the events caused by an insane base commander. He has initiated “Attack Wing Plan R”, a preemptive strike against a Russian sneak attack…only the Russians haven’t attacked. The film follows the events of the President and the country’s top generals in a War Room trying to abort “Plan R” and the one B-52 team which cannot be reached for recall. To make matters worse they learn the imminent attack on Russia will trigger their secret “Doomsday” device. That tamper-proof device will unleash nuclear fallout and the end of the world…well, for the next 93 years anyway. “The whole purpose of a Doomsday device is lost, if you keep it a secret!! Why didn’t you tell the word!?”

Peter Sellers (playing 3 characters, including the zany titular Dr. Strangelove) has never been funnier. Each of his three characters tries to “right the boat” but to no avail. An equally funny George C. Scott, in the wake of the coming disaster, still tries to maintain his composure and U.S. supremacy even though neither has much time left. Further if a film features characters named Commander Jack D. Ripper, and Col. Bat Guano, you’ll come to find rampant insanity hiding in every corner of this film. Yet none more so than the attempts to soften the mushroom cloud apocalypse with the song “We’ll Meet Again”. If that’s not darkly humorous, I don’t know what is. A simulcast of seriousness/lunacy abounds and the whole ride is about as wild as Slim Picken’s rodeo swan song.


  • Heather

    George C. Scott is one of those actors that I just simply love. Great writeup Marc, and thanks for contributing this month. It wouldn’t have been the same without some Dr. Strangelove to make everyone scratch their heads.

    • Marc

      Thanks Heather! A little off kilter and not for everyone I must admit but for those who “get it” it is pure movie gold!

  • Castor

    Cool article. I will be linking to this post when Dr. Strangelove makes it appearance in the 2nd round of the comedy tournament!

    • Marc

      I bet it will go far…can’t wait to see how this develops. Again kudos for setting it all up. A daunting task but it seems to be going very very well so far. Congrats!

  • Peter Eramo Jr.

    Nicely done! Sellers is unbelievably good here. It is one of film’s greatest dark comedies ever. And yes, Heather…Scott rocks in this one. I catch something new every time I watch it. Just read a great article on all of the sexual references in the film too…opened my eyes to it as I never realized how many there were. Kubrick was a true auteur and this is one of his very best!

    • Marc

      Thanks Peter! Not a big fan of Kubrick but I just love this. Strange how I can find a majority of some directors’ work not very appealing but just adore one of their films.

  • Klaus

    Dr. Strangelove is such a great film, and definitely one of all-time favorites.

    And, if you haven’t already seen it, take a peek at the other cold-war doomsday film that was made that year: “Fail-Safe” by Sidney Lumet. The similarities to Strangelove are striking, except for the comedy – it’s pretty much the same movie – but more frightening.

    • Marc

      Never heard of it but I think I’ll stick with Strangelove. Although being a Sidney Lumet film, I’m interested to check it out. Thanks for the heads up!

      • Klaus

        Fail-Safe was far too bleak for audiences during the 1960s, and probably is even today. Despite it’s lack of recognition, it’s definitely worth a look. The lawsuit for plagiarism is also an interesting element to the history of these films.

  • mcarteratthemovies

    Marc, you have shamed me sufficiently. I still have not seen this movie! I’m such a slacker, I know!