In 1968, four years after the release of Dr. Strangelove, Stanley Kubrick proved with 2001: A Space Odyssey that while he may have been a master of potent images, he could have trouble providing potent context. With Strangelove, he had achieved both. The film is bookended by two scenes that are among the most recognizable in cinema — the mating ritual of two Air Force bombers and Slim Pickens riding a hydrogen bull straight into ground zero. Even now, the film remains uproariously funny and terribly disturbing despite what might seem to be insurmountable ties to its historical period. Kubrick’s depiction of power and its players is impressively thorough, from the obsessive attention paid to the bombers’ gadgetry to the panicked response of General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott) upon the arrival of the Soviet ambassador in the War Room. Kubrick exposes the absurdity and paradoxes not only of nuclear strategy, but of other zero-sum games like sex, politics and capitalism. Dr. Strangelove, of course, still boasts brilliant performances. While Peter Sellers dominates the film in his three roles as president, RAF commander and the title character, with every viewing Scott seems to steal more and more scenes. Both a testament to Kubrick’s abilities and a sad reminder of Hollywood’s current vacuum, the 43-year-old Dr. Strangelove — digitally restored and presented in brilliant 4K digital projection — just may be the summer’s best film. (The Landmark)

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