Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Kubrick: Will Dr. Strangelove Survive The Test Of Time?

Some time ago, I ran across an article which opined that Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 classic Dr. Strangelove would remain popular forever. I don’t buy it... not at all. To the contrary, I think Dr. Strangelove and Kubrick are both fading fast.

The article in question begins with the author stating that Dr. Strangelove is now 50 years old and just happens to be a film the author “constantly revisits” as a “favorite cinematic exercise in Kubrick’s storied career.” The author then notes that the purpose of their article is to “highlight those elements” of the film which provide the film with “its continued relevance to a post-Cold War society” and basically to explain why this film will remain popular forever.

Ultimately, however, the author comes up with little to nothing. Indeed, while at first glance the author appears to identify several elements which could arguably support the idea that the film could remain relevant and funny to future generations, it quickly becomes obvious that the author has simply repeated one idea over and over and over: this film will last forever because Kubrick used dark humor to parody something which scared the author and his friends... the potential of nuclear war being caused by crazed (American) leaders. But that point is a faulty point.

Here are the arguments given by the author:
(1) Kubrick’s use of humor and satire to tell a Cold War story was bold and innovative... a Cold War story, people!... a scary Cold War story about nuclear war!!... told with humor!! That’s fricken BOLD!!;

(2) Kubrick did this when Cold War saber-rattling was at its worst and terrified us all, ergo it was SUPER BOLD;

(3) the book this film was based on was a serious book, but Kubrick turned it to satire... a BOLD choice!!!; and

(4) Kubrick pokes fun at the military’s “mindless patriotism” and suggests that “warmongering is the business of men with sexual inadequacy issues,” thereby turning an anti-military indictment into a parody!
As I noted, however, each of these arguments is ultimately the same idea, that Kubrick was brilliant to use parody to address a topic which scared us then and continues to scare us today. But that’s wrong. Indeed, for his thesis to work, the author assumes that we are all terrified by the idea of crazed, incompetent Americans starting an insane nuclear war with the Russians. But that’s just not true.

The Cold War is dead and gone and younger generations don’t care about it. It is ancient history to them. They do not hate or fear the Russians, they never saw a Soviet, they don’t understand the ideological goals of communism nor have they seen it backed by military muscle, and they never grew up worrying about a nuclear exchange. Even my generation didn’t see nuclear war as something to worry about. We didn’t see it happening and if it did, there was nothing we could do about it. So at best, we were fatalists – something you see reflected in much of 1980's culture. And few Americans ever bought into the idea that our military is bloodthirsty or wants a nuclear war. So the author's premise that these issues resonate with us all is flat out wrong.

Nor can I say that Kubrick has done anything uniquely interesting in attacking a serious subject with satire. The author seems amazed by this, but I can name a dozen earlier films that did the same thing, like Chaplin’s The Dictator. And there have been others that followed, like Spies Like Us. So Kubrick’s film hardly stands out as unique in that regard. Moreover, Kubrick’s parody feels dated today as the modern military simply doesn’t look or act like the one being parodied, as the Russians are no longer the threat they were – in fact, nothing has replaced their omnipresence as an existential threat, and as many of the gags feel like they would no longer work in the age of computers and cells phone and live-satellite surveillance.

All in all, when I look at Dr. Strangelove, I see an interesting historical curiosity that was well done and deserves to be seen as a classic, but has no punch today. There is nothing about this film that feels the least bit relevant today, the gags feel dated and oft-copied, and none of the key elements that make this film work feel like they could happen today.

Moreover, I am starting to see Kubrick’s star fading. Indeed, while Kubrick was once seen as having entered the pantheon of eternity as one of the greatest directors of all times, since his death, he seems to be slipping fast into the ranks of good, but not-divine directors.

Why do I say that? Well, one way I judge longevity is by paying attention to how often films end up on television and how often they get referenced throughout the rest of the culture. A decade ago, Kubrick was everywhere. His films were a regular staple on various channels... A Clockwork Orange, 2001, Spartacus, The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, etc. were on every week. Sitcoms, other films and politicians referenced them. They were parodied by other films. New films by Kubrick were an event. And Kubrick’s name automatically came up without dissent in discussions of the best directors ever.

None of this is true anymore, however. Outside of The Shining, few Kubrick films get much play these days. I can’t think of the last politician or political cartoon to mention his films. No one parodies his films anymore. And, since his death, he seems to be increasingly forgotten in the discussion of the great directors ever, with people being more interested in discussing whether Christopher Nolan and James Cameron should be on the list.

Now don’t get me wrong, as I’m sure some are already planning, but I’m not saying that Kubrick has been excised from the culture or that Dr. Strangelove will never be seen again. I’m sure he will always remain on the lists of film buffs and his films will continue to find a home on “classic” channels. But what really I’m saying is that Kubrick seems to have fallen a notch from the eternals to the really good, and his films now seem like a thing of the past rather than an influence on the present and something to be passed on to the future. And like it or not, I just don’t see Dr. Strangelove continuing to relate to future generations as it has no relevance to their lives.

Thoughts?

32 comments:

Koshcat said...

The movie probably means more to babyboomers and possible gen x than other later generations. I was always worried about nuclear war but may have been due to growing surrounded by missile silos.

The movie may return in a different role to future gens perhaps as a commentary about a specific time. I still find much of it entertaining if not over the top. The president apologizing to the Soviet for having a rouge plane still cracks me up.

"of course I'm sorry. I really am..."

AndrewPrice said...

Koskcat, I am seeing this as a generational film too (and Kubrick as a generational icon as well), which wasn't something I realize before.

As an aside, I am not saying this is a bad film. I enjoy it a lot. There is a lot that still makes me laugh out loud. I just don't see the staying power that I thought the film had even as little as 2-3 years ago.

ScottDS said...

[through gritted teeth]

I’ll come back to Strangelove later.

Regarding Kubrick, I disagree with you 1000%. Yes, I’m biased, but I think he is one of the greats and is in no danger of being demoted from that list.

His films are still referenced - maybe not as often as they used to be, but The Simpsons just referenced him yet again. A cursory glance at IMDb reveals that Full Metal Jacket has been referenced several times in just the last couple of years in everything from Magic Mike to Edge of Tomorrow to TV’s Veep. Type “Kubrick” on Google News and you’ll find articles from as recently as last week! Not bad for a guy who died in 1999!

Eyes Wide Shut is currently on HBO’s schedule again. The Shining airs on cable at least once a week. Full Metal Jacket airs on cable at least once a month. Filmmakers can’t make a historical epic without some critic making reference to Spartacus. Ditto “hard” sci-fi and 2001. Ditto Vietnam and Full Metal Jacket. And yes, ditto political satire and Strangelove. I’ve seen the word “Kubrickian” used in articles, a la “Hitchcockian.” I can mention Kubrick by name to my family and co-workers and they know who I’m talking about. Try that with Robert Bresson or Louis Malle!

There continue to be midnight screenings and museum exhibitions. Students and researchers flock to the Kubrick Archives at the University of Arts London. WB just released yet another boxset of Blu-Rays with new extras, which they wouldn’t do if those movies didn’t make money. Many of Kubrick’s collaborators were recently interviewed for an independent documentary on the history of Elstree Studios. Not to mention the bizarre Room 237 documentary which played at festivals over the last couple of years!

Internet nerds continue to write articles and produce art based on his work. The excellent fan/archive site theoverlookhotel.com was active as recently as a month ago. A cursory glance at Amazon reveals more books on Kubrick awaiting release. Alex North’s original 2001 score was recently given a limited edition release on vinyl! The artist at the excellent website Zen Pencils recently did a wonderful tribute to him. And it’s safe to say new generations will continue to discover him.

Check and mate, sir. :-)

Jim said...

I'll concur with ScottDS. 2001 is still a standard by which Sci-Fi films are still measured against even though current films are nothing like it. FMJ has a place alongside Apocalypse Now as one of the TWO Vietnam War movies (though R. Lee Ermey deserves some credit for that). I still see a Clockwork Orange reference at least weekly. I think Kubrick will continue to be relevant for some time even if some of his films fall out of favor.

Oliver Stone on the other hand...

ScottDS said...

Jim -

Sadly, Oliver Stone will most likely be remembered for his political weirdness than for any of his actual movies (Platoon and JFK being the most likely exceptions).

PikeBishop said...

"Eyes Wide Shut" pops up pretty regularly on movie channels, but perhaps appropriately so on late night, where it's gratuitous skin shots and laughably overplayed sexuality, fits right in between "Co ed Confidential" and "Christine Nguyen takes her clothes off in a _______" film of the month.

I've also seen Barry Lyndon a couple of times, usually during the day.

Tennessee Jed said...

I agree with Koshkat's comments. For those of us that were alive and old enough to see this movie, the threat of weapons of mass destruction was something new and different. In modern times, that ante has been upped as the potential for suitcase dirty nukes has arisen. That era, when Vietnam was happening was rife with anti-war films such as MASH.

As far as Kubrick, he reminded me of the Beatles in '64-'65. You looked at the top 40 hit list and the top songs were all Beatles, and you went, WOW, these guys are special. Most entusiastic but amateur fans such as myself were more centered on the film's stars than the director. But somebody all of a sudden listed Kubrick's films, and you kind of said, yeah they were all "notable."

To me anyway, I give Kubrick credit for the following. He was willing to tackle subjects that, at the time, were less conventional. He also was willing to tackle different styles and genres. Some worked (Spartacus, Barry Lyndon, 2001) and some did not (Clockwork.) He tackled The Shining which I thought would be impossible to do on film. People can agree or disagree about how successful he was. Full Metal Jacket was his answer to Platoon, and despite some great acting in that film, it didn't seem as real as Oliver North's "Platoon".

Will he last? Who knows. The nature of films, with re-makes, re-boots etc. almost insures that eventually memories will recede.

There are two films which I almost always will switch on when I come upon them while surfing.I do this even though I own Blu-Ray editions of both. They are The Godfather and Ben-Hur. I like William Wilder, but not so much Coppola. So who knows, in the end.

Anonymous said...

(I apologize for errors, I'm no native speaker)

I agree with one thing: Brian Salisbury doesn't do a very good job explaining why Dr. Strangelove is such a great work of art. But really, you didn't pick up the substance of the film, "the potential of nuclear war being caused by crazed (American) leaders" that is not even beginning to scratch the surface.

Obviously, one would have to write more than just one book about it, but let me just hint at some themes that are relevant today, in the future, as long as humans exist and even beyond:

- It is a satire about people in power, about dynamics of power. About incompetent politicians, about the damage of hysterics to democracy.
- It exposed some Military policies that were in effect. Although it was denied at the time, we now know through declassified papers that almost everything shown in Strangelove could have happened (just google, there are some recent articles about that).
- It is a satire about political correctness (think about the crew in the plane and their actions). Yes, a satire about political correctness from 1964!
- It is a study about Morality. What is moral, where does morality come from, do we respect others as human beings or only as objects of our desire. The hypocrisy of claiming Morality comes from a god or the bible. Think about Turgidson and his scenes...
- It hints at Project MKUltra, a secret mind control program of the CIA that was conducted with the help of former Nazi Scientists (that is a historic fact well documented!). Think about Dr. Strangelove, think about General Ripper, he has seen too much, he picked something up and now he knows whats going on, so he goes crazy (just look at the lightning of the film - Ripper is literally enlightened). Fun fact: MKUltra was reduced in scope in 1964! Kubrick also picked up on mind control later, for example in ACO.
- It is a fascinating study about systems theory both on a technical and a psychological level. You will pick up on this if you study systems engineering or something like that (which I have). Think about the elements and the interfaces, the communication and it's effects. The sophistication of the film on that aspect alone is flabbergasting. Systems Engineering was developed right at that time!
- It is about the effect those engineered machines will have. Computers having total information about humans, deciding which humans are worth to live. A perfect fascist system through technology. Society is just today starting to realize this - think about the NSA.
- It is a philosophical treatise about life itself, about intelligence anywhere in the universe. The seed of life (water) is madness, Cycles of Creation and Destruction ruling everything...

There is much more, I'm only scratching the surface here. And I haven't even started writing about aesthetics...

ScottDS said...

Pike -

I'd say Eyes Wide Shut is a little more than that. :-) I have no idea what, but it's more. And sadly, it's rather tame compared to some of the stuff on the premium channels today. (For instance, unlike the latest Girls episode, Eyes Wide Shut has no gratuitous scenes of analingus.)

I could go on about the women of Co-Ed Confidential but I won't. ;-)

Tennessee Jed said...

I noticed, back when we used to have the Sunday topics that films that come to people's minds almost always reflect their age. So that list of who is great is a moving target. Some of the younger participants look back to the 90's and 80's as "the golden age" while for others of us, it seems like they are "modern." It is the nature of the beast. Maybe in 50 years, people will look back at any film that isn't set in 360 degree surround ultra 3D holistic participational 8K resolution as unwatchable other than as an abject lesson in primitive history of film making.

Anonymous said...

(Again, I apologize for errors, I'm no native speaker)

I mean really? Nothing relevant today?

What about torture? Is it ok to torture someone to save lives (Ripper)? But is it acceptable then, to kill millions (Turgidson) to save lives?

Watch the film. Watch it with your brain turned on. Think about the portrayal of communication in the film. Watch the human spirit even overcoming failures of technology to destroy all human life. See Dr. Strangelove lurking in the shadows when Turgidson calls in the moment of a seemingly rescued world for prayer. Think about rationality, how it is employed and what its effects are. You may realize that the film can be used as a way to understand reality and human nature.

Dismissing Kubricks films in the manner here seen is just ignorant. There isn't even a need for you to discuss 2001 in the context of Nietzsche or Flusser, Barry Lyndon with regards to Schopenhauer or Full Metal Jacket in relation to Jung but appealing to the opinions of uneducated People, who are "discussing whether Christopher Nolan and James Cameron should be on the list" of great directors ever as some sort of authority is highly dubious. Sorry, when you are talking about great directors ever that means people like Kubrick, Bergman, von Sternberg, Ozu, Tarkovsky, Angelopoulos, Bresson or Welles.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Nuh uh! ;-) LOL!

In all seriousness, let me point out that (1) I am a fan of this film, (2) I am a fan of Kubrick, and (3) until recently, I had never doubted either this film's or Kubrick's staying power.

That said, however, it really does strike me that since Kubrick's death, his relevance to the public/culture has become increasingly more isolated in fan outlets rather than the culture generally. If find it surprising, but I see evidence of it.

And then this article came along and did such a poor job of explaining why this film supposedly would last forever, which I just don't see, that I felt I had to write this article and see what people thought.

As for which of us is right, it's obviously impossible to tell, but I suspect that you will be surprised in a few years how much Kubrick has "vanished."

AndrewPrice said...

Jim, I would expect that Kubrick's name will continue to get play, especially with fans and film buffs, for many more years. But I think his influence on the culture at large is vanishing fast.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott and Jim, Stone has been hurting his legacy for some time now by releasing a series of just plain lousy, uninteresting films.

AndrewPrice said...

PikeBishop, Most of his films can still be found from time to time on the movie channels or the classic channels, but that is quite a difference from when these films were on cable channels like TNT regularly. I think it reflects the changing audience that is being exposed to these films, which will ultimately isolate his works increasingly to the realm of fans.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, It is always hard to predict the future, especially about something as ephemeral as what will influence the public in the future. To me though, the signs are there that Kubrick's reach into the culture is suddenly fading. And in that regard, I think his connection to the Boomers plays a part. He is clearly an icon to Boomers, but not so much to the younger generations, and as the younger generations begin to control the culture, his films aren't as meaningful to them... hence, they are fading.

ScottDS said...

One could argue that films in general won't be as meaningful to younger generations. I've said it before - I wouldn't be surprised if film (or at least going to the movie theater) becomes a niche thing like opera at some point in the future. Everyone else will be content to stream cheap entertainment onto their devices.

But I can also say there's definitely an interest in Kubrick among us older millennials (I say older to differentiate myself from, say, high schoolers).

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, "the potential of nuclear war being caused by crazed (American) leaders" seems to be the only point Brian has taken from the film, as each of the points he raises seems ultimately to be that idea just involving different aspects of the film.

In terms of the issues you raise, I don't disagree that many of those can be found in the film, but ultimately I'm not sure they resonate with modern audiences because the ultimate setting doesn't feel real to us today. In other words, try this: imagine that this film had never been made and a bright young filmmaker came to you today and wanted to make this same film set in 2015. In that situation, do you think modern audiences would respond to the new film?

Personally, I doubt they would because there just isn't enough in this film that relates to our modern view of the world so that people would accept the underlying reality of the premise. In other words, the film doesn't offer an underlying base that is sufficiently real for people to see the film as being able to offer a genuine criticism of today. Without that, the film is less of a parody and more of just a pure farce.

On the other hand,the film could be seen as an historical critique, but if that is the case, then modern audiences are even less likely to apply the film to their own lives. Indeed, audiences seem to like to use historical films as a way to make themselves feel superior to the past.

So ultimately, I'm not sure the film resonates today even if it does touch upon some ideas that do have relevance in the modern world.

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, Unless I'm mistaken, I don't think Ripper goes insane because he sees too much. The implication of the film is that Ripper goes insane because he suffers from impotence, which he blames on the Russians putting fluoride in the water.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Eyes Wide Shut really was a failure. I've tried many times to get something out of that film and it just doesn't seem to offer anything. It's like something key vanished in the editing.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I think that's very true. People tend to be most influenced by things they see in their late teens and early 20s, which then shape their worldviews.

That said, what interests me and why I wrote this article is this: there seem to be a select group of actors/films/directors who have transcended this generational issue and have come to be seen as recognized by generation after generation as timeless/the best. John Wayne, Alfred Hitchcock, and Star Wars are examples of this.

Prior to his death, I would have put Kubrick and this film in particular into that group of timeless icons. But since his death, his influence seems to be fading, as does the status of this film. I'm not saying people suddenly think he's a bad director or that his films stink. What I am saying is that the interest of the public at large in Kubrick and this film seem to be fading unexpectedly.

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, You have misunderstood my point. I'm not saying this isn't a good film or that Kubrick isn't a great director. What I am saying is that he seems to have fallen short in terms of entering the public's perception as timeless. Certainly there are and will be people who put him in that category of one of the greatest ever and will continue to do so, but it strikes me that the public has dropped him a notch in their estimation since his death.

Tennessee Jed said...

you may well be correct, Andrew, but I am not closely enough attuned to say one way or the other. I can tell you most of his films have been on in the past year, but I don't scan the movie channels closely enough, and the films that seem to be on most often are films like Home Alone 2, Weekend at Bernies, and Saw 3. Westerns are a whole separate genre, and there haven't been many in 50 years.

I can say that Spartacus, Barry Lyndon, and 2001 all hold up well, at least for me, and I like the Shining a whole lot more now than when it came out. None of those films looks or feels dated the way, say, Strangelove does.I can also say, I slept through Clockwork in the theater when it came out, and when it was on t.v. not too long ago, I tried to watch it, couldn't so I realized what I had not been missing all through the years. I suspect the film buffs will still consider him to be a film maker of historical importance.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Throughout the years, I have repeatedly learned to always look for the truth by coming at an issue sideways. If you just look at what people claim, then you would believe that everyone loves opera, classical music and classic movies. No one buys porn. No one drives drunk etc. Yet, the facts show the opposite of each of these statements. Hence, you need to look for truth in other places... places that show actions rather than words.

Lee Atwater used to say that if you want to know what Americans are thinking, read the Enquirer. Financial guys look to things like electricity usage or empty parking spaces rather than reported data. Follow the money to find the leading political candidates or consumer preferences, etc. Each of these principles and more have helped me predict a good number of cultural and political changes.

What this means here is that I look to places you wouldn't expect to help me understand where our culture is going. If you go to AFI, then you will see exactly what you expect, because they know that giving people what is expected is necessary for their credibility -- hence the same films will forever be at the top of their list. Ditto on polls, where people will report what they think others want to hear. Ditto on press releases which look to make a company sound smart. Etc. These are useless in my book.

Hence, I instead look at things like television ratings and how eager television channels are to show films. That tells me if anyone is really watching. I look to see if comedians reference the film/show in their acts or if politicians borrow dialog or ideas from them. Again, that tells us if the public at large has become interested in the item. I also look at the number of knock-offs and how long they run to see how strong the market is to continue the experience. Etc.

What has struck me about Kubrick is four things: (1) his films have disappeared from the easy access/heavy rotation channels like TBS/TNT. They now appear much more rarely and tend only to appear on specialty channels like HBO classics or Turner classics. That tells me the audience for those films has changed. (2) Quotes like "open the pod bay doors, Hal" were things you would hear said by comedians, politicians and even normal people from time to time as a humorous reference. I don't hear that anymore. That suggests a "forgetting" or a fading of interest. (3) I do meet a lot of people in different generations and Kubrick seems to be entirely absent from the younger generations. That means a generational shift is coming. And (4) the newest sci-fi films are making references/homages to more recent films instead of his. That seems to suggest that even filmmakers have moved on.

This was surprising to me when I realized it. Hence, the article.

shawn said...

Strikes me the lack of seeing Kubrick movies or references to them as the simple progression of time. I remember seeing the Hope & Crosby "Road" pictures quite often, now I have to break out my dvds if I want to see them.

Also, much of Kubrick's work is slow and methodical in pacing. Not something desired by our short attention spanned youth. If a scene doesn't cut to a new shot in 5 seconds or less, kids switch to their phones to see if their facebook has updated.

And finally, comedies have a short replayability as the humor ceases to funny after repeated viewings.

Brn said...

I'm always surprised when discussions of Kubrick never mention my favorite of his films: Paths of Glory. I enjoyed so many of his films, but after all these years (and increasingly so in the years since his death), it is the only one that I really want to watch again and again.

Tennessee Jed said...

shawn - I like the way you phrase the issue with comedies. After enough repeated viewings, humor does cease to be funny. Probably the best way to determine how good it is would be measuring how long before that ocurs.How many great commercials make you laugh, but eventually piss you off after seeing it 50 times in a week. A comedy ritual that lasted an incredibly long time was Christmas Vacation, but eventually, I watched it a few years ago, and all the great old laugh lines went flat.

Kit said...

I'm a millennial and I like Dr. Strangelove. Of course, I am a bit of a history buff so I probably understand more of the jokes. (Who my age would get the fluoridated water joke?)

ScottDS said...

Kit -

Other than myself, no one! :-)

Kit said...

Scott,

So, two millennials who know about the fluoridated water controversy.

Kenn Christenson said...

Always thought "Eyes Wide Shut" looked like a film made by a director who had been in suspended animation since 1969. All the elements meant to shock us - would have shocked a '60's audience, for sure - but today - not so much. And the masks they wore in the secret society - ever seen the last episode of "The Prisoner" - not very original. And, then, there is the stilted dialogue - again, the way people talked in the movies back in the '60's.

John Jameson said...

Don't let a bad review ruin your movie...
Or: How I learned to stop worrying about how "important" Kubrick is and just enjoy his films.

Over the winter solstice holidays, I watched 2001 A Space Odyssey in HD. Although I've seen the film several times, it had been a while since I last saw it, and I was blown away by its amazing conception, cinematography, construction and symbolism. I was also amazed by how little it had dated, how well it compares to more recent sci-fi: the effects are convincing, and where its predictions have not already been realised, they still look like plausible futures. I also found the final sequence more compelling than ever before.

2001 remains the sci-fi space movie against which others our judged, from Solaris to Interstellar. It is not a verbal film, and "Open the pod bay doors Hal" has never been major quote currency (Hal has the best quotes anyway). But the ideas and visuals are frequently imitated and referenced, from cosmic alignments to the dangers of AI. It is hard to overestimate the influence of this movie!

Now what about Dr Strangelove? I am more Generation X than Baby Boomer, so by the time I saw the film in the 1980s, the Cold War was hardly terrifying at all. Was the movie lost on me then? No more so than a movie about the Second World War, or indeed the Roman Empire: we learn a lot from history, and I simply don't get the premise that people can no longer relate to the Cold War because they haven't experienced it. Even at the time of release, the movie came with a disclaimer from the Air Force that the events depicted could not happen. As with 2001, much of Dr Strangelove is allegorical, and does not depend on personal experience of the setting. It is a wonderful political satire, packed with the kind of humour that survives repeat viewing really well, including the amazing three-fold performance of Peter Sellars, and George Scott's hilarious General. "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room."

In addition, the film popularized the notion of a Doomsday Device, created a frequently imitated mad Nazi stereotype, and captured the paranoia about communism of the McCarthy era.

Apparently, though, the star of this movie is waning, because it doesn't appear very often on mainstream networks. Well there is a simple reason for that: it is is black and white! People rarely watch b&w movies these days (although my other winter treat was the awesome "Brief Encounter" by David Lean) - why bother when there are so many good movies in color? On top of this Dr. Strangelove is not a vehicle for some famous American actor, making it more surprising if it does get shown than if it doesn't.

So is Kubrick's proverbial star waning? I can see that point that the Baby Boomer generation might have over-rated him as their voice in film, and he did not make so many movies, especially after the 1960s. Beyond that I start to become confused about the issue: is the issue about Kubrick's "importance" as a film artist, or about his appeal to the mainstream?

Frankly though, I don't give a damn. The Kubrick movies that I know are awesome, and my main response to this review of a review is that I can't wait to see Dr Strangelove again.

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