The Cold War concept of Mutually Assured Destruction (M.A.D.) held that if the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. maintained more atomic weapons than they could ever need, neither would dare start a war for the simple reason that there would be no survivors.
But filmmaker Stanley Kurbrick wasn't having any of that. The idea that more atom bombs made us safer is mercilessly satirized in his 1964 film Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, screening on Sunday, February 24, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch as part of the Movies That Matter film series.
Scripted by Terry Southern and performed by a brilliant cast (Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Slim Pickens, Keenan Wynn), Dr. Strangelove employs absurdism to punch holes in the ideas behind the Cold War.
A paranoid Strategic Air Command general launches a sneak attack on the Soviets. The story alternates between the War Room where the brass are desperately attempting to turn around our airplanes and a bomber whose crewmen are determined to see their mission through to its fissionable end.
With Sellers playing three characters - a British officer, the anemic President of the United States, and the titular Dr. Strangelove (a former Nazi scientist) - the film plumbs the depths of military madness.
Introductory and closing remarks are provided by Robert W. Butler, for more than 40 years film critic of The Kansas City Star and now a member of the Library's public affairs staff.
Admission is free. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407.
Other titles in the series:
March 10: The Circus (1928)
March 24: Rear Window (1954)
April 7: Wings of Desire (1987)
April 21: Singin' in the Rain (1952)
May 5: Sunset Boulevard (1950)
May 19: Metropolis (1927)