You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

AFF Panel: Deconstructing ‘Dr. Strangelove’

Editor’s note: This article was originally published October 25, 2013

Deconstructing ‘Dr. Strangelove’

Friday at 9 a.m. in the Driskill Hotel, Maximilian Room

Alvaro Rodriguez, Kirk Ellis

Panelists Rodriguez and Ellis, who know way too much about “Dr. Stranglove,” showed scenes from and discussed the film.


The part of the Major T. J. “King” Kong was offered to Dan Blocker (“Bonanza’s” Hoss) who turned it down.

The film was shot in late 1962 and was then completely re-edited after the John F. Kennedy assassination. The panelists also noted that it was less than a year later that LBJ’s infamous Daisy campagin commercial, which they called “very Kubrickian,” was aired.

Rodriguez and Ellis agreed that films have come more primitive since the days of “Strangelove,” due to modern studio invovlement. Whereas “Strangelove” was insular, showing decision-makers completely cut-off from the populace and reality, a modern studio, they said, would force filmmakers to show a normal family and how it was affected by the war as well. The movie, they said, took place in a “rarified space.”

They suggested that the closest thing we now have to the sensibility of the movie comes from the Coen brothers, in their cold visual style and careful craft.

The film was originally supposed to end with a massive pie fight in the war room. The scene was shot over two weeks, the actors ultimately covered head to toe and slipping around the room. The scene was cut, the panelists said, because it didn’t work, being the one overtly funny scene in the film. Kubrick wanted to get war, but ended up with the keystone cops.

Another interesting note is that, until Kubrick brough writer Terry Southern onto the film, one idea was to make it a “found footage” movie (think “The Blair Witch Project”) with aliens discovering it amongst the wreckage of the Earth’s destruction.

Like most films, the panelists noted, the tone of the movie was decided in the editing room.


“When people looked at the rushes for ‘Smokey and the Bandit,’ I’m sure they thought it was hilarious. ‘Dr. Strangelove’ is so funny because everybody played it so straight.”

“There’s a story that when Ronald Reagan was elected to the White House, he asked them to take him to the war room. He thought it was a real place because of the war room in ‘Strangelove.’ “

“If you take the sound away, this becaomes a very scary, noir-ish scene.”

“Nobody had attempted to do this kind of film since Preston Sturges.”

“We don’t have film-makers at this level today willing to push boundaries.”

“It’s easy for us to decry censorship, but the kinds of barriers (Kubrick and his contemporaries) faced made them very creative.”

” ‘Dr. Strangelove’ is a deeply serious film you can’t stop laughing at.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Movies & TV

The savory side of carrot cake
The savory side of carrot cake

When I was a child, I wanted carrot cake for every birthday. I wasn’t a fan of bakery cakes, expertly plastered with supersweet butter-free frostings in pastel colors. (I did like the realistic decorative little roses, though.) Those fine-crumbed white or yellow cakes did not have much appeal for me, somehow both dry and gummy. Carrot cake, on...
Can this meal kit change your view of convenience cooking?
Can this meal kit change your view of convenience cooking?

I’ve been more than a little incredulous about meal kits. My biggest complaints have been that they are expensive and not environmentally friendly. I’m not paying $8 or $12 per serving for a meal unless someone else is cooking it, and those bulky boxes weighed down with ice packs are so heavy to deliver to my doorstep. When I opened a recent...
8 upcoming galas: Austin’s social scene goes on temporary summer break
8 upcoming galas: Austin’s social scene goes on temporary summer break

July 29 An Evening with Jackson Galaxy What: Shadow Cats’ 20th anniversary benefit will include a vegan or vegetarian dinner, live music, auction and a keynote talk from cat whisperer Galaxy. Cost: $125 tickets; sponsorships start at $1,500 Where: Austin Marriott North, 2600 La Frontera Blvd., Round Rock Information:
Potato salad with a side of family politics
Potato salad with a side of family politics

When I was growing up, there were really only two kinds of potato salad: Your mama’s and my mama’s. Whether vinegar-, mayonnaise- or mustard-based, warm or cold, my mama’s was always better than your mama’s. More than one family meal has been tarnished by the argument. No matter how tiny the sweet onion was minced, your baby...
More events for Wednesday, June 28, and beyond

Film 101X Summer Cinema. The film series continues with “The Big Lebowski” at its new home of Stubb’s Austin. The movie will start when it gets dark, but come early with your lawn chairs and blankets to get a good seat. Those 21 and over can also enjoy $5 16 oz. Blue Moon cans. You know the movie, right? “I’m the Dude...
More Stories