Friday, November 11, 2011
Strange...what Love does
11/11/11. Somebody out there was thinking a bomb would fall from the sky. In 1964 that fear of a bomb falling was not too far out there.
Satire, that is, sufficiently accomplished satire, can be the stuff of comic legend. A large part is of course the subject you are skewering over an open fire. Well, in '64 the fire was a kindlin'. & it's heat could be felt all the way from Russia. The Cuban Missile Crisis had just been averted. Nuclear deterrance became a hot topic.
There's something about the time period that always draws sheer fascination from me. The whole absurdity of the duck and cover routine was ripe enough for satire. But moreso is the fear born out of a generation who had just coped with the repressed air of safety during the 50's. An era where the nuclear family didn't have to be a double entendre and M.A.D. was associated with Alfred E. Newman instead of Mutually Assured Destruction. It took a a director to not only muster up enough courage to tackle the situation head on, but with sheer wit and ingenuity.
Strangelove is located somewhere between mad satire and cautionary fable. In a genre filled with many films tripping over their feet and falling backwards, this one has the tact to look into our faces and shout blast off. The concept of being a button away from worldwide nuclear disaster is nightmarish enough. Everything is crystallized when Strangelove gets up and shouts "I can walk!" Only for it to be all for nothing and gone in a flash. I don't think we'll ever get back to satire this daring. This devastatingly clever.
Kubrick would ride that little nuclear warhead all the way down to its target. Where we would meet him again one sunny day in 1968.