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DR. STRANGELOVE The Facts

Based on the novel "Two Hours to Doom" and originally conceived as a tense thriller about the possibility of accidental nuclear war. Director Stanley Kubrick was working on the script when he realized that many scenes he had written were actually quite funny.

 
In the novel by Peter George the two H-bombs are named Hi There! and Lolita. Two years earlier, Kubrick directed Lolita (1962)! The graffiti on the second bomb is "Dear John" in the movie.

Peter Sellers based Dr. Strangelove's strangled accent on the voice of Weegee, the famous German-born crime photographer of the 1950's whose name was given by New York police due to his uncanny ability to show up at murder scenes before they did. Sellers heard Weegee talking during an on-set visit and adopted his strange German accent for the title character.

Peter Sellers was cast in four roles, but experienced problems when trying to develop a Texas accent for Major T. J. "King" Kong. After sending Kubrick a letter informing him he would be unable to play the part under any circumstances, he "fortunately" broke his leg while exiting his car. Despite doubts over the legitimacy of the injury, Kubrick was forced by the production's insurance company to find another actor. Convinced that nobody could have acted the part as well as Sellers, Kubrick decided to cast someone who naturally fit the role. Remembering his work on the western One-Eyed Jacks (1961), Kubrick cast Slim Pickens as Kong, the gung-ho hick pilot determined to drop his bombs at any cost. Pickens was never shown the script nor told it was a black comedy; ordered by Kubrick to play it straight, he played the role as if it were a serious drama - with amusing results.

Major Kong's plane's primary target is an ICBM complex at "Laputa". In Jonathan Swift's 1726 novel "Gulliver's Travels", Laputa is a place inhabited by caricatures of scientific researchers.

The photographic mural in General Ripper's office, presumably showing an aerial view of Burpelson AFB, is actually a view of Heathrow Airport, London.

General Turgidson (George C Scott) was not scripted to fall over in the war room when he gets excited, but when it happened, Kubrick decided it was in character, and left it in.

The name of the message decoder "CRM-114" is reused in the director's A Clockwork Orange (1971) where the main character is being given "Serum 114".

When Dr. Strangelove is talking about the doomsday device, Turgidson says, "Strangelove. What is that, German?" The reply he receives is "He changed his name; it was originally Merkwurdigliebe" which in German means Strangelove.

Kubrick intended the film to end with a custard pie fight between the Russians and the Americans in the War Room (which is why we see a big table of food there). The footage was shot, but he decided not to use it because he considered it too farcical to fit in with the satirical nature of the rest of the film.

Another reason for cutting the custard pie fight at the end of the film was that at one point, President Muffley took a pie in the face and fell down, prompting Gen. Turgidson to cry, "Gentlemen! Our gallant young president has just been struck down in his prime!" Kubrick had already decided to cut the pie fight before the Kennedy assassination, but this line (or possibly even the whole sequence) would certainly have been cut due to its eerie similarity to real events.

Major Kong's comment about the survival kit ("a fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff,") originally referred to Dallas instead of Las Vegas, but was overdubbed after President Kennedy's assassination in Dallas.

Some references show the date of this film as 1963. Its world premiere was scheduled for December 12, 1963, but following John F. Kennedy's assassination on November 22, it was felt to be inappropriate to release such a film so soon afterwards, so it was not shown until January 1964.

The centerfold in Major "King" Kong's copy of Playboy is Gen. Turgidson's secretary, Miss Scott.

Facts courtesy of Internet Movie Database and Columbia Pictures.
 

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