That Dr. Strangelove scene where the U.S. President phones Russia about an imminent air strike


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/07/that-dr-stranglove-scene-wher.html


#2


#3

“History repeats itself… first as tragedy, then as farce”

Though in this case the order seems to have been reversed.


#4

Decades later and the only implausible part of the whole scene is that the president is apologetic.


#5

Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!


#6

Fail-Safe, every time…

The President (Henry Fonda) Buck, I’ll talk to the Soviet premier now. You’ll translate what he says to me. He’ll have his own translator telling him what I say… but I want something more from you.
Buck (Larry Hagman) Yes, sir, whatever I can do.
The President (Henry Fonda) The premier says what he means… but sometimes there’s more in a man’s voice than in his words. There are words in one language that don’t mean the same in another. You follow me?
Buck (Larry Hagman) I think so, sir.
The President (Henry Fonda) It’s very important the premier and I understand each other. I don’t have to tell you that. So I want to know what he’s saying and what you think he’s feeling. Any inflection of his voice, any tone… any emotion that adds to his words… I want you to let me know.
Buck (Larry Hagman) Yes, sir. I’ll do my best.
The President (Henry Fonda) I know you will. It’s all any of us can do. Don’t be afraid to say what you think. Don’t be afraid all this is too big for you. It’s big, but it still depends on what each of us does. History lesson number one. I’ll talk to Moscow now.
Operator: It’s the premier, sir.
The President (Henry Fonda) Mr. Chairman, this is the president of the United States. Do you hear me clearly?
Buck (Larry Hagman) (translating for Soviet leader) Fine, Mr. President. How are you?
The President (Henry Fonda) I’m calling you on a matter of great urgency. I hope it turns out to be a small matter… but it’s the first time it’s happened. If it’s misunderstood, it could be…
Buck (Larry Hagman) (translating for Soviet leader) Does it have to do with the aircraft… we have detected flying towards Russia?
The President (Henry Fonda) Yes, Mr. Chairman.
Buck (Larry Hagman) (translating for Soviet leader) I suppose it’s another of your off-course reconnaissance flights. Mr. President, we have warned you repeatedly… that this constant flying of armed aircraft…
The President (Henry Fonda) This is a serious mistake. I say, it’s a mistake.
Buck (Larry Hagman) (translating for Soviet leader) Very well. Tell me the mistake.
The President (Henry Fonda) A group of our bombers each loaded with two 20 megaton bombs… is flying towards your country.
Buck (Larry Hagman) (translating for Soviet leader) We shall watch with great interest… while you recall them.
The President (Henry Fonda) So far we have been unable to recall them.
Buck (Larry Hagman) (translating for Soviet leader) Are the planes being flown by crazy men?
The President (Henry Fonda) We’re not sure. It might be a mechanical failure. All I can tell you is that it’s an accident. It’s not an attempt to provoke war. It’s not part of a general attack.
Buck (Larry Hagman) (translating for Soviet leader) How do I know you do not have hundreds of other planes… coming in so low our radar cannot pick them up?
The President (Henry Fonda) Because I hope to prove to you that it’s an accident… that we take full responsibility… that we’re doing everything we can to correct it.
Buck (Larry Hagman) (translating for Soviet leader) Go on.
The President (Henry Fonda) You must have seen… that we sent fighter planes to shoot down the bombers.
Buck (Larry Hagman) (translating for Soviet leader) American fighters to shoot down American bombers?
The President (Henry Fonda) That is correct.
Buck (Larry Hagman) (translating for Soviet leader) And you gave that order?
The President (Henry Fonda) I did.
Buck (Larry Hagman) (translating for Soviet leader) How do I know that the planes were not simply diving… to a low altitude to escape our radar?
The President (Henry Fonda) On our plotting board, the action could only be interpreted… as planes out of control. You have the same equipment we do. What did it tell you?
Buck (Larry Hagman) (translating for Soviet leader) It did not tell us what is in your mind, Mr. President.
The President (Henry Fonda) I’m telling you that.
Buck (Larry Hagman) (translating for Soviet leader) And you ask me to believe you?
The President (Henry Fonda) You must believe me.
Buck (Larry Hagman) (translating for Soviet leader) You ask for belief at a curious time.
The President (Henry Fonda) If we don’t trust each other now, Mr. Chairman… there may not be another time.
Buck (Larry Hagman) (translating for Soviet leader) We saw your planes fall into the sea. I wanted only to hear your explanation… and whether it was done at your own order. It is a hard thing to order men to their death, is it not?
The President (Henry Fonda) It is…


#7

Kubrick and Sellers based that character on the idea of “what if Adlai Stevenson had won the election instead of Eisenhower.”


#8

One wonders about the disposition of Trump’s precious body fluids.


#9

“Govorit” means “speaking.” It’s not DeSadski’s first name.


#10

This has been so much less funny since January.


#11

Gotta love George C.


#12

He apparently doesn’t have problems with other people’s precious bodily fluids…


#13


#14

Another example of this effect, was when Rachel Corrie was killed by an Isreali bulldozer. It made the opening sequence of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy a hell of a lot less funny. I was kind of appalled when the newer film kept that sequence intact.


#15

No, one absolutely does not! :mask:


#16


#17

I miss Stanley Kubrick. Almost everything he did seemed so real. More than real, the very essence of reality.


#18

I would have been appalled if it had modified or omitted it.


#19

Christopher Nolan could be a lot like Kubrick, if he made one movie per decade.


#20

That might have something to do with how much time he spent terrorizing and abusing his staff and cast. Definitely gives things stakes…

Other than that what I like about Kubrick is the hyper reality of things. The way in which they are so “real” they become subtly artificial or even absurd. Its a very, very, very difficult thing to pull off and very few people today even attempt it. Strikes me as something that’s a bit missing. I feel like Scorsese built on Kurbrick’s technical approach but he tracked it back to diliberate/self aware artifice, theatricality, and stylization. Kubrick is interesting in that while he grew out of the same sort of new wave film movements that rose up around that time. He never seemed to being what they were fundamentally about. Remixing, referencing, deconstructing, examining theatrical genres and film making itself. He just straight forwardly made those things. Incredibly well. And in way those things had never been made before. Scorsese seems to have a lot of Kubrick in him, but he definitely uses that in the self examined, remix sort of way.