Film: Double Bill
SIMON SHORE, DIRECTOR OF 'GET REAL', ON HIS IDEAL CINEMATIC PAIRING
Friday 21 May 1999
DR STRANGELOVE (STANLEY KUBRICK, 1963)
I THINK it's important to put together a double bill with some common thread - and the connection here, of course, is Doctor.
The Five Thousand Fingers of Doctor T is the only film written by the great Dr Theodore Seuss. It opens with a small boy called Burt running around on what could be the surface of the moon, being chased by monsters. Burt has been terrorised by his piano teacher who makes him practise all the time. In response he has a vivid nightmare where the teacher morphs into a dictator, ordering 500 children to play at one large piano at the same time. The school is like a concentration camp.
In many ways it's a lot like his books; it's also full of human madness and crazy characters; it's for children but adults love it as well. It's terrifying, but done in a funny, kitsch way, which is why it has become a bit of a cult film. When it was on the TV I phoned about 500 people and ordered them to watch it.
On the other hand it's also a fairly heavy-handed bit of propaganda about the nuclear family. You still get the sense he is taking the piss out of it a bit; in the end the boys get rid of the piano teacher by building a nuclear bomb out of the garage. It's a wonderful, wonderful film.
Doctor Strangelove is a more adult take on these themes. It's also about a mad, despotic man, and an innocent person trying to stop him getting off scot-free. Except that the good guy doesn't save the world.
While I wouldn't say that Dr Strangelove is ambiguous about whether nuclear war is good or bad - it's bad - it does have an ironic detachment and uses a lot of tongue-in-cheek humour. Just look at the outrageously camp characters. I have seen this film hundreds of times, mostly when I used to run a film society, and would often book this film and run it for myself alone.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Hair loss explained: How and why men go bald
- 2 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
- 3 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 5 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
Suicide Squad's Margot Robbie: Jared Leto's now more petrifying when out of his Joker make-up
Novel Scarlett Johansson tried to ban, Grégoire Delacourt’s The First Thing You See, to be published in UK
The Girl in the Spider's Web, David Lagercrantz, review: Stieg Larsson's heroes return in a thrilling new intrigue
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs