No Fighting in the War Room or Dr. Strangelove and the Nuclear Threat (2004) — a documentary about the historical context of Dr. Strangelove. Featurette includes numerous clips from the film, never-before-seen production stills, and rare and never-before seen or heard material from the private collection of the star of Dr. Strangelove, Peter Sellers.
Dear every screenwriter, read this: Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern and Peter George’s screenplay for Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb [pdf]. (NOTE: For educational purposes only). The DVD/Blu-ray of the film is available at Amazon and other online retailers.
Dated November 4, 1961, the letter addressed to the novelist Peter George seemed decidedly odd coming from a man who had already directed the likes of Laurence Olivier, Kirk Douglas, and James Mason. It was handwritten, for starters—no secretary had typed it up—and it evinced, in the words of George’s son, a certain “touching modesty”: “First off let me tell you who I am,” it began. “I am a film director (Paths of Glory, Spartacus, Lolita). I’ve been in England for over a year and returned to New York only last week expecting to contact you here.” Stanley Kubrick then went on to explain that he had become interested in “the nuclear situation” and was searching for the right material to adapt for a film: “I am earnestly looking for a story in those areas and your book came VERY CLOSE,” he told George. —How a dead serious novel became the nightmare satire of Strangelove
"What we are dealing with," said Kubrick at our first real talk about the situation, "is film by fiat, film by frenzy." What infuriated him most was that the "brains" of the production company could evaluate the entire film — commercially, aesthetically, morally, whatever — in terms of the tour de force performance of one actor. I was amazed that he handled it as well as he did. "I have come to realize," he explained, "that such crass and grotesque stipulations are the sine qua non of the motion-picture business." And it was in this spirit that he accepted the studio’s condition that this film, as yet untitled, "would star Peter Sellers in at least four major roles." It was thus understandable that Kubrick should practically freak when a telegram from Peter arrived one morning: Dear Stanley: I am so very sorry to tell you that I am having serious difficulty with the various roles. Now hear this: there is no way, repeat, no way, I can play the Texas pilot, ‘Major King Kong.’ I have a complete block against that accent. Letter from Okin [his agent] follows. Please forgive. Peter S.
For a few days Kubrick had been in the throes of a Herculean effort to give up cigarettes and had forbidden smoking anywhere in the building. Now he immediately summoned his personal secretary and assistant to bring him a pack pronto. —Notes from The War Room by Terry Southern
Below is a rare 35mm promo reel for Dr. Strangelove, narrated by Kubrick himself. Some of the takes did not make it in the final cut of the film.
Terry Southern’s profile of Stanley Kubrick that Esquire squelched in the 1960s… lucky for us it has been rescued:
In 1963, as Stanley Kubrick began production on Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Terry Southern completed a profile of the director for Esquire, which promply shelved it. Earlier this summer it was finally printed in Killed: Great Journalism Too Hot To Print (Nation Books), edited by David Wallis. The abridged version of Southern’s article that follows is reprinted on the occasion of Sony Pictures Repertory’s 40th anniversary presentation of Dr. Strangelove this fall. —Check-up with Dr. Strangelove By Terry Southern
The following interview took place in the New York office of Harris-Kubrick Productions, and is a transcript of the taped recording. —An Interview with Stanley Kubrick by Terry Southern; Unpublished; 1962
At the time of this interview (1967), Southern was famous as the coauthor of Candy, the best-selling sex novel, and as the screenwriter behind Stanley Kubrick’s dark antiwar, antinuke comedy, Dr. Strangelove. Both appeared in the U.S. in 1964 (a headline in Life magazine read “Terry Southern vs. Smugness”). By 1967 he could be spotted on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, standing between Dylan Thomas and Dion. Gore Vidal called him “ the most profoundly witty writer of our generation.” Lenny Bruce blurbed his books. —Paris Review, The Art of Screenwriting No. 3, Terry Southern
Inside: ‘Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb’ (2000), a behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of one of the classics of modern cinema. Including interviews with many members of the cast and crew of this story about the scramble by the heads of state to head off a rogue general’s attempt to launch a nuclear war, this film gives fans a wealth of new information on the work and effort that went into bringing the film to fruition.
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