November, 2008

Introduction to Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Above is the trailer for Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb [6]

Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is an influential film because nuclear war is still relevant today.[1] Although Stanley Kubrick made this film in 1963, we are still concerned with issues involving nuclear arms today with the war in Iraq and the search for Weapons of Mass Destruction. In 1963 there were 34,000 nuclear weapons on Earth and today there are 31,500; which begs the question of what happened to the other 2,500 weapons? Ronald Briley inquires, “How can we convey to our students the fears, insecurities, heroic actions, political opportunism, excitement, despair, and hope of this crucial era?”[2] He explains that the answer can be found in film. Briley says that because modern students are accustomed to learning visually, a movie is the perfect opportunity to teach a crucial era of American History.[3] Film critic Nora Satyre says that since the Cold War era was “a time when fictions and delusions were accepted as facts, some of the movies may be almost as informative as the FBI’s files–and probably more accurate about the mentalities of many Americans who were amused or repelled or touched or unnerved by what they saw on the screen.”[4] Dr. Strangelove explores an extremely important point in history that sadly is fading from modern memory.[5]


[1] Lindley, Dan. “What I Learned since I Stopped Worrying and Studied the Movie: A Teaching Guide to Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Dr. Strangelove.”’ PS: Political Science and Politics 34, No. 3 (Sep., 2001), http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.umw.edu:2048/stable/1353558
[2] Briley, Ronald. “Reel History and the Cold War.” Organization of American Historians. http://www.oah.org/pubs/magazine/coldwar/briley1.html (accessed 2 November 2008)

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5]Ibid

[6] YouTube, “Dr. Strangelove trailer,”YouTube Website, Embedded Media File,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gXY3kuDvSU, (accessed 9 November 2008).

Best Years of Our Lives

Best Years of Our Lives is a great movie with a lot of truth to it. I noticed on one of the countdowns on AOL it is #7 on the greatest inspirational movies list which I found pretty neat. It is a very historically accurate movie, almost on the same lines as Glory. It accurately depicts the arrival of WWII veterans back home and the hardships they faced trying to acclimate back into their hometowns. It was a very trying time for soldiers and it was not an easy task for them to return to civilian life. This movie shows the struggles they faced trying to leave their war life behind. It was a very entertaining movie and definitely one of the best movies we’ve watched so far.

Matewan

Although slow at times, Matewan is one of the more historically accurate films we’ve watched this semester. The movie accurately portrayed the company stores and poor conditions in which the miners worked and lived. The movie also depicted the harsh brutality between the workers and the bosses (bosses holding guns as workers walked out of the mine) and also between the workers themselves. A great example of this brutal competition is when the train first arrives in Matewan and a group of men ambush those who are coming off the train. The characters in the film are fictional but the skepticism concerning joining the union was real. For the most part Matewan was pretty boring but it gave great insight into a very interesting part of history.