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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.

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

I really have been enjoying researching Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Stanley Kubrick is a film genius and Dr. Strangelove is definitely one of his best films. It has everything: comedy, political satire, war, nuclear weapons, and the great Peter Sellers playing 3 very different roles. Since this is my first blog I’m not going to delve too much into the movie but I would like to point out that is one of my favorite scenes from the film. I think it perfectly captures the massiveness as well as the severity of the situation at hand.

P.S I also love the irony of the quote that I put in the title spot, but more on that in a later post.

Clementine: Beautiful Scenery, Inaccurate Storyline

I found My Darling Clementine to be very entertaining although highly historically inaccurate. The scenery, especially in the beginning in the movie while the brothers are herding cattle in the prairie, is exceptionally breathtaking. It is portrayed exactly how I picture the Old West to look. One of the first inaccuracies that jumped out at me was the fact that we learned in class that James was married and lived with his wife, he wasn’t continuously traveling with his brothers (although I could be wrong); I also wasn’t under the impression that he was only 18 years old. Despite it’s flaws, the movie is a great representation of the great Old West full of opportunities and excitement for new settlers, gun-slinging included.

I would like to add that I would have loved to have watched Tombstone. It was one of my favorite movies growing up; I loved Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday. I haven’t seen it in ages, although I imagine it is probably just as inaccurate as My Darling Clementine, but entertaining nonetheless.

Glory, an Exceptional Story

Glory is my favorite movie by far. I found it’s portrayal of history to be the most accurate. However, I found the group of black soldiers that the movie concentrates on to be somewhat stereotypical. There is the sage, wise one, the intellectual, the badass and the stuttering, naive one. Aside from this downfall, the movie was very captivating and held my interest. I was somewhat confused during the scene when the 54th regiment arrives in Beaufort, SC because the house in the scene displays a Union flag, or what I thought was a Union flag, although it is a Southern city, so I assumed a Confederate flag would be displayed. Also, the eagerness of the black soldiers to enlist in the Army was accurate because they were fighting for their freedom and for a moral way of life. This was their opportunity to fight for their country and to pledge their allegiance to a free and democratic nation.

The Patriot saddens me

The movie, The Patriot, is a very entertaining movie in many ways. However, no matter how many times I’ve seen it, I can never prepare myself for Gabriel’s death because it really could have been avoided. Why didn’t he just run away after shooting Tavington? I know the decision to have Gabriel wait around was to make the movie more dramatic and intriguing but it’s still very upsetting. I made it a point to blog about this because as I said earlier it’s something that has always bothered me. The Benjamin and Charlotte having a baby story was kind of just thrown in there but aside from that I still enjoy the movie!

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