821 Dr. Strangelove

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
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Re: 821 Dr. Strangelove

#101 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:44 pm

I never noticed this before, but when Dr. Strangelove does the bit where he needs to hit his uncontrollable arm, Peter Bull (the Soviet ambassador) can't help but smile, nearly laughing and ruining the take. Anyway, the supplements all suggest that Sellers had the cast and crew in hysterics with his improvisations, so I wonder how many takes had to be discarded for that reason alone.

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Big Ben
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Re: 821 Dr. Strangelove

#102 Post by Big Ben » Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:56 pm

Yes! The ambassador cracks a momentary smile and Kubrick left it in! As I recall Kubrick actually had Sellers stop playing the President with a cold because it was too funny and people couldn't keep a straight face. Clogged nose, that sort of thing.

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djproject
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Re: 821 Dr. Strangelove

#103 Post by djproject » Mon Apr 22, 2019 6:55 am

I've noted a few other extras who had to clear a smile or hold back a laugh during that scene. Can you blame them? =]

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FrauBlucher
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Re: 821 Dr. Strangelove

#104 Post by FrauBlucher » Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:48 am

Everytime I watch I always look for actors that have to hold back laughs. It’s pretty obvious once you stop watching Sellers and look at everyone else in that scene. It is curious as to why the meticulous Kubrick let that stay. Although I can’t say it bothers me. Sellers is a sheer genius that his cast members had to have relished being in his creative presence.

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hearthesilence
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Re: 821 Dr. Strangelove

#105 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:18 pm

Big Ben wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:56 pm
As I recall Kubrick actually had Sellers stop playing the President with a cold because it was too funny and people couldn't keep a straight face. Clogged nose, that sort of thing.
An interview on the supplement actually talks about this. The laughing wasn't the problem. After letting Sellers rip for a number of takes (or scenes?), Kubrick stopped everything and said they were taking the wrong direction, that the President is the one "sane" authority in the room who understood the gravity of the situation and Sellers had to get that across by playing it straight.

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