A to Z of Films Meme (D)

How often do films dis­ap­point us with a pre­dictable or box-office dri­ven end­ing? How many times did Direc­tors have to change their film’s end to sat­is­fy pro­duc­tion stu­dios or social/censorship pres­sure? Sholay with its cen­sor-forced end, Super­man II with a stu­dio-changed direc­tor, and Ek Duje Ke Liye with a social­ly-forced end — count­less oth­ers will come to mind. Here we look at two movies whose direc­tors did not flinch while tak­ing us to their log­i­cal cli­max.Dr Strangelove


Dr. Strangelove

The most vicious satire ever writ­ten. How can a movie make us laugh uncon­trol­lably about the end of the world? Just that Kubrick could be ambi­tious to even think so is an achieve­ment, that he suc­ceed­ed bril­liant­ly defies any descrip­tion. Sell­ers shines in the triple role, and if he had not bro­ken a leg, he would’ve done a quar­tet. The intel­li­gent script, the innu­mer­able com­ic scenes, and mem­o­rable dia­logue. Pick­ens, as Major Kong, was report­ed­ly not told by Kubrik that the film was a dark com­e­dy – for the patri­ot­ic speech­es of medals and dec­o­ra­tions to the B52 crew that now seem so fun­ny.

Like 2001, Dr. Strangelove also depicts tech­nol­o­gy invent­ed by man, func­tion­ing as designed, but lead­ing him to dis­as­ter. And both of these cin­e­mat­ic tri­umphs made by Kubrik, who was obsessed with tech­nol­o­gy. Go fig­ure!

Dead Man WalkingRunner Up

Dead Man Walking

Philo­soph­i­cal, pro­found, objec­tive and fair, and deal­ing with a con­tro­ver­sial theme. Tech­ni­cal­ly bril­liant, emo­tion­al­ly pow­er­ful with­out being manip­u­la­tive. Tim Rob­bins shines as Direc­tor, and Saran­don and Penn deliv­er stun­ning per­for­mances.

Sarandon’s per­for­mance shines as if she lives her char­ac­ter and is tru­ly the deeply spir­i­tu­al per­son embod­ied by Sis­ter Helen. Penn, on the oth­er hand, is pow­er­ful with details of his man­ner­isms, expres­sions, and body lan­guage. There is no feel-good end­ing man­u­fac­tured for the box-office. Pan­dit Vish­wamo­han Bhat con­tributed to the score, and Nus­rat Fateh Ali Khan pro­vides the per­fect back­drop for the end cred­its.


Noteworthy Mentions

Der­su Uza­la – a per­son­al favorite of Kuro­sawa. Dersu’s “Kap­i­tan” cry still rings in my ears.

Dhyas­par­va – A Marathi film about a taboo sub­ject. I wish they made more Marathi movies like this one!

Duck Soup – The Marx broth­ers at their best! Pre­pare for severe stom­ach ache before watch­ing.

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  • Dev

    I think for Kubrick, a recur­ring theme in all his films was futil­i­ty of man’s intel­li­gence rather than futil­i­ty of tech­nol­o­gy (because tech­nol­o­gy is after all inven­tion of man’s intel­li­gence only). I had writ­ten a post on Kubrick’s cin­e­ma as read from a book on him by Nor­man keagen..as men­tioned there, cer­tain recur­ring themes were always there in his films, and futil­i­ty of intel­li­gence the most pro­found..
    So, two of your films have already matched with mine (2001 and strangelove) 😉
    Btw, back on Peter sell­ers, do you know that Ray was so pissed of with Sell­ers after the lat­ter enact­ed a role of stereo­typed Indi­an in “The Par­ty” that Ray gave up his plan of work­ing with him on a future project, which in any case did­nt mate­ri­al­ize..
    But man that guy Sell­ers was too good..have u seen Loli­ta?

  • Mahen­dra

    I only just watched Dead Man Walk­ing a few weeks ago. Agree with your assess­ment. See­ing actors like Saran­don and Penn in action puts the 2-bit star­lets of Hol­ly­wood in per­spec­tive. The score was amaz­ing — Nus­rat Fateh Ali Khan blends well with the bleak back­drop of the film. I of course watch all the cred­its 🙂

    I haven’t watched the oth­ers though. If I have to watch all or some of them, I will need to change my sub­scrip­tion 😉 And start sleep­ing a bit less than I do now.

    You are on a roll here 🙂

    PS: I did my meme response in 1h30min. And it shows.

  • Anand

    Just last week I was rec­om­mend­ing Dead Man Walk­ing to some friends. I have seen it a bunch of times and I was moved by it every sin­gle time. Iron­i­cal­ly, I was nev­er able to con­vince myself com­plete­ly on either side of the cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment debate. I def­i­nite­ly don’t sup­port the fre­quen­cy with which it is pro­nounced or the revenge phi­los­o­phy for pro­nounc­ing it. How­ev­er, I am not sure if it should be banned even for excep­tion­al cir­cum­stances (ter­ror­ism, ser­i­al mur­der­ers etc.).

    Dead Man Walk­ing also has one of my all time favorite sound­tracks. Eddie Ved­der and Nus­rat togeth­er were awe­some. I have seen Pearl Jam live 4 times and they actu­al­ly opened one of their shows with The Long Road. I was for­tu­nate to be there…

  • Dr. Strangelove. Havent seen it!
    As for Dead Man Walk­ing I had seen it once when it was released and loved it. I saw it the sec­ond time recent­ly and watched it more crit­i­cal­ly. This time I found a wee bit of hypocrisy in the lec­tures that Sarandon’s char­ac­ter spout­ed. Rather, some ele­ment of hypocrisy of the direc­tor. I don’t know why I got the feel­ing that the direc­tor was mak­ing a movie des­per­ate­ly show­ing the “human” side of a killer and I found it uncon­vinc­ing. I do not believe in cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment as a solu­tion, but at the same time thought the direc­tor was try­ing to wring too much pity from us the audi­ences. Per­for­mances are ofcourse awe­some.

  • Dot­tie

    Dr. S is one of my all time favories. My favorite quote is goes some­thing like this — “You can’t fight in here. This is the war room.” Have you seen Brazil? If you liked Dr.S, you might like that.
    I agree with Nita about Dead Man walk­ing. I saw it a real­ly long time ago and thought it tried too hard.

  • Seen both
    DMW is a good film , very seri­ous and very thought pro­vok­ing , penn is great, but pre­fer his cool surfer dude char­ac­ter in fast times bet­ter -

    LOve strangelove ! have seen it a dozen times and rate it as his best ever .
    Have a clos­er look at my dis­play pic

  • I’ve had Dr. Strangelove in our col­lec­tion for a while now, and my hus­band rec­om­mends it too. For some rea­son I didn’t get around to see­ing it. Not seen any of the rest. Look­ing for­ward to Duck Soup the most 🙂

    My addi­tions: Dat­tak (Hin­di).
    And anoth­er friv­o­lous one — you won’t see it fea­tured in any must watch lists, but it has nev­er failed to make me laugh, no mat­ter how many times I see it — Dirty Rot­ten Scoundrels 😀 Total fal­tu­giri, and I love every bit! 🙂

  • i loved Dr. Strangelove. Kubrick was nuts — in the nicest pos­si­ble way. It’s also quite telling that a film like that will nev­er get made today. I kept think­ing of the film when the USA invad­ed Iraq on that trumped up WMD charge 🙁

    I loved the per­for­mances of Dead Man Walk­ing -but i found it too talky and too preachy.

    Anoth­er D i enjoyed was Do Bigha Zamin — Bimal Roy at his best.

  • What about dr ziva­go
    it a fan­tas­tic movie