Imagine a time of high nuclear paranoia, a year-and-a-half after the Cuban Missile Crisis, and along comes this black comedy in which impotence leads to a first-strike nuclear war. Also, three of the main characters are played by the same actor. That is Dr. Strangelove, a 1964 film directed by Stanley Kubrick. The film follows the order of a nuclear strike by a rogue Air Force base commander, concerned over the contamination of his precious bodily fluids. Kubrick established three points of view: the base itself, the crew of one of the planes carrying out the order, and the high-level meeting in the "war room" among the President, his cabinet and military leaders. Peter Sellers plays both the President and a former Nazi scientist in the same room, as well as a visiting RAF officer at the base.

Strangelove requires a certain frame of mind, a certain love of the absurd. It is wonderful as a political satire, from the paranoia of Communist infiltration to the open argument of mutually-assured destruction. It is simultaneously looney as the RAF attache finally learns the recall code, but doesn't have the correct change for the pay phone to call Washington. and therefore save the world. I'm sure writers had no idea what to think of it at the time, especially with a serious nuclear war movie, Fail-Safe, also opening. Satirists owe a great deal to this film; it is worthy of your time as well.