6) Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (dir. Stanley Kubrick)
The Plot: The United States and Russia are at war, and for Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden), tensions are running a little bit too high. Convinced that the Soviets are attempting to poison the U.S. water supply, he launches a back door nuclear attack on Russia without the permission from and knowledge of his superiors. What Ripper couldn’t possibly have known though is that the Soviets have what they call a “doomsday device,” which, if the Soviet Union is struck by any enemy missile, will activate and detonate buried nuclear bombs across the world. Frantically, President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers) and General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott) work with other high-ranking officials, including former Nazi, Dr. Strangelove (also Sellers), to try and stop the air raid before it’s too late.
Why Black and White?: Stanley Kubrick has always been one for using color to convey meaning (think about 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, Barry Lyndon, and even A Clockwork Orange), so it’s odd to think about his black and white political satire, Dr. Strangelove, in this way. With the black and white cinematography, Kubrick not only insures his film’s attractiveness over time, but simulates the feelings in America generated by the Cold War.
The black and white format also gives its viewers an impression of how many households were experiencing the Cold War, and brings to the film a more genuine feel; like it’s just another news broadcast. With color, this powerful effect would be gone.