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Dr. Strangelove’s Secret Uses of Uranus

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 22, 2016

Kubrick Strangelove Titles

This is a page from one of Stanley Kubrick’s notebooks, on which he jotted down more than a dozen different titles for the movie that came to be called Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Among the rejected titles were:

Dr. Doomsday or: How to Start World War III Without Even Trying
Dr. Strangelove’s Secret Uses of Uranus
My Bomb, Your Bomb
Strangelove: Nuclear Wiseman
The Bomb and Dr. Strangelove or: How to be Afraid 24hrs a Day
The Passion of Dr. Strangelove

Fun titles, but they remind me of a chess quote I tweeted the other day: “When you see a good move look out for a better.” Glad Kubrick stuck with it.

The alternate titles made me curious to look at the script, which I’d never seen before. Even glancing at the first few pages are illuminating. I knew the main characters names were full of suggestive puns — General Buck Turgidson, President Merkin Muffley, General Jack D. Ripper — but that’s nothing compared to some of the names in the script, many of which do not appear in the film:

General “Buck” Schmuck
Admiral Percy Buldike
Ambassador de Sade (“Alexei de Sadeski” in the film)
Von Klutz
Frankenstein
Cadaverly
Didley
Crudley
Waffel
Funkel
Major Nonce
Lieutenant Quentin Quiffer
Lieutenant “Binky” Ballmuff

And under “General Notes”, Kubrick lays out how he wants the film to look and feel:

1. The story will be played for realistic comedy - which means the essentially truthful moods and attitudes will be portrayed accurately, with an occasional bizarre or super-realistic crescendo. The acting will never be so-called “comedy” acting.

2. The sets and technical details will be done realistically and carefully. We will strive for the maximum atmosphere and sense of visual reality from the sets and locations.

3. The Flying sequences will especially be presented in as vivid a manner as possible. Exciting backgrounds and special effects will be obtained.

Nailed it. (via @monstro)