Hey! Is this a Dr. Strangelove goof? Or am I way off? (probably my error...)

When Maj. Kong’s plane is trying to dodge the missle, the missle comes closer and closer, even in spite of its deflection. When it is a mile or two away, the missle bursts and we can see on the radar that the burst is significant in size—it covers several marks on the grid! And the plane is “hit” and nearly brought down. I’ve always assumed that was a nuke designed to bring down a plane with a relatively small bomb rather than get hit by a big one. (Similar to the way anti-attack subs fire nukes since attack subs are so hard to kill, or so I’m told.)

So, I’m probably mistaken, yes? Otherwise, why would that anti-aircraft missle set off the doomsday device?

??? Who said the antiaircraft missle triggered the doomsday device? In the first place it wasn’t presumed to have been triggered until the bomb Kong was riding exploded. And secondly, I presume that it was the Soviet ambassador who really activated it using that watch of his

The anti-aircraft missle didn’t set off the Doomsday Device. The Russian ambassador did, when, during General ‘Buck’ Turgidson’s “mineshaft gap” rant, he wanders away from the group, pulls out that small device and manually arms it. The movie’s final frames show all these nukes going off.

Dammit, Lumpy!

Anyway, js africanus… next time you watch Strangelove look closely when the Russian premier talks to the ambassador on the war room phone and he gets that stony look of death in face. he explains it as the Doomsday Device and its assumed by Stragnelove and the Americans to be an automated device, but I suspect that that was when he was given the order to use the Ultimate Bomb.

Huh. I always thought that he was taking more photos, or something like that. I thought that Kong’s bomb set off the doomsday device. Thus, when I saw it this weekend, I was struck by the fact that the anti-aircraft missle didn’t set it off. But you are all saying that the Soviet Ambassador set it off. Why would he do that after he’s seen the Big Board and only one bomb dropped?

That’s not the trigger for the Doomesday device that the Russian has, it is a hidden camera. (In the original ending he gets caught using it and a pie fight breaks out.)

I always thought that he had a spy camera in his watch. That would explain his expression though. Hmmm, food for thought.

Since when have there been nuclear anti-aircraft missiles?

Ha. I win!

[wizard’s baker]Now its time for a Pie fight! Piefight! Pie fight! Piefight![/wb]

joshmaker. Cite for original ending? (Was that in the novel or the Kubrick film version?) I mean, I’m trying to figure out where the pies would suddenly come from.

Maybe you guys are right and I’m just assuming there’s a correlation between the ambassador’s treacherous actions and the bombs going off.

On the other hand – how do you know for a fact it was a hidden camera in the watch and not the Doomsday Device trigger hidden in the watch? Occam’s Razor, people.

Still. What delicious cinematic ambiguity.

So, when Shane rides off at the end of the movie, was he still alive? >> Grinning icon<<

Check the IMDb trivia page for the film. The original novel was serious, so I’m pretty sure there are no pies there. But according to the site, that was the planned ending, and you can still see the pies on a table in the background in some shots.

I haven’t seen the movie in a while, but I always thought it was a camera from his expression. If it’s the Doomsday Device, doesn’t that screw up the satire?

This is the first I’ve ever heard that the Ambassador set off the Doomsday Device. It doesn’t make sense, given the rest of the film. His “stony look” is simply that he has just been informed of the Doomsday Device, IMO.

Occam’s Razor would cut toward Kong’s bomb setting off the Doomsday Device; not the Ambassador’s watch setting it off.

Dr. Strangelove was full of people not thinking about the actions of other people. In this case, the President didn’t think about the possibility of Kong’s aircraft being disabled and unable to reach its primary or secondary target. “Put all of your defenses here, and you’ll get him.” He didn’t think about Kong going after a “target of opportunity”.

Since the late 50s and into the 70s. Before fine precision guidance, nukes were often deployed as “area effect” weapons.

Well, I am not so sure that Occam’s Razor applies to film, but if you really think about it, which one is more simple. The Doomsday device actually triggers itself like the ambassador and Strangelove said, or the Ambassador lied, Strangelove was wrong, and the Ambassador had a tiny radio transmitter that relayed the signal across to the other side of the globe to trigger the device.

Since the 1950’s - the Air-2a Genie nuclear air to air missile entered service in 1957. Also, the
Talos surface to air missle could carry a nuclear warhead, and was used by the Navy from 1959-1979.

No cite; but the pie fight does ring a bell—recall the big spread of food in the war room?

Wolfian, I really didn’t think about it, i.e. since when have there been nuke anti-aircraft missles. But when you look at the radar, the explosion that goes off is big and the electronics all go haywire. That didn’t look conventional to me. That’s where I can be making my error, at least the error I thought I was probably making, with what kind of warhead that missle used.

A detailed description of the original ending can be found here on the imdb, and unless I am crazy (always a possibility) it is on the DVD special features. This ending was cut out for two reasons. First, it was deemed to silly and did not fit the tone of the movie. Second, in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, the line uttered by General Turgidson after the President is struck by a pie (“Our young President has been struck down in the prime of his life, this demands massive retaliation” or something similar) was no longer considered appropriate for obvious reasons.

What ARE you people talking about? It was Slim Pickens’ bomb that triggered Armageddon.

The signifigence of the ambassador taking pictures with his watch was that the stupidity and mistrust would survive even the end of the world. Miss that and you miss one of the best jokes in the movie.

Right. But then why didn’t the soviets own nuke, in the form of an anti-aircraft missle, set off the doomsday device?!

Depends on when you apply Occam’s. In light of the Doomsday Device’s apparent failure to detonate immediately after Kong’s bomb falls on the Soviet military installation – a period that allows for another ten minutes or so of dialogue at the end of the movie-- what set it off after THAT, when the danger was clearly past? I say the trigger must have been in the watch, and the Russian ambassador must done it when he walked away from the group.

WHY? Because Buck Turgidson was right all along: you don’t let the Soviets into the War Room. They’ll see the Big Board! And he’ll hear the rabid American plans to avoid annihilation by burrowing underground. Maybe the Russkie decided to stop it. If he was that genocidal, which in my view he apparently was, it would underscore the movie’s basic premise that a single unstable individual could end all life as we know it despite our safeguards to stop it happening.

Personally I don’t see how it makes the movie less satirical if a human Soviet ambassador instead of an inhuman Soviet mechanism triggers nuclear holocaust.

Maybe I’m still wrong and it was Kong’s missle and the Doomsday Device just took a really, really long time to get going.

Confession: I first watched Strangelove when I was nine. The conclusions I present now are the ones I made then. It’s haaaAAAaaard to give up the conclusions one reaches early in life and cling to for years, which, I suppose, accounts for the persistance of both conservatism and liberalism.

IIRC, it was supposed to be triggered by any hostile bomb in the territories of the USSR. Even the mad doomsday creators would have made exceptions concerning bombs launched by their own defense systems.


I remember that: the eyes of the ambassador showed that he was looking to point the device to the maps, a natural move to make when one is taking pictures, and since the director showed that action in a close-up, clearly the intent was to show, yet again, an example of the madness of all involved.

My impression was that indeed the bombs took time to get their targets, and it was clear to me that the footage of the bombs going out, was also showing what the United States was doing too. (even if we were at fault for the triggering of the device it would be stupid to leave the USSR relatively undamaged, do you think the american leaders in the movie would trust that what the russkies said? That the device was going to destroy even them too? Yeah right, the US bombers, after the device was triggered, for sure were turned back once again to finish their missions… doomsday indeed.

I read once a short story of a maker of doomsday devices that had one crazy protester give a loaded gun to his retarded son: the final line, screamed by the unhinged bomb maker, after he managed to take the gun away from his son: “What kind of madman would give a deadly weapon to an idiot?!?” I think Kubrick did take that short story in mind, one really has to take care of what kind of leaders we pick.