Peter Sellers is extraordinary with his triple roles in Dr. Strangelove (1964), and the movie—a Cold War black comedy—is still quite funny. Unlike five or six other Stanley Kubrick pictures, however, it is a failure. The jokes about male sexuality and military forcefulness are stupid when they aren’t vulgar, and the character of Dr. Strangelove, the German scientist, is silly. Satire should be more palatable than this.

In some ways DS is as brilliant as Kubrick’s 2001: consider the ironically lovely credit-sequence music at the beginning of the film. Still able to be seen as daring, the work is nevertheless presented from the same left-wing perspective that ultimately led the American people to deeply distrust the Democratic party regarding the Soviet Union. Liberals discovered that they can’t have everything.