Dr. Strangelove on Criterion LaserDisc

by Brian Siano

Voyager/Criterion issued a remastered laserdisc of Dr. Strangelove in 1992. This version was struck from Kubrick's personal print of the film (one generation removed from the original negative). The disc jacket reads: "The film was shot using in-camera mattes with alternating aspect ratios, between 1.66:1 and 1.33:1. A new digital film-to-tape transfer was created using a 35mm duplicate negative and 35mm 3 track magnetic master."

The different mattes for the film's different aspect ratios are probably best noticeable at the top of the frame, in the shots where Major Kong puts on his Stetson hat. Also, as Kong rides the bomb, the bomb can be seen jumping "over" the background matte plate.

The Criterion disc also includes a wealth of materials outlining the civil-defense plans of the early 1960s, including still frames of various pamphlets, the fanous short Duck and Cover, and an early "video" of George McCulvey's My Teenage Fallout Queen. There is also a British Film Board-approved trailer advertising Strangelove, which -- unique for its day -- includes photos of Kubrick himself. Best of all is an account of the film's laser remastering, as well as a frame-by-frame representation of an early Strangelove script.

Also, the slipcover of the Criterion disk was designed by Stanley Kubrick.