’To prevent the present heat from dissipating’: Stanley Kubrick and the Marketing of Dr. Strangelove (1964)

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Making extensive use of archival sources, most notably from the Stanley Kubrick Archive at the University of the Arts London, this article examines the production history and marketing of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and the Love the Bomb (1964), a film based on Peter George’s 1958 novel Red Alert. The focus is on the complex relationship between Kubrick and the people behind a rival project, Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler's nuclear thriller Fail-Safe which was published in 1962 and eventually released as a film a few months after Dr. Strangelove in 1964. The article also outlines two major efforts to promote Kubrick's forthcoming film through press releases and a press book, interviews, contacts with editors and journalists, paid advertisements as well as theatrical and television trailers. The initial promotional campaign took place in the first half of 1963 and fore-grounded the film's director, its serious, topical theme and the unusual, comical treatment of that theme. The second campaign, which started in November 1963 and was necessitated by delays in the film’s production and release, placed more emphasis than the first one on comedy; it also fore-grounded sex and the film's stars, especially Peter Sellers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

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