This film reminded me a bit of Buñuel's The Exterminating Angel. As Buñuel had dinner guests trapped in a parlor room, Kubrick focuses the film on discussion in a War Room full of Joint Chiefs. Peter Sellers portrays three characters, including, of course, Dr. Strangelove. His presence as multiple characters is about the only feel of "big studio" I get (decisions by the money behind the making). Both Buñuel and Kubrick challenge the character study of human condition - what happens when all doesn't go as planned - how do people adapt?
Dr. Stangelove himself of course has all the answers when Russia is about to be annihilated. In the War Room, he explains that perhaps not all is lost. A nucleus of human specimens could be kept in mine shafts, greenhouses can grow food, and animals can be bred and slaughtered. And, in order to ensure that humankind will continue, a ration of "ten females to each male" should be maintained, with the females being of a "highly stimulating nature," and the presence of the Joint Chiefs being a necessity.
Not quite the same party as Buñuel set up, but at least it's a productive one.
Since there's way too many hilarious conversations, miscommunications and character intros to list here, I will point out that the movie isn't about a sexually-charged man's ideals (although there are numerous sexual references, including character names).
To look at the film's title, Strangelove is a potent character–twisted, coldly rational, his mechanical arm likely to spring into a Seig Heil at the slightest provocation. Despite the film name, he's not at all the most "active" character in the film, but definitely represents the theme. He's many things - nazi-turned scientific adviser to the US President, handicapped yet menacing, part mad, yet articulate and logical.
In return, Kubrick does visual justice to these themes by film in such styles as surrealist, impressionistic and documentary.
I can't think of this film without hearing the repetitive drums of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" during the bomb run. In fact, I'll annoy my two yearly readers with the same, and ruin the ending in the meantime. Enjoy: