Probably at my own peril, I'm going to quibble with Twisty's assessment of Doc Strangelove. The boot-throwing moment she describes, when the mad doctor elucidates his plan for a "nucleus" of humanity surviving in "some of our deeper mineshafts" and "breed[ing] prodigiously" ("lots of time and little to do"), is one of the gravest indictments of menfolk ever to get a belly laugh, as the impending global nuclear apocalypse is momentarily forgotten while the randy Air Force General Buck Turgidson (was there ever a script with better names than this?) takes a moment to dilate grinningly on "the abandonment of the so called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as men were concerned" and the dour Russian ambassador offers his ungrudging confession: "you have an astonishingly good idea there, Doctor." The insistent phallocentrism of the movie--there is hardly a frame that passes without a penis--is the point. These men are obsessed with their cocksmanship, and when faced with personal failure along those lines, they turn to their nukes, the biggest dicks of all. Jack D. Ripper, the insane Air Force General played so marvelously by Sterling Hayden, whose every move and inflection simultaneously conveys broken pride, total singularity of purpose, power, and defeat, goes on about the monstrous Communist plot to fluoridate water, but we shouldn't forget that the plot first occurred to him "during the physical act of love." In other words, he blames it on a woman. Fortunately, he was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence. It is true that the one female character who appears is Buck Turgidson's bombshell secretary-centerfold-lover in high heels and a bikini, but I note that she is the only person in the film who competently performs her job, and I also note that she is quickly forgotten by Turgidson after a brief telephone call to "The War Room." ("I told you never to call me here!") Because, for the record, it is perfectly obvious that most of these guys, if they could only admit it, would much prefer to be fucking each other.
None of this is to say that Kubrick didn't harbor a streak of misogyny. Barry Lyndon, which remains the most visually perfect film ever made, a masterpiece of composition and light that plays like twenty-four old masters per second, is a searing indictment of human ritualism, acquisitiveness, and moral decadence, sparing neither men nor women, but it seemed to me on a recent viewing to take an especially searing view of women. Nor should we ignore the master's most thoroughly woman-hating flick, and his greatest, most irredeemable failure, Eyes Wide Shut, in which world-famous drag king Tom of the House of Cruise badly impersonates a male heterosexual for eighteen straight hours while Sydney Pollack dons a hockey mask, monkey suit, renaissance costume, cross-country skis, space helmet, and Sean Connery's red diaper from Zardoz and skates around a mansion penetrating various vessels all because Nicole Kidman forgot to tell Tom that she missed the nice white hippie who usually sold them weed and decided to buy some itchy loveboat from a dude in the projects instead. Or something. Dominic Harlan's broken-piano soundtrack kept distracting me.
If the movie gods were just, which needless to say they aren't, Kubrick would've been permitted to finish his career by completing AI, and Spielberg would've gotten Eyes Wide Shut, whose many boudoirs he could've stocked with velociraptors peeking around Elgin marbles and hiding behind the velvet drapes. Elaborate games of hide and seek that don't ultimately go anywhere are more his forte than are fairy tales that lay bare the futility of love. John Williams would have scored it with a million piece orchestra, and Kidman could've fulfilled Twisty's truly identified, inevitable, obligatory scene:
the scene where a dude and a woman are running, running, and the virile dude is yanking the woman’s hand, dragging her pathetic terrified person along, and she falls because she’s wearing fucking high heels, and he picks her up and they continue running, running, him dragging her along like a wagonload of screaming mimis.And . . . print.