I’m sorry, but that digitally projected 4K version of Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb that’s now showing at West L.A.’s Landmark is nothing special. And it’s not just me. My son Jett, who’s seen this 1963 Stanley Kubrick film three or four times on DVD on my 36″ flat screen, called the digital projection a “disappointment.”
The image I saw last night didn’t deliver anything close to a top-of-the-mountain black-and-white experience. There was none of that shimmering-glimmering silvery quality of yore, and the blacks were moderate rather than super-rich. I noticed some subtle gradations of tone and some micro-detail here and there (I was able to spot evidence of the wig that Peter Sellers wore as Group Captain Lionel Mandrake), but overall there was way too much of a general gray feeling. I went expecting my socks to get blown off, and I left feeling a wee bit burned.
Columbia’s restoration guy Grover Crisp was quoted as saying that the 4K projection would convey the way Strangelove looked right out of the lab. Crisp is a total pro and a man of honor, but that’s false advertising. I paid $22 bucks plus popcorn and drinks last night to see an okay-but-nothing-special digital Strangelove that didn’t hold a candle to how it looks on my own Sony in my living room. I’m not looking to pick a fight, but I feel flim-flammed.