I honestly forget that Peter Sellers plays 3 roles. That’s how great he is. I am thankful, however, for his sprained ankle that prevented him from playing his intended 4th role of the bomber pilot… which incidentally gifted us all with Slim Picken’s indelible performance as himself.
So much has been written about this film. But, the thing that still haunts me about it is Kubrick’s ability to maintain the tone of darkly serious satire. Even with so many great moments of absurdist slap-stick silliness, it never devolves into mere farce. To that end, cutting the “pie fight” scene from the finale must be one of the most astute editing choices in film history. The Cold War may be over, but this film’s relevance only seems to grow in time; would that we may evolve beyond the nuclear tragicomedy of our M.A.D. world…
“My idea of doing it as a nightmare comedy came in the early weeks of working on the screenplay. I found that in trying to put meat on the bones and to imagine the scenes fully, one had to keep leaving out of it things which were either absurd or paradoxical, in order to keep it from being funny; and these things seemed to be close to the heart of the scenes in question.” -Stanley Kubrick
Macmillan International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, vol. 1, p. 126