When a psychotic U.S. general launches a preemptive strike against Russia, the American president must deal with gung-ho military brass, bureaucratic bumblers, a drunken Soviet premier, and a twisted German rocket scientist. Stanley Kubrick's black-comedy masterpiece is one of the funniest, most insightful films ever made. Dr. Strangelove was originally going to be a thriller, but Kubrick found the many elements of the story darkly funny; he told film critic Joseph Gelmis, It occurred to me that I was approaching the project in the wrong way. The only way to tell the story was as a black comedy or, better, a nightmare comedy, where the things you laugh at most are really the heart of the paradoxical postures that make a nuclear war possible. Thus, Kubrick hired Terry Southern, author of The Magic Christian (the film version of which starred Peter Sellers); Southern said, [Kubrick] would talk about the mechanics of making [Dr. Strangelove] totally credible and convincing in terms of the fail safe aspect and then try to make that funny. And the way you make it funny, because the situation is absurd, is by dealing with it in terms of the dialogue and characters. When the film first got reviewed more credit was given to Southern than to Kubrick, who bought ad space in American papers claiming that Southern had nothing to do with the success of the film. After Southern wrote a letter to the New York Times explaining how the collaboration actually worked, the minibattle was settled.