In honor of Pi Day, the annual commemoration of the mathematical constant pi, or 3.14 (hence, March 14), below are images from perhaps the most infamous pie fights ever filmed – then never screened.
Die-hard Stanley Kubrick fans have long known about the pie fight which was to conclude Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb but was inevitably cut (the reasons for the edit span studio pressure to various observations that it just didn’t play). It’s unclear whether the footage still exists, which may be why it has yet to appear as a DVD extra. What does exist are various, grainy stills that show Peter Sellers, George C. Scott and anyone else who happened to be in the War Room, covered in curd, crust and whip cream.
Photos from DR. STRANGELOVE’s tragically scrapped “Pie Fight” scene, which Kubrick originally wanted to end the film (and the world) 🥧🌎 pic.twitter.com/WM5Y9hfHwc
— TIFF (@TIFF_NET) January 29, 2018
A page at TerrySouthern.com recounts the missing scene in the screenwriter’s own words:
This footage began at a point in the War Room where the Russian ambassador is seen, for the second time, surreptitiously taking photographs of the Big Board, using six or seven tiny spy-cameras disguised as a wristwatch, a diamond ring, a cigarette lighter, and cufflinks. The head of the joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott) catches him in flagrante and, as before, tackles him and throws him to the floor. They fight furiously until…
President Merkin Muffley famously intervenes:
“This is the War Room, gentlemen! How dare you fight in here!”
Then Turgidson insists that the ambassador is searched, including all “seven bodily orifices.” The ambassador will have none of it:
“Why you capitalist swine!” he roars, and reaches out of the frame to the huge three-tiered table that was wheeled in earlier. Then he turns back to General Turgidson, who now has a look of apprehension on his face as he ducks aside, managing to evade a custard pie that the ambassador is throwing at him. President Muffley has been standing directly behind the general, so that when he ducks, the president is hit directly in the face with the pie. He is so overwhelmed by the sheer indignity of being struck with a pie that he simply blacks out. General Turgidson catches him as he collapses.
Chaos ensues. Film history is made, then erased. Sigh. Happy Pi Day.