“I do not avoid women, Mandrake, but… I do deny them my essence.”

Arriving Friday at Film Forum is Stanley Kubrick’s most overtly comic film, “Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” If, as is likely, you’ve already seen it, you may be surprised at how precisely calibrated its satire once again appears. Perhaps this is because the political thrust of our times perfectly suits the movie’s gleeful skewering of both the American cowboy ethos and the diastrous results that ensue from its boneheaded application to international relations (all phallic puns intended). In three roles, Peter Sellers is in absolute peak form, particularly when his Lt. Mandrake tries to get the recall code from a suicidally deranged Sterling Hayden (“And I can swear to you, my boy, swear to you, that there’s nothing wrong with my bodily fluids. Not a thing, Jackie!”) and during Strangelove’s climatic speech, but the two phone calls Sellers’ President makes to Dmitri Kissoff, the Russian premier, rise to the level of historical greatness. The utter genius of the film’s comedy extends its relevance far beyond the merely topical – by comparison, see the deadly serious “Failsafe,” made in the same year. And, as with all of Kubrick’s work, I defy you to find a lighting scheme that is less than painterly, a cut that is less than essentially motivated, a composition that is less than photographically brilliant, a form that is less than art.