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Stanley Kubrick

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Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick
Kubrick filming Barry Lyndon (1975)
Born July 26, 1928
Bronx, New York,
United States
Died March 7, 1999 (aged70)
St Albans, Hertfordshire,
England, United Kingdom
Causeof death
Heart attack
Nationality American
Ethnicity Jewish American
Occupation Film director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor
Yearsactive 19511999
Spouse(s) Toba Etta Metz (194851; divorced)
Ruth Sobotka (195457; divorced)
Christiane Harlan (195899; his death)
Stanley Kubrick (/kubrk/; July 26, 1928 March 7, 1999) was an American film director, screenwriter, producer,
cinematographer, and editor who did much of his work in the United Kingdom. He is regarded by many as one of the
greatest filmmakers of all time. His films, typically adaptations of novels or short stories, are noted for their
"dazzling"
[1]
and unique cinematography, attention to detail in the service of realism, and the evocative use of music.
Kubrick's films covered a variety of genres, including war, crime, literary adaptations, romantic and black comedies,
horror, epic and science fiction. Kubrick was also noted for being a demanding perfectionist, using painstaking care
with scene staging, camera-work and coordinating extremely closely both with his actors and his behind-scenes
collaborators.
Starting out as a photographer in New York City, he taught himself all aspects of film production and directing after
graduating from high school. His earliest films were made on a shoestring budget, followed by one Hollywood
blockbuster, Spartacus, after which he spent most of the rest of his career living and filming in the United Kingdom.
His home at Childwickbury Manor in Hertfordshire (north of and near to London) became his workplace where he
Stanley Kubrick
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did his writing, research, editing and management of production details. This allowed him to have almost complete
artistic control, but with the rare advantage of having financial support from major Hollywood studios.
Many of his films broke new ground in cinematography, including 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), a science-fiction
film which director Steven Spielberg called his generation's "big bang," with innovative visual effects and scientific
realism.
[2]
For Barry Lyndon (1975), Kubrick obtained lenses developed by Zeiss for NASA in order to film scenes
under natural candlelight and The Shining (1980) was among the first feature films to make use of a Steadicam for
stabilized and fluid tracking shots. As with his earlier shorts, Kubrick was the cinematographer and editor on the first
two of his thirteen feature films. He directed, produced and wrote all or part of the screenplays for nearly all his
films.
While some of Kubrick's films were controversial with mixed reviews, such as Paths of Glory (1957), Lolita (1962),
and A Clockwork Orange (1971), most of his films were nominated for either Oscars, Golden Globes or BAFTAs,
and were later acclaimed as being masterpieces. Film historian Michel Ciment considers his films to be "among the
most important contributions to world cinema in the twentieth century." One writer states that "Kubrick is a legend
in every sense of the word, and is one of the most influential, shocking, and well-respected men in the history of
film,"
[3]
while director Norman Jewison calls him one of the "great masters" that America has produced.
[4]
Early years
Stanley Kubrick was born on July 26, 1928, in the Bronx, New York, the first of two children of Jacques (Jacob)
Leonard Kubrick (190185) and his wife Sadie Gertrude (ne Perveler; 190385), both of whom were Jewish. His
sister, Barbara Mary Kubrick, was born in 1934. Jacques Kubrick, whose parents and paternal grandparents were of
Polish, Austrian, and Romanian origin, was a doctor. At Stanley's birth, the Kubricks lived in an apartment at 2160
Clinton Avenue in The Bronx.
[5]:6
Kubrick biographer Geoffrey Cocks writes that Kubrick's family was not
religious, although his parents had been married in a Jewish ceremony.
[6]
When, in 1980, Michel Ciment asked
Kubrick whether he had a religious upbringing, he replied "No, not at all."
A friend of Kubrick's family notes that although his father was a prominent doctor, "Stanley and his mom were such
regular people. They had no airs about them."
:24
As a boy, he was considered "bookish" and generally uninterested
in activities in his Bronx neighborhood. According to a friend, "When we were teenagers hanging around the Bronx,
he was just another bright, neurotic, talented guyjust another guy trying to get into a game with my softball club
and mess around with girls." Many of his friends from his "close-knit neighborhood" would become involved with
his early films, including writing music scores and scripts.
Stanley Kubrick with his camera during his teen
years
When he was twelve, Kubrick's father taught him chess. The game
remained a lifelong obsession and appeared in many scenes in his
films. Kubrick explained the value of playing chess to his career thus:
If chess has any relationship to filmmaking, it would be in
the way it helps you develop patience and discipline in
choosing between alternatives at a time when an impulsive
decision seems very attractive.
:11
When he was thirteen, Kubrick's father bought him a Graflex camera,
triggering a fascination with still photography. As a teenager, Kubrick
was interested in jazz, and briefly attempted a career as a drummer. His
father was disappointed in his failure to achieve excellence in school,of which he felt Stanley fully capable. He
encouraged him to read from his library at home while, at the same time, permitting him to take up photography as a
serious hobby.
Kubrick attended William Howard Taft High School from 1941 to 1945 (one of his classmates was Edith
Gormezano, later known as the singer Eydie Gorme). He was a poor student, with a meager 67 grade average.
[7]
Stanley Kubrick
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According to his English teacher, "the idea of literature and the reading of literature, from a non-academic, from a
more human point of view, clearly was what interested him. He was a literary guy even as a young man ..."
:23
Kubrick had a poor attendance record, and often skipped school to take in double-feature films.
:15
He graduated in
1945, but his poor grades, combined with the demand for college admissions from soldiers returning from the
Second World War, eliminated hope of higher education. Later in life, Kubrick spoke disdainfully of his education
and of education in general, maintaining that nothing about school interested him. His parents sent him to live with
relatives for a year in Los Angeles in the hopes that it would help his academic growth.
Kubrick photo of Chicago taken as photographer for Look magazine,
1949
While still in high school, he was chosen as an official
school photographer for a year. In 1946, since he was
not able to gain admission to day session classes at
colleges, he briefly attended evening classes at the City
College of New York (CCNY).
:33
Eventually, he
sought jobs as a freelance photographer, and by
graduation, he had sold a photographic series to Look
magazine. Kubrick supplemented his income by
playing chess "for quarters" in Washington Square Park
and various Manhattan chess clubs.
[8]
In 1946, he became an apprentice photographer for
Look and later a full-time staff photographer. (Many
early [194550] photographs by Kubrick have been
published in the book Drama and Shadows [2005, Phaidon Press] and also appear as a special feature on the 2007
Special Edition DVD of 2001: A Space Odyssey.) In 2011, many of his photos for Look, previously available only
for viewing in museum archives or books, were hand selected from thousands by curators at the Museum of the City
of New York, and made available as limited edition prints.
[9]
During his Look magazine years, Kubrick married his high-school sweetheart Toba Metz in May 1948. They lived
together in Greenwich Village. During this time, Kubrick began frequenting film screenings at the Museum of
Modern Art and the cinemas of New York City. He was inspired by the complex, fluid camerawork of the director
Max Ophls, whose films influenced Kubrick's later visual style, and by the director Elia Kazan, whom he described
as America's "best director" at that time, with his ability of "performing miracles" with his actors.
[]
Career
Short films
In 1951, Kubrick made a few short documentaries, beginning with The March of Time newsreels to movie theatres.
His first was the independently financed Day of the Fight (1951), notable for using reverse tracking shot, later to
become one of Kubrick's characteristic camera movements.
[10]
Inspired by this early success, Kubrick quit his job at
Look and began work on others, including, Flying Padre (1951) and The Seafarers (1953), Kubrick's first color film.
These three films constitute Kubrick's only surviving documentary works, although some historians believe he made
others.
[11]
He also served as second unit director on an episode of the TV show, Omnibus, about Abraham Lincoln,
clips of which are included in the documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001).
Kubrick told writer Joseph Gelmis in 1969 how he became interested in making those documentaries:
Id had my job with Look since I was seventeen, and Id always been interested in films, but it never
actually occurred to me to make a film on my own until I had a talk with a friend from high school, Alex
Singer, who wanted to be a director himself.
[12]
Stanley Kubrick
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At the time, Singer worked in the offices of the newsreel production company, The March of Time, and Kubrick felt
he could make a film for much less than the company was paying other filmmakers, telling an interviewer, "I cant
believe it costs that much to make eight or nine minutes of film".
[13]
He began learning all he could about
filmmaking on his own, calling film suppliers, laboratories, and equipment rental houses. Kubrick decided to make a
short film documentary about a boxer, the same one he wrote a story about for Look a year earlier. He rented a
camera and produced a 16-minute black-and-white documentary, Day of the Fight. Kubrick summarizes this first
effort at filmmaking:
I was cameraman, director, editor, assistant editor, sound effects manyou name it, I did it. It was
invaluable experience, because being forced to do everything myself I gained a sound and
comprehensive grasp of all the technical aspects of filmmaking.
Fear and Desire (1953)
Fear and Desire (1953), Kubrick's first feature film, was a low-budget production about a team of soldiers caught
behind enemy lines in a fictional war. Kubrick and his wife Toba Metz were the only crew on the film, which was
written by his friend Howard Sackler. It garnered some respectable reviews but was still a commercial failure.
Kubrick was later embarrassed by the film as an amateur effort and tried to keep it out of circulation.
[14]
He called it
a "bumbling, amateur film exercise . . . a completely inept oddity, boring and pretentious."
[15]
The film is said to demonstrate Kubrick's early interest in warfare and, observes film historian James Naremore,
"He's especially interested in how rational, militaristic planning spins out of control and becomes irrational."
Kubrick's later films expressed different aspects of that theme, including Paths of Glory, Dr. Strangelove, and Full
Metal Jacket.
The film was shown for the first time on Turner Classic Movies in December 2011, and four of his early films,
including this one, became available in the fall of 2012.
[16]
Killer's Kiss (1955)
Killer's Kiss is a 67-minute film noir film about a young heavyweight boxer's involvement with a woman being
abused by her criminal boss. Like Fear and Desire, it was privately funded by Kubrick's family and friends, and
production was again made with "a virtual one-man crew," with Kubrick co-writing the script with Sackler.
Although the film met with limited commercial success,
[17][18]
film historian Alexander Walker notes that it was an
"oddly compelling work that tells much about the young Kubrick and explains why he stirred up immediate critical
notice".
[]:45
The film had a number of striking aspects, states Walker: "Kubrick's talent for lighting and
photographing a scene so as to abstract its latent emotional value"; and the tone of the film with its urban loneliness
and melancholy.
:45
The Killing (1956)
The Killing is a fictional story of a meticulously planned racetrack robbery gone wrong, starring Sterling Hayden.
This is Kubrick's first full-length feature film shot with a professional cast and crew. Its non-linear narrative would
have a major influence on later directors, including Quentin Tarantino,
[19][20]
The Killing followed many of the
conventions of film noir, in both its plotting and cinematography style, and although the genre peaked in the 1940s,
many critics regard this film as one of its best.
[21]
Not a financial success, it still received good reviews,
[22]
and
brought Kubrick and his producer partner, James B. Harris, to the attention of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer,
[23]
which
offered them its massive collection of stories from which to choose their next project.
Stanley Kubrick
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Paths of Glory (1957)
Kubrick's next film, Paths of Glory, set during World War I, is based on Humphrey Cobb's 1935 antiwar novel, and
stars Kirk Douglas. It follows a French army unit ordered on an impossible mission by their superiors. The film was
his first significant commercial success, and was critically acclaimed and admired within the industry, establishing
Kubrick as a major up-and-coming young filmmaker.
Critics praised the film's unsentimental, spare, and unvarnished combat scenes and its raw, black-and-white
cinematography.
[24]
However, the film was banned in both France and (for less time) Germany for many years for its
fictionalized depictions of the French military.
Kubrick's cinematography was particularly commented on by critics, along with other directors. "Colonel Dax's
(Kirk Douglas) march through his soldier's trench in a single, unbroken reverse-tracking shot has become a classic
cinematic trope cited in film classes," and director Steven Spielberg once named this his favorite film.
Uncredited work on One-Eyed Jacks (1961)
Kubrick worked for six months on the Marlon Brando vehicle One-Eyed Jacks (1961). The script was written by
then unknown Sam Peckinpah, but Kubrick insisted on rewriting it. Kubrick quit as director, explaining, "When I left
Brando's picture, it still didn't have a finished script. It had just become obvious to me that Brando wanted to direct
the movie."
Spartacus (1960)
Kubrick directing Woody Strode and Kirk Douglas in the
gladiator ring for Spartacus
Spartacus is based on the true life story of the historical
figure and the events of the Third Servile War. It was
produced by Kirk Douglas who also starred as rebellious
slave Spartacus, and Laurence Olivier as his foe, the
Roman general and politician Marcus Licinius Crassus.
Douglas hired Kubrick to take over direction soon after
he fired director Anthony Mann.
Although Kubrick had by that time, at age 31, already
directed four feature films, this became his largest by far,
with a cast of over 10,000, and at the time was the most
expensive film ever made in America. It was also the first
time that Kubrick filmed using anamorphic 35mm
horizontal Super Technirama process to achieve
ultra-high definition, and which allowed him to capture large panoramic scenes, including one with 8,000 trained
soldiers from Spain representing the Roman army. Kubrick was accustomed to staging and lighting all scenes as a
result of his photography background. According to film author Alan K. Rode, Kubrick began directing
cinematographer Russell Metty, who was twice Kubrick's age, how to photograph and light scenes, which led to
Metty threatening to quit. However, Metty later muted his criticisms after winning the Oscar for Best
Cinematography, his only win during his career.
[25]:134
Kubrick had conflicts with Douglas, including his dissatisfaction with the screenplay. He also complained about not
having full creative control over the artistic aspects. For Douglas, the film was a "labor of love". He had used his
own funds to purchase an option on the book Spartacus from author Howard Fast, and he hired all the primary
creative forces involved in production, including Kubrick.
[26]:226
Nevertheless, Kubrick realized that in the future he
wanted to have autonomy on any films he worked on. "Spartacus is the only film on which I did not have absolute
control," he would later say.
:193[27]
Stanley Kubrick
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Originally, Howard Fast was hired to adapt his own novel as a screenplay, but he had difficulty working in the
format. He was replaced by Dalton Trumbo, who had been blacklisted as one of the Hollywood Ten. Douglas
insisted that Trumbo be given screen credit for his work, which helped to break the blacklist.
[28][29]
The filming was plagued by the conflicting visions of Kubrick and Trumbo. Kubrick complained that the character
of Spartacus had no faults or quirks, and he later distanced himself from the film.
[30]
Despite the on-set troubles,
Spartacus was a critical and commercial success and established Kubrick as a major director, receiving six Academy
Award nominations and winning four. However, it marked the end of the working relationship between Kubrick and
Douglas, although co-star Tony Curtis, in his autobiography, called Kubrick his favorite director, writing, "His
greatest effectiveness was his one-on-one relationship with actors".
:193
Lolita (1962)
In 1962, Kubrick moved to England to film Lolita, his first attempt at black comedy. It was an adaptation of the
novel of the same name by Vladimir Nabokov, the story of a middle-aged college professor becoming infatuated
with a 12-year-old girl. It starred Peter Sellers, James Mason, Shelley Winters, and Sue Lyon. Lolita was Kubrick's
first film to generate controversy because of its provocative story.
[31]
Kubrick toned down the screen adaptation to
remove much of the eroticism in the novel
:225
and made it into "an epic comedy of frustration rather than lust,"
writes film author Adrian Turner.
[]
Kubrick searched for nearly a year to find what Nabokov called "the perfect nymphet" to play the part. After
interviewing Sue Lyon, he found her to be nearly perfect and recalls his reaction:
From the first, she was interesting to watcheven in the way she walked in for her interview, casually
sat down, walked out. She was cool and non-giggly. She was enigmatic without being dull. She could
keep people guessing about how much Lolita knew about life. When she left us, we shouted to each
other, 'Now if she can only act!'
:203
Kubrick was deeply impressed by the chameleon-like range of actor Peter Sellers and gave him one of his first
opportunities to wildly improvise during shooting while filming him with three cameras. To best utilize Sellers'
talents, Kubrick, in consultation with him, vastly expanded the role of Clare Quilty and added new material in which
Quilty impersonates various other characters.
:204205
Stylistically, Lolita was a transitional film for Kubrick, "marking the turning point from a naturalistic cinema ... to
the surrealism of the later films," notes film critic Gene Youngblood.
[32]
The film received mixed reviews, with
some critics praising it for its daring subject matter, while others, like Pauline Kael, describing it as the "first new
American comedy" since the 1940s. "Lolita is black slapstick and at times it's so far out that you gasp as you
laugh."
:224
According to social historian Stephen E. Kercher, the film "demonstrated that its director possessed a keen, satiric
insight into the social landscape and sexual hang-ups of cold war America". Kubrick had shown an affinity for
liberal satire when he approached others he hoped would become collaborators: he asked comedian Lenny Bruce to
work with him on a film, and did the same with fellow Bronx native, cartoonist Jules Feiffer, whom he invited to Los
Angeles to work with him on a screenplay titled Sick, Sick, Sick.
:331
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Kubrick's next project was Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), another
satirical black comedy. Because Kubrick came of age after World War II and the beginning of the Cold War period,
he, like many others, was worried about the possibilities of nuclear war. He became preoccupied with it in the late
1950s, fearing that New York, where he lived, could be a likely target, and even considered moving to Australia,
particularly Sydney or Melbourne. He began consulting with others about the possibility of making the subject into a
movie.
:227
Stanley Kubrick
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The novel Red Alert was recommended to Kubrick, and after reading it he saw in it the makings of a good film story
about nuclear war. Kubrick then began working on a screenplay along with his producer, James B. Harris, who had
produced three of his previous films.
During that writing period, Kubrick decided that turning the otherwise frightening and serious story into a satire
would be the best way to make it into a film, although Harris felt otherwise, and chose not to produce it. Kubrick told
Harris, "The only way this thing really works for me is as a satire. It's the same point, but it's just a better way of
making the point."
:228229
Harris recalls that period:
I said to myself, 'I leave him alone for ten minutes and he's going to blow his whole career.' I was
actually convinced he was out of control to do this as a comedy as it turns out, it's my favorite Kubrick
picture.
:229
According to LoBrutto and others, "Kubrick was taking a bold and dangerous leap" in his decision to make Red Alert
into a comedy, as the topic of nuclear war as a film subject at that time was "considered taboo" and "hardly socially
acceptable".
:229
Nevertheless, before writing the screenplay as a satire, Kubrick studied over forty military and
political research books, including unclassified information on nuclear weapons and effects from Charles B.Yulish,
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. He decided that a "serious treatment" of the subject would not be believable, and
that some of his most salient points would be fodder for comedy. He then decided to try to "treat the story as a
nightmare comedy."
:29
Kubrick found that the film would be impossible to make in the U.S. for various technical and political reasons,
forcing him to move production to England. There, he developed what became the "first important visual effects
crew in the world".
:233
To help him write the screenplay, Kubrick hired noted black comedy and satirical writer
Terry Southern. Together, they worked closely to transform Red Alert into "an outrageous black comedy" loaded
with "outrageous dialogue". LoBrutto notes that the final product is a "raucous satire" that merges Kubrick's
"devilishly dark sense of humor" from the New York streets and Southern's "manic comedic mind."
:233
The "war room" in Dr. Strangelove
From his collection of thousands of record albums, both
classical and golden oldies, Kubrick also selected
background songs and music which added to the satirical
and sardonic effect: during the opening credits with B-52
bombers in flight, the song "Try a Little Tenderness" set
the scene; the pilots proceeded to fly into hostile territory,
knowing they would not return, to the tune of "When
Johnny Comes Marching Home"; scenes depicting
nuclear explosions featured the song "We'll Meet Again".
The "war room" set created for the film by set designer
Ken Adam was considered a "classic of movie design."
Director Steven Spielberg told Adam at a later date that it
was the "best set that's ever been designed."
[33]
Because of perception that Peter Sellers had been pivotal to the success of Lolita, Sellers was again cast to employ
his ability to mimic different characters, this time in three different roles. As he had in Lolita, Kubrick allowed
Sellers to wildly improvise his dialogue.
[34]
The film stirred up much controversy and mixed opinions. New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther worried that
it was a "discredit and even contempt for our whole defense establishment . . . the most shattering sick joke I've ever
come across".
[]
Whereas Time, the Nation, Newsweek and Life, among many, gave it "positive, often ecstatic
reviews". Historian and philosopher Lewis Mumford, decades later, "saluted" Kubrick for "having successfully
utilized the only method capable of evading our national censorrelentless but hilarious satire". Kubrick himself
once stated:
Stanley Kubrick
8
A satirist is someone who has a very skeptical view of human nature, but who still has the optimism to
make some sort of a joke out of it. However brutal that joke might be.
[35]
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Kubrick spent five years developing his next film, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The film was adapted from the
short story The Sentinel, by science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, and the screenplay was written by Kubrick and
Clarke in collaboration. The film's theme, the birthing of one intelligence by another, is developed in two parallel
intersecting stories on two very different times scales. One depicts transitions between various stages of man, from
ape to "star child", as man is reborn into a new existence, each step shepherded by an enigmatic alien intelligence
seen only in its artifacts: a series of seemingly indestructible eons-old black monoliths. It also depicts human
interaction with our own more directly created and controlled offspring intelligence (which we were evidently not
quite ready for). The film was conceived as a Cinerama spectacle and was photographed in Super Panavision 70.
Upon its release in 1968, the film was said to defy genre convention and was claimed to be unlike any science-fiction
movie before it, and different from any of Kubrick's earlier films or stories.
[36]
It contained ground-breaking special
effects designed by Kubrick to give the viewer a "dazzling mix of imagination and science," and winning Kubrick
his only personal Oscar, an Academy Award for Visual Effects.
"I was blown away from the beginning with the Dawn of Man. I just couldn't believe it, it just took my breath away. . . . It was the
first of the big science fiction films."
Keir Dullea (co-star)
after the film's premiere in Washington, D.C.
:311
Kubrick was very much interested in science and the possibilities that life existed beyond Earth. When Kubrick first
contacted Clarke through his friend about helping him write the film, he assumed Clarke was a "recluse," then living
in Ceylon. Clarke replied back to his friend, "Frightfully interested in working with Enfant Terrible. . . What makes
Kubrick think I'm a recluse?" They first met in person in New York, although Kubrick did not offer Clarke the job of
writing at that point, nor was the possible film discussed. LoBrutto notes that Clarke "emerged from the meeting
impressed with Kubrick's pure intelligence and his ability to comprehend new ideas and concepts
instantaneously".
:257
Subsequently, after they agreed to the story, Kubrick worked closely with Clarke for three months to produce a
130-page treatment for the film, and consulted with other experts and agencies while doing so.
[37]:146
Initially,
Clarke worked in Kubrick's apartment office on Central Park West with an electric typewriter. Science writer Albert
Rosenfeld explains Kubrick's method of learning about subjects:
When a subject interested Kubrick, he never let it get away until he was through with it. He probed with
a ruthless tenacity, asking the right questions, comprehending all he was told, never getting enough
details to satisfy him.
Clarke would later comment about this period: "Every time I get through a session with Stanley, I have to go lie
down."
[]
Kubrick describes the movie as "a nonverbal experience," but would not elaborate on the film's meaning during a
Playboy magazine interview in 1968:
[I] tried to create a visual experience, one that bypasses verbalized pigeon-holing and directly penetrates
the subconscious with an emotional and philosophic content . . . , just as music does. . . . You're free to
speculate as you wish about the philosophical and allegorical meaning.
In an interesting contrast within a film infused with allegory and symbolism, the film was also noted for its
groundbreaking scientific realism in depicting space flight, for example in its depiction of various strategies to deal
with zero-gravity, the absence of sound in outer space, artificial intelligence, and the fact that interplanetary space
travel will require different kinds of vehicles engineered for different stages of the journey.
Stanley Kubrick
9
2001 was the first of several Kubrick films in which classical music played an important role. At the suggestion of
Jan Harlan, Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss was included,
[38]
used for the opening credits, in the "The
Dawn of Man" sequence and again in the ending scene which astronaut David Bowman,as the "star child", gazes at
Earth. Kubrick also used music by avant-garde Hungarian composer Gyrgy Ligeti, his work's first wide commercial
exposure, along with Johann Strausss Blue Danube Waltz.
The film was not an immediate hit among many critics, however, who faulted its lack of dialogue, slow pacing, and
seemingly impenetrable storyline. Others, like Penelope Gilliatt,
[39]
called it "a great film," and numerous directors
were inspired by it.
:314
Many today consider it among the greatest science fiction films ever made,
[40]
as well as one
of the most influential.
[41]
After it was shown at a private screening at the Vatican, producer Jan Harlan recalls that a
cardinal stood up and said to the audience, "Here is a film made by an agnostic who hit the bullseye."
[42]
Today, many film critics and moviemakers regard it "as the most significant Hollywood breakthrough since Citizen
Kane (1941), with some, such as Steven Spielberg, calling it his generation's "big bang".
[43]
It is a staple on All Time
Top 10 lists.
[44]
Napoleon, unrealized film
Following 2001 (1968), Kubrick planned to make a film about the life of the French emperor Napoleon. He had
already spent two years doing extensive research about Napoleon's life, and would use a screenplay he wrote in
1961. The film was well into pre-production and ready to begin filming in 1969 when MGM suddenly cancelled the
project, partly due to its projected cost, and the poor reception the Soviet version received.
During interviews with Michael Ciment, Kubrick said he still intended to do the film some day. He also explained
that his screenplay adopted a chronological approach to his life:
Napoleon himself once remarked what a great novel his life would be. I'm sure he would have said
"movie" if he had known about them. His entire life is the story, and it works perfectly well in the order
it happened. It would also be nice to do it as a twenty hour TV series, but there is, as yet, not enough
money available in TV to properly budget such a venture.
:197
In March 2013, director Steven Spielberg, who previously collaborated with Kubrick on A.I. Artificial Intelligence,
announced that he would be developing Napoleon as a TV miniseries based on Kubrick's original screenplay.
[45]
Screenwriter and director Andrew Birkin, one of Kubrick's young assistants on 2001, helped research the life of
Napoleon for Kubrick. He was sent to the Isle of Elba, Austerlitz and Waterloo, taking thousands of pictures which
he later went over with Kubrick. Kubrick also had him read scholarly monographs about Napoleon as well as
Napoleon's personal memoirs and commentaries.
In 2011, Taschen published the book, Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made, a large volume
compilation of literature and source documents from Kubrick, such as scene photo ideas and copies of letters
Kubrick wrote and received. Kubrick had already approached numerous stars to play leading roles, including Audrey
Hepburn for Empress Josephine, a part which Hepburn couldn't accept.
[][46]
Decades later, Birkin remembered this period when he saw Kubrick on television receiving an award, recalling how
Kubrick "quite frequently gave young people opportunities".
At first I didn't recognize him, he looked like a biblical patriarch. Then I saw the old Stanley when he
smiled slightly, and there was that old gleam in his eyes. I adored the man, worshiped him like a hero,
and regret that I never told him that I was enormously grateful to him.
:283
Julian Senior, V.P. of London's Warner Brothers' office, also said of Kubrick that "he's a great help to young
directors, he recommends them to the company if he feels they have talent".
:225
Stanley Kubrick
10
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
When financing for Napoleon fell through, Kubrick searched for a project that he could film quickly on a small
budget. He settled on A Clockwork Orange (1971). His adaptation of Anthony Burgess' novel of the same name is an
exploration of violence and experimental rehabilitation by law enforcement authorities. LoBrutto describes the film
as a "sociopolitical statement about the government's threat against personal freedom,"
:371
and Ciment explains that
through the story, Kubrick "is denouncing brainwashing of every kind and making a plea for free-will".
:122
Kubrick
did not deny those conclusions, asserting that even with good motives there were limits to how society should
maintain "law and order".
The State sees the spectre looming ahead of terrorism and anarchy, and this increases the risk of its
over-reaction and a reduction in our freedom.
:163
Because of its depiction of teenage violence, however, the film became one of the most controversial films of the
decade, and part of an ongoing debate about violence in cinema.
[47]
Detractors claimed the film glorified violence.
Kubrick personally pulled the film from release in the United Kingdom after receiving death threats after a series of
copycat crimes based on the film; it was thus banned completely until after Kubrick's death, and not re-released until
2000. Kubrick disagreed that a film could transform a person into a criminal, and argued that "violent crime is
invariably committed by people with a long record of anti-social behavior"
:163
Nevertheless, Kubrick defended the depiction of high levels of violence in the film arguing "The violence in the
story has to be given sufficient dramatic weight so that the moral dilemma it poses can be seen in the right context"
otherwise the viewer would not reach a "meaningful conclusion about relative rights and wrongs". The State cannot
turn even the most "vicious criminals into vegetables".
:162163
Kubrick also expanded his ideas to the nation's popular media and worried that it could have a similar effect on a
wider scale. In a letter Kubrick had published by the New York Times in 1972, he warned against what he described
as multimedia "fascism" that could also turn human beings into "zombies". Author Julian Rice explains that in this
larger context, Kubrick implies that "spectators" of media can become a "massive entity subject to predictable
response".
[48]
A Clockwork Orange was rated 'X' for violence in the USA on its original release just a year before that rating
became linked to pornography. Kubrick later released a cut version for an 'R' rating, though the original version has
now been re-rated to 'R'.
Barry Lyndon (1975)
Barry Lyndon (1975) was an adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's The Luck of Barry Lyndon (also known
as Barry Lyndon), a picaresque novel about the adventures of an 18th-century Irish gambler and social climber. The
cinematography and lighting techniques that Kubrick, together with his cinematographer John Alcott, used in Barry
Lyndon were highly innovative. Most notably, interior scenes were shot with a specially adapted high-speed f/0.7
Zeiss camera lens originally developed for NASA to be used in satellite photography. The lenses allowed many
scenes to be lit only with candlelight, creating two-dimensional, diffused-light images reminiscent of 18th-century
paintings. Cinematographer Allen Daviau says that it gives the audience a way of seeing the characters and scenes as
they would have been seen by people at the time.
A number of production experts have described the efforts that Kubrick took to both acquire the lenses, considered
"priceless" by the head of Panavision, and adapt it for use on his camera. He had to have the camera engineered and
rebuilt, which made it dedicated for that one lens only. Ed Di Giulio, who rebuilt the camera for Kubrick, says that it
is two f-stops faster than even the fastest lenses currently available.
[]
Barry Lyndon found a great audience in Europe, particularly in France. However, its measured pace and length at
three hours put off many American critics and audiences, although the film was nominated for seven Academy
Awards and won four, more than any other Kubrick film. As with most of Kubrick's films, Barry Lyndon's reputation
Stanley Kubrick
11
has grown through the years, particularly among filmmakers. The director Martin Scorsese has cited it as his favorite
Kubrick film. Spielberg has praised its "impeccable technique", although he had panned it when much younger.
[49]
Like its two predecessors, the film does not have an original score. Irish traditional songs (performed by The
Chieftains) are combined with classical works from the period.
According to some critics who recognized the technical skills and special lenses used for the film, "every scene could
have been a painting". Writer George Lewis points out that for many of the scenes, Kubrick posed the actors for an
instant before the action, thereby emphasizing this painterly quality. He adds, "The scenes look like European
paintings of the 1700s and 1800s," and such paintings are considered art in the American popular mind.
[50]
The
effect was accentuated, notes Ciment, by Kubrick's use of "slow reverse zoom which, moving out from a single
character, enlarges the field of vision until its powerful scrutiny takes possession of the whole decor".
:114
Kubrick
told Ciment, "I created a picture file of thousands of drawings and paintings for every type of reference that we could
have wanted. I think I destroyed every art book you could buy in a bookshop."
[51]
The Shining (1980)
The Shining, released in 1980, was adapted from the novel of the same name by bestselling horror writer Stephen
King. The film stars Jack Nicholson as a writer who takes a job as a winter caretaker of a large and isolated hotel in
the Rocky Mountains. He spends the winter there with his wife, played by Shelley Duvall, and their young son, who
displays paranormal abilities. During their stay, they confront both Jack's descent into madness and apparent
supernatural horrors lurking in the hotel.
Kubrick, who was noted for giving his actors freedom to extend the script, and even improvise on occasion, did so
with the film's main stars, Nicholson and Duvall. Nicholson notes that actors were given new script pages or
revisions on almost a daily basis. According to LoBrutto, Kubrick made it clear that the printed script was to be used
as a guide "to use to find the real scene with the actors...". On the set, Nicholson always appeared in character, and if
Kubrick felt confident, after they considered how a scene could be shot, that he knew his lines well enough, he might
encourage him, as he did Peter Sellers, to improvise.
:434
As a result, writes LoBrutto, "one of Nicholson's inspired
improvisations was the now legendary 'Here's Johnny!' line after he has axed in the bathroom door to get to the
frightened Wendy".
:433
Vivian Kubrick's film, The Making of The Shining, shows Nicholson and Duvall rehearsing the scene and revising
the script along with Kubrick. Kubrick allowed his daughter Vivian to film the documentary, an unusual move as he
kept access to the set closed to all others.
:434
Kubrick made extensive use of the newly invented Steadicam, a weight-balanced camera support, which allowed for
smooth hand-held camera movement in scenes where a conventional camera track was impractical. According to
Garrett Brown, Steadicam's inventor, it was the first picture to utilize its full potential.
[52]
Kubrick's perfectionist
style required dozens of takes of certain scenes. Nicholson's scene with the ghostly bartender was shot thirty-six
times, for example.
The film opened to mixed reviews, but proved a commercial success. As with most Kubrick films, subsequent
critical reaction has treated the film more favorably. Among horror movie fans, The Shining is a cult classic.
[53]
The
film's financial success renewed Warner Brothers' faith in Kubrick's ability to make profitable films after the
commercial failure in the US of Barry Lyndon.
While Kubrick admitted he had always been interested in the subject of ESP and paranormal experiences, he only
first became interested in doing the film after he read King's novel, calling it "one of the most ingenious and exciting
stories of the genre I had read". Kubrick added that he believed that such "fantasy stories at their best serve the same
function for us that fairy tales and mythology formerly did. . . . The nineteenth century was the golden age of
realistic fiction. The twentieth century may be the golden age of fantasy."
:181
King was surprised when Kubrick told him he thought stories of the supernatural "were always optimistic" because
they "suggest we survive death". Kubrick concluded, "If we survive death, thats optimistic".
[54]
In a subsequent
Stanley Kubrick
12
interview, Kubrick expanded on this idea and its relevance to The Shining's story:
I think the unconscious appeal of a ghost story, for instance, lies in its promise of immortality. If you
can be frightened by a ghost story, then you must accept the possibility that supernatural beings exist. If
they do, then there is more than just oblivion waiting beyond the grave.
:181
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Seven years later, Kubrick made his next film, Full Metal Jacket (1987), an adaptation of Gustav Hasford's Vietnam
War novel The Short-Timers. Kubrick said to film critic Steven Hall that his attraction to Gustav Hasford's book was
because it was "neither antiwar or prowar", held "no moral or political position", and was primarily concerned with
"the way things are".
It was filmed in a derelict gasworks in the London Docklands area which was adapted as a ruined-city set, which
makes the film visually very different from other Vietnam War films. Instead of a tropical jungle, the second half of
the picture unfolds in a city undergoing urban warfare.
:469470
Reviewers and commentators thought this contributed
to the bleakness and seriousness of the film.
According to Ciment, the film contained some of Kubrick's trademark characteristics, such as his selection of ironic
music, portrayals of men being dehumanized, and attention to extreme detail to achieve realism. At the beginning of
the film, as new and expressionless recruits have their hair cut down to their scalp, the song "Goodbye Sweetheart,
Hello Vietnam" is playing in the background; in a later scene where United States Marines patrol the ruins of an
abandoned and totally destroyed city, the theme song to the Mickey Mouse Club is heard as a sardonic counterpoint.
The film is split into halves. The recruits in boot camp are also subjected to what Ciment calls "a form of lobotomy,
a barrage of physical and verbal aggression". Ciment writes, "In the transition from man to weapon, Kubrick
underlines the process of dehumanization . . . . the same contradiction between the mechanical and the living that is
manifest in A Clockwork Orange.
:234
According to one review, notes co-star Matthew Modine, "The first half of
FMJ is brilliant. Then the film degenerates into a masterpiece."
[55]
Modine's book, Full Metal Jacket Diary, includes
other background details and photographs covering the two years the film was being made.
[56]
Ciment also recognizes aspects of this war film with Paths of Glory (1957), which Kubrick directed thirty years
earlier. There are similarities in both films, such as the use of natural lighting, an off-screen narrator, attention to
detail, a sense of chaos, and the exploration of panoramic spaces. As a result, both films "accentuate the impression
of reality . . . . and photographic hyper-realism".
:236
A few of the methods for achieving this realistic look was explained by Kubrick:
I try to photograph things realistically. I try to light them as they really would be lit. On interiors I used
natural light and windows and no supplemental lights. I was after a realistic, documentary look in the
film, especially in the combat footage. Even the Steadicam shots were deliberately made less steady to
get a newsreel effect.
:246
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Kubrick's final film was Eyes Wide Shut (1999), starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman as a wealthy Manhattan
couple on a sexual odyssey. The story is based on Arthur Schnitzler's Freudian novella Traumnovelle (Dream Story
in English), which Kubrick relocated from turn-of-the-century Vienna to New York City in the 1990s. The film's
theme has been described by actor Jack Nicholson as delving into questions of the "dangers of married life," and the
"silent desperations of keeping an ongoing relationship alive".
[57]
Screenwriter Michael Herr notes that although the film outwardly presents "sex and thrills" as its subject, its ending
conveys a message valuing "marriage and fidelity". The "core theme" of the film, writes Webster, is that of
"monogamous fidelity".
:142
Stanley Kubrick
13
The secret password that Cruise needed in the film was "Fidelio". Historian Stuart McDougall adds that Fidelio is,
"ironically," the title of Beethoven's only opera, and which is subtitled, "Married Love".
[58]
"One could argue
Kubrick strengthened this idea via his choice of password in the film," adds Webster, as the original password by
Schnitzler was "Denmark". According to Herr, "Fidelio" is the password and the presiding spirit of the piece.
[59]:82
The title of the film also gives a clue to that theme. Webster sees an antecedent to the title phrase, "eyes wide shut,"
in a quotation by Benjamin Franklin on marriage:
Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.
:142[60]
Critic Charles Whitehouse agrees, stating, "My guess is that the phrase "Eyes Wide Shut" is shorthand for the most
successful attitude a monogamous couple can adopt to viewing each other's inner life.
:142
Kubrick's wife noted his long-standing interest in the project, saying "over the years he would see friends getting
divorced and remarried, and the topic [of the film] would come up". She knew that this was a subject he wanted to
make into a film. Co-star Nicole Kidman observed that "Stanley's expectations of people were not really high".
Although Kubrick was almost seventy years of age, he worked relentlessly for 15 months in order to get the film out
by its planned release date of July 16, 1999. He worked 18 hours a day, all the while maintaining complete
confidentiality about the film. Press releases were sent to the media, stating briefly that "Stanley Kubrick's next film
will be Eyes Wide Shut, a story of jealousy and sexual obsession . . . "
[]:141
Eyes Wide Shut, like Lolita and A
Clockwork Orange before it, faced censorship before release. Kubrick sent an unfinished preview copy to the stars
and producers a few months before release, but his sudden death on March 7, 1999 came a few days after he finished
editing. He never saw the final version released to the public.
:311
Film critic Michel Ciment believes that "he literally worked himself to death," trying to complete the film to his
liking. Ciment explains that Kubrick's desire to keep this, and many of his earlier films, private and unpublicized
during its production, was an expression of Kubrick's "will to power," and not a penchant for secrecy: "Kubrick felt,
quite rightly, that the public generally knows far too much about a film before it opens and that the surrounding
media frenzy made the joy of surprise and pleasure of discovery impossible".
:311
Speaking about the film, Kidman notes that despite some critics describing the film's theme as "dark," in essence "it
is a very hopeful film". During an interview in the documentary, Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, she says that
Kubrick was indirectly stressing the moral values of "commitment and loyalty," adding that "ultimately, Eyes Wide
Shut is about that commitment". Although there were rumors at the time that making the film may have negatively
impacted her marriage to Tom Cruise, and they both recognized that "Stanley wanted to use our marriage as a
supposed reality . . . . obviously it wasn't us," and she does not believe it affected their relationship.
[61]
She also felt
that acting under Kubrick's direction "was like having a great, great teacher."
[62]
It's optimum to work with someone trying to shift things, to give us a greater understanding of why
we're here, what we are. When you're working with someone like that, as Stanley was, it's an honor.
Sydney Pollack, who acted in the film, adds that "the heart of [the film] was illustrating a truth about relationships
and sexuality. But it was not illustrated in a literal way, but in a theatrical way." Michel Ciment agrees with Kidman,
and notes the positive meaning underlying the film, pointing out how some of it is voiced through the dialog, and
suggests that the words "resonate like an epitaph" to Kubrick:
Kubrick, shortly before his death, for the first time in his career, offers us a glimpse of the light at the
end of the tunnel, the dawn at the end of the nocturnal journey . . . Alice [Kidman] learns the lesson of
her and Bill's emotional odyssey: "Maybe, I think, we should be grateful... grateful that we've managed
to survive through all of our adventures, whether they were real or only a dream".
Stanley Kubrick
14
Work on A. I. Artificial Intelligence
Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Kubrick collaborated with Brian Aldiss on an expansion of his short story
"Super-Toys Last All Summer Long" into a three-act film. It was a futuristic fairy-tale about a robot that resembles
and behaves as a child, and his efforts to become a 'real boy' in a manner similar to Pinocchio. Kubrick reportedly
held long telephone discussions with Steven Spielberg regarding the film, and, according to Spielberg, at one point
stated that the subject matter was closer to Spielberg's sensibilities than his.
[63]
In 1999, following Kubrick's death, Spielberg took the various drafts and notes left by Kubrick and his writers and
composed a new screenplay based on an earlier 90-page story treatment by Ian Watson written under Kubrick's
supervision and according to Kubrick's specifications. In association with what remained of Kubrick's production
unit, he directed the movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence.
[64]
which was produced by Kubrick's longtime producer (and
brother-in-law) Jan Harlan. Sets, costumes and art direction were based on work by conceptual artist, Chris Baker,
who had also done much of his work under Kubrick's supervision.
Although Spielberg was able to function autonomously in Kubrick's absence, he nevertheless said he felt "inhibited
to honor him," and followed Kubrick's visual schema with as much fidelity as he could, writes author Joseph
McBride. Spielberg, who once referred to Kubrick as "the greatest master I ever served," now with production
underway, admitted, "I felt like I was being coached by a ghost".
[65]
The film was released in June 2001. It contains a posthumous production credit for Stanley Kubrick at the beginning
and the brief dedication "For Stanley Kubrick" at the end. The film contains many recurrent Kubrick motifs, such as
an omniscient narrator, an extreme form of the three-act structure, the themes of humanity and inhumanity, and a
sardonic view of psychiatry.
[citation needed]
In addition, John Williams' score contains many allusions to pieces heard
in other Kubrick films.
Unrealized projects
Kubrick both developed and was offered several film ideas which never saw completion. The most notable of these
were an epic biopic of Napoleon and a Holocaust-themed film entitled Aryan Papers. Kubrick had done much
research on Napoleon and it was well into pre-production, when the studio suddenly pulled the plug after another
big-budget biopic about Napoleon entitled Waterloo failed financially. Work on Aryan Papers depressed Kubrick
enormously, and he eventually decided that Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List covered much of the same material.
Tony Frewin, an assistant who worked with the director for a long period of time, revealed in a March 2013 Atlantic
article: "He [Kubrick] was limitlessly interested in anything to do with Nazis and desperately wanted to make a film
on the subject." The article then elaborates upon Frewin's statement and discusses another World War II film that
was never realizeda film based on the life story of Dietrich Schulz-Koehn, a Nazi officer who used the pen name
"Dr. Jazz" to write reviews of German music scenes during the Nazi era. Kubrick had been given a copy of the Mike
Zwerin book Swing Under the Nazis after he had finished production on Full Metal Jacket, the front cover of which
featured a photograph of Schulz-Koehn. However, a screenplay was never completed and Kubrick's film adaptation
plan was never initiated (the unfinished Aryan Papers was a factor in the abandonment of the project).
Kubrick was also unable to direct a film of Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum as Eco had given his publisher
instructions to never sell the film rights to any of his books after his dissatisfaction with the film version of The
Name of the Rose. However, Eco was unaware specifically of Kubrick's interest and later said he would have
relented had he known of it.
When the film rights to Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings were sold to United Artists, The Beatles approached Kubrick
to direct them in a film based on the books, but Kubrick told John Lennon he felt the story was unfilmable.
[66]
Director Peter Jackson has reported that Tolkien was against the involvement of the Beatles.
Stanley Kubrick
15
Career influences
Early years
Kubrick's family and many critics felt that his Jewish ancestry may have contributed to his worldview and aspects of
his films. After his death, both his daughter and wife stated that although he was not religious, "he did not deny his
Jewishness, not at all". His daughter noted that he wanted to make a film about the Holocaust, to have been called
Aryan Papers, having spent years researching the subject.
[67]
Most of his friends and early photography and film
collaborators were Jewish, and his first two marriages were to daughters of recent Jewish immigrants from Europe.
British screenwriter Frederic Raphael, who worked closely with Kubrick in his final years, believes that the
originality of Kubrick's films was partly because he "had a (Jewish?) respect for scholars". He said that it was
"absurd to try to understand Stanley Kubrick without reckoning on Jewishness as a fundamental aspect of his
mentality".
[68]
Cinematography
Walker notes that Kubrick was influenced by the tracking and "fluid camera" styles of director Max Ophls, and
used them in many of his films, including Paths of Glory and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
[][69]
Kubrick noted how in
Ophuls' films "the camera went through every wall and every floor".
[70]
He once named Ophls' Le Plaisir as his
favorite film. According to film historian John Wakeman, Ophls himself learned the technique from director
Anatole Litvak in the 1930s, when he was his assistant, and whose work was "replete with the camera trackings,
pans and swoops which later became the trademark of Max Ophuls".
[]
Film critic Robert Kolker sees the influence of Welles' moving camera shots on Kubrick's style. LoBrutto notes that
Kubrick identified with Welles and influenced the making of The Killing, with its "multiple points of view, extreme
angles, and deep focus".
:126, 318
Stories and writing
Kubrick adapted all but his first two full-length films from existing novels or short stories.
Many of the subjects Kubrick used for his films came to him unintentionally and indirectly, from books, newspapers,
and talking with friends about various topics. Once he found a subject that interested him, however, "he devoured all
relevant material" he could find about the topic, notes Walker. He occasionally collaborated with writers established
outside the film world (often novelists or reporters) for several of his screenplays: Terry Southern for Dr.
Strangelove, Arthur C. Clarke for 2001, and Diane Johnson for The Shining.
Geoffrey Cocks believes that Kubrick was also influenced by Ophls' stories of thwarted love and a preoccupation
with predatory men,
[6]
while Herr notes that Kubrick was deeply inspired by G. W. Pabst, who earlier tried but was
unable to adapt Schnitzler's Traumnovelle, the basis of Eyes Wide Shut.
:27
Directing
As a young man, Kubrick was fascinated by the films of Soviet filmmakers such as Eisenstein and Pudovkin.
:55
Kubrick read Pudovkins seminal theoretical work, Film Technique, which argues that editing makes film a unique
art form, and it needs to be employed to manipulate the medium to its fullest. Kubrick recommended this work to
others for years to come. Thomas Nelson describes this book as "the greatest influence of any single written work on
the evolution of [Kubrick's] private aesthetics".
[71]
Kubrick also found the ideas of Constantin Stanislavski to be essential to his understanding the basics of directing,
and gave himself a crash course to learn his methods. He explained their significance:
The equivalent to Pudovkin's book on film editing is a book oddly enough about Stanislavsky, not by
him: Stanislavsky Directs, by Nikolai M. Gorchakov. It provides a very detailed and practical
Stanley Kubrick
16
description of Stanislavsky at work on different productions. I would regard it as an essential book for
any intending film director.
:21
Kubrick had cited David Lynch's Eraserhead (1977) as one of his favorite films and used it as a creative reference
during the directing of The Shining.
Directing techniques
Themes and stories
Diane Johnson, who co-wrote the screenplay for The Shining with Kubrick, notes that he "always said that it was
better to adapt a book rather than write an original screenplay, and that you should choose a work that isn't a
masterpiece so you can improve on it. Which is what he's always done, except with Lolita".
:293
Ciment notes that
Kubrick always emphasized that finding a 'good' story was the biggest part of making a film, its visual aspect never
posing an insoluble problem for him. And he had "tremendous respect for the writers he worked with" when
adapting a book for the screen.
:232
When deciding on a subject for a film, there were a number of aspects that he looked for. According to his
co-producer Jan Harlan, Kubrick mostly "wanted to make films about things that mattered, that not only had form,
but substance". Harlan explains this during an interview with Charlie Rose in June 2001:
[72]
While his films are all very different from each other . . . there is something that connects them all, and
that is a very serious look at human nature, at human frailty.
However, in selecting subjects for his screenplays, he rarely had any particular theme in mind. Kubrick stated,
"Somehow, the question presumes that one approaches a film with something resembling a policy statement, or a
one-sentence theme, . . . Maybe some people work this way, but I don't, and even though you obviously have some
central preoccupation with the subject, . . . the characters and the story develop a life of their own.
:38
Nor did he like
to explain the theme or story even after the film was completed, preferring to let the viewers and critics interpret
their own meanings. Walker explains that "Kubrick preferred to leave the film as the only real comment he could
make on his work".
:37
Kubrick himself believed that audiences quite often were attracted to "enigmas and allegories"
and did not like films in which everything was spelled out clearly. He felt a film was "spoiled" for those
unfortunate enough to have read what the filmmaker "has in mind". ...I..enjoy those subtle discoveries
where I wonder whether the filmmaker...was even aware that they were in the film
:38
Kubrick did enjoy surprising his audience by alternating dramatically the types of stories he filmed, notes Ciment,
and it became a key aspect of his originality as a filmmaker. Ciment states that Kubrick often tried to confound
audience expectations by establishing radically different moods from one film to the next
It is as if Kubrick were obsessed with contradicting himself, with making each work a critique of the
previous one.
:59
Ciment notes that The Shining (1980) continued this process, again being the "antithesis of the film which preceded
it, Barry Lyndon. "Such a succession only confirms his habit over the last twenty years of alternating between
deliberately slow-paced, meditative, even melancholic works and others with a taut, staccato rhythm, generated by a
dynamism which can occasionally be frenetic."
:150
Kubrick explains:
There is no deliberate pattern to the stories that I have chosen to make into films. About the only factor
at work each time is that I try not to repeat myself.
:153
However, his preference for finding and adapting unique stories and filming them with photographic realism, was
not usually appreciated upon their initial release. Ciment notes that "it's easy to forget just how controversial his
films were. Many were rejected by critics at the time of their release, only to become classics of the cinema years
later."
:305
Jack Nicholson, who starred in The Shining, also recognized, but couldn't explain that aspect of critical
reviews.
:297
Stanley Kubrick
17
"This man, in spite of the widespread reputation he had for mastering his means of expression, was misunderstood and
misinterpreted every time he made a film. I've often asked myself why. In fact, only once did he have unanimously positive reviews,
and they were for ...Paths of Glory. I've never understood how people who are so attached to film never realized that he was number
one."
Jack Nicholson
:297
Although a few of his films were obvious satires and black comedies, such as Lolita and Dr. Strangelove, many of
his other films also contained less visible elements of satire or irony. "All his films have a streak of irony," states
Nicholson. "This is just one among many things where he and I agreed completely, and I had a lot of fun working on
the film," noting that Kubrick "loved to tease".
:298
Film author Julian Rice describes many ironic scenes and dialog within Kubrick's films, including The Shining, Full
Metal Jacket, 2001, Barry Lyndon and Eyes Wide Shut.
Writing and staging scenes
Johnson notes that although Kubrick was a "visual filmmaker," he also loved words:
Speaking with him was like speaking with another writer. Much more so than other directors I've
worked with. They represented things visually but had little interest in narrative elements, . . . Kubrick
was very sensitive to the story itself. . . He thought like a writer, which I found quite unique.
:295
That trait was also observed by Ciment, who stated that "he liked to talk and he loved words". He adds that Kubrick,
although he was a visual thinker, "liked writers and worked with them on his screenplays. . . . He preferred them to
professional screenwriters who he felt were too involved in the well-worn pathways of convention."
:310
Before shooting began, Kubrick tried to have the script as complete as possible, but still allowing himself enough
space to make changes during the actual filming. Citing the importance of being in the place of the audience,
Kubrick described this early stage of production:
One has to work out very clearly what the objectives of a scene are from the point of view of narrative
and character, but once this is done, I find it much more profitable to avoid locking up any ideas about
staging or camera or even dialogue prior to rehearsals
:26
However, film author Patrick Webster notes that Kubrick's methods of writing and developing scenes fit with the
auteur theory of directing, whereby Kubrick's script would be "far from a final shooting script; in other words that
numerous changes were made in collaboration with the actors during filming".
:68
Actor Malcolm McDowell recalled
Kubrick's collaborative emphasis during their discussions and his willingness to allow him to improvise a scene:
There was a script and we followed it, but when it didn't work he knew it, and we had to keep rehearsing
endlessly until we were bored with it.
:68
Once he was confident in the overall staging of a scene, and felt the actors were prepared, he would then develop the
visual aspects, including camera and lighting placement. As Walker points out, Kubrick was able to handle that
phase quickly and easily with his background in cinematography: "He was one of the very few film directors
competent to instruct their lighting photographers in the precise effect they want."
:26
Stanley Kubrick
18
Directing
Demanding perfection
Kubrick was noted for requiring multiple takes during filming. His high take ratio was considered by some critics as
"irrational," although he firmly believed that actors were at their best during the actual filming, as opposed to
rehearsals. He stated: "Actors who have worked a lot in movies don't really get a sense of intense excitement into
their performances until there is film running through the camera".
:403
"They work with Stanley and go through hells that nothing in their careers could have prepared them for, they think they must have
been mad to get involved, they think that they'd die before they would ever work with him again, that fixated maniac; and when it's
all behind them and the profound fatigue of so much intensity has worn off, they'd do anything in the world to work for him again.
For the rest of their professional lives they long to work with someone who cared the way Stanley did, someone they could learn
from. They look for someone to respect the way they'd come to respect him, but they can never find anybody. . . I've heard this story
so many times."
Michael Herr, screenwriter for Full Metal Jacket
:56
Nicole Kidman explains that the large number of takes he often required stopped actors from consciously thinking
about technique, thereby helping them enter a "deeper place." She describes what she understood to be Kubrick's
reasoning:
He believed that what it does to you, as an actor, was that you would lose control of your sense of self,
of the part of you that was internally watching your own performance. Eventually, he felt, you would
stop censoring yourself."
Many actors considered the large number of takes to be extremely difficult. Although "none of his actors has ever
questioned the merits of this method, however much he might have suffered from it," states Ciment.
:38
Jack
Nicholson adds, "Stanley's demanding. He'll do a scene fifty times and you have to be good to do that."
:38
During an
interview, Ryan O'Neal recalled Kubrick's directing style:
God, he works you hard. He moves you, pushes you, helps you, gets cross with you, but above all he
teaches you the value of a good director. Stanley brought out aspects of my personality and acting
instincts that had been dormant . . . . My strong suspicion [was] that I was involved in something
great.
:385
O'Neal describes how he felt after successfully completing one long and very difficult scene in Barry Lyndon
requiring multiple takes: "Stanley grabbed my hand and squeezed it. It was the most beautiful and appreciated
gesture in my life. It was the greatest moment in my career."
:396
During an interview in late 2012, he sums up his
feelings about working with Kubrick:
It was a stunning experience. I'm still not recovered. He was magnificent. He was breath-taking. I had a
man-love for him.
Creative and liberal atmosphere on sets
Actors especially liked that Kubrick would often devote his personal breaks to have lengthy discussions with them so
they could gain more confidence. Among those who valued his attention was Tony Curtis, star of Spartacus, who
said Kubrick was his favorite director, adding, "his greatest effectiveness was his one-on-one relationship with
actors."
:193
Similarly, Malcolm McDowell recalls the long discussions he had with Kubrick to help him develop his
character in A Clockwork Orange (1971) noting that on his sets, he felt entirely uninhibited and free, saying "This is
why Stanley is such a great director."
:38
A decade earlier, Kubrick's work with Peter Sellers on Lolita (1962), a black comedy, gave them both the chance to
use improvisation, which Sellers did successfully. According to Sellers' biographer Alexander Walker, his
collaborative work with Kubrick became a turning point in his career, noting that "for the first time, he tasted what it
was like to work creatively during shooting," as opposed to the preproduction stage. The experience also lifted
Stanley Kubrick
19
Sellers' spirit as an actor. Kubrick describes this change:
When Peter was called to the set he would usually arrive walking very slowly and staring morosely. . . .
As work progressed, he would begin to respond to something or other in the scene, his mood would
visibly brighten and we would begin to have fun. ...[At times] Peter reached...a state of comic
ecstasy.
:135
Walker adds that Sellers "was 'licensed' to break the rules, . . . [and] encouraged by Kubrick to explore the outer
limits of the comdie noireand sometimes, he felt, go over themin a way that appealed to the macabre
imagination of himself and his director."
[]:136
Costume designer Marit Allen noted that Kubrick's directing style combined "slow interminable rehearsals" and "a
kind of malicious humour". Kubrick would "accept anything from anyone, providing they knew what was at stake
and did their best, and at the same time he was very demanding with everyone."
:279
Shelley Duvall, who starred in The Shining, had an especially difficult time with many of the long and highly
emotional scenes, and had to repeat them until he was satisfied. Although she benefited in hindsight, and enjoyed the
liberal atmosphere during filming, along with the humor on the set. She commented during a filmed interview that
she learned more about acting in that one year than in all her previous years combined:
[73]
He made life miserable for me, but he expanded my scope as an actress. . .[and] to my great surprise,
Kubrick gave a great deal of freedom, to Jack and myself, in our acting
:301
Attention to details
Kubrick on the set of Spartacus with Tony Curtis
and Laurence Olivier (r)
Kubrick was also noted for his attention to accessory details. Gay
Hamilton, a co-star in Barry Lyndon, notes that even for her costumes
he asked to look at every one before approving them. "He was in touch
with everything. . . There was no question that he had his finger on
every single aspect of moviemaking."
:396
That impression was shared
by cinematographer John Alcott, who worked closely with Kubrick on
four of his films, and won an Oscar for Best Cinematography on Barry
Lyndon: "He questions everything."
:407
Kubrick worked with Alcott in
camera placement, scene composition, choice of lens, and even
operating the camera. "He's the nearest thing to genius I've ever
worked with, with all the problems of a genius," adds Alcott.
:391
James
B. Harris, who produced many of his early films, agreed that he was a
perfectionist:
For him, every single detail was extremely important and
he was ready to give himself up totally to his goal which
was the movie for you have to live with your work to the
end of your life.
:202
In deciding which props and settings would be used, he tried to collect as much background material as possible, "a
bit like being a detective," Kubrick stated. For Barry Lyndon he gathered a large file of paintings and drawings of the
period from art books, which he used as reference. From those sources, he made clothes, furniture, hand props,
architecture, vehicles, etc. Kubrick also found the research process a personal benefit to himself:
You have an important reason to study a subject in much greater depth...,and then you have the
satisfaction of putting the knowledge to immediate good use.
:176
Kubrick was also noted for working intensely, with full concentration, when directing. Michael Herr was surprised
when visiting him on the set: "I was amazed at how fast he moved, and how light, darting around the crew and
cameras like one of the Sugar Rays, grace and purpose in motion."
:16
Kubrick states that he rarely adds camera
Stanley Kubrick
20
instructions in the script, preferring to handle that after a scene is created:
It never takes me long to decide on set-ups, lighting or camera movements. The visual part of
filmmaking has always come easiest to me, and that is why I am careful to subordinate it to the story and
performance.
:177
Cinematography
Photography influences and style
Kubrick credited the ease with which he photographed scenes to his early years as a photographer. It was his first
"step up to movies", and for Kubrick the one essential piece of knowledge required to film well.
:196
John Alcott also saw the connection, stating that Kubrick "is, in his heart of hearts, a photographer,... As a result,
even in his later films,...Kubrick would still collaborate with his cinematographers to make sure they captured scenes
exactly as he wanted. "
:214
He adds that Kubrick displayed his talent as a photographer in some of his earliest films,
noting especially the tracking shots in the trenches of Paths of Glory which "because of the angle chosen and the
general movement of the scene, appears extremely stable."
:214
Having worked with Kubrick as cinematographer on four films over ten years, he states that Kubrick was "capable of
becoming an expert in every field," adding that as a result, "with him there can be no excuses and no tricks because
he is on to them immediately." For him, the positive aspect to Kubrick's attention to cinematic detail, was that he
gave his crew a great deal of inner energy. "When you're shooting a film with him, it's eight o'clock in the evening
before you know it."
:216
Among Kubrick's notable innovations in cinematography are his use of special effects, as in 2001, where he used
both slit-scan photography and front-screen projection, which won Kubrick his only Oscar for special effects.
Some reviewers have described and illustrated with video clips, Kubrick's use of "one-point perspective", which
leads the viewer's eye towards a central vanishing point. The technique relies on creating a complex visual symmetry
using parallel lines in a scene which all converge on that single point, leading away from the viewer. Combined with
camera motion it could produce an effect that one writer describes as "hypnotic and thrilling."
[74][75]
Use of steadicam's smooth motion effects
The Shining was among the first half-dozen features to use the then-revolutionary Steadicam (after the 1976 films
Bound for Glory, Marathon Man and Rocky). Kubrick used it to its fullest potential, which gave the audience
smooth, stabilized, motion-tracking by the camera.
[76][77]
Kubrick described why he wanted to use it in many scenes:
The Steadicam allows one man to move the camera any place he can walk into small spaces where a
dolly won't fit, and up and down staircases. . . . You can walk or run with the camera, and the Steadicam
smooths out any unsteadiness. It's like a magic carpet. The fast, flowing, camera movements in the maze
would have been impossible to do without the Steadicam.
:189
Garrett Brown, its inventor, was the operator of the Steadicam for the film. In order to use it, it had to be mounted to
a spring-loaded arm attached to a frame, which is then strapped to the operator's shoulders, chest and hips. Kubrick
states that it "in effect, makes the camera weightless." During filming, Kubrick would walk alongside him and direct
the camera's movements and angles.
:190
A scene showing the Steadicam being used while running on the
hedge-maze set was filmed by Vivian Kubrick for her documentary The Making of "The Shining".
Kubrick catalyzed the most important extension to the Steadicam since its inception. Since he wanted it to be able to
shoot from just above floor level, Brown came up with the "low mode" bracket which mounts the camera on an
inverted post, greatly increasing the creative angles of the system which previously could not go much lower than the
operator's waist height.
[78]
Stanley Kubrick
21
Specialized tools and lenses
Kubrick was among the first directors to use video assist during filming. At the time he began using it in 1966, it was
considered cutting-edge technology, requiring him to build his own system. Having it in place during the filming of
2001, he was able to view a video of a take immediately after it was filmed.
:294
On some films, such as Barry Lyndon, he used custom made zoom lenses. This allowed him to start a scene with a
close-up and slowly zoom out to capture the full panorama of scenery. LoBrutto records that he ordered the
customized 20:1 zoom lens along with a special joystick directly from the manufacturer. He also had them develop a
quick-response aperture adjustment device. It allowed him to film long takes under changing outdoor lighting
conditions by making aperture adjustments while the cameras rolled. LoBrutto notes that Kubrick's technical
knowledge about lenses "dazzled the manufacturer's engineers, who found him to be unprecedented among
contemporary filmmakers."
:389
Kubrick also operated the cameras himself for many scenes.
For that film he also used a specially adapted high-speed (f/0.7) Zeiss camera lens, originally developed for NASA,
to shoot numerous scenes lit only with candlelight. Actor Steven Berkoff recalls that Kubrick wanted scenes to be
shot using "pure candlelight," and in doing so Kubrick "made a unique contribution to the art of filmmaking going
back to painting . . . You almost posed like for portraits."
:400
LoBrutto notes that the candlelight scenes became an
"instant legend" in the film business.
Cinematographers all over the world wanted to know about Kubrick's magic lens . . . he had set a
technical and artistic standard that took a Zen-like discipline and dedication to the art of film.
:408
Ryan O'Neal remembers that Kubrick often looked through 18th century art books as reference for setting up a
scene: "He found a paintingI don't remember which oneand posed Marisa and me exactly as if we were in that
painting."
:395
Editing
For Kubrick, written dialogue was one element to be put in balance with mise en scne (set arrangements), music,
and especially, editing. Inspired by Pudovkin's treatise on film editing,
[79]
Kubrick realized that one could create a
performance in the editing room and often "re-direct" a film. Kubrick explained this:
I love editing. I think I like it more than any other phase of filmmaking. . . . Editing is the only unique
aspect of filmmaking which does not resemble any other art forma point so important it cannot be
overstressed. . . It can make or break a film.
:42
Kubrick stated that he used two Steenbeck editing tables and a Moviola, which he said allowed him to work faster.
Nevertheless, he often spent extensive hours editing, often working seven days a week, and more and more hours a
day as he got closer to deadlines.
:42
Walker adds that whether he was directing or editing, "his work so obsessed him that nothing was allowed to distract
him from it, disturb or destabilize him. Everything in his daily agenda was arranged with that singular aim."
:360
And
because he often shot numerous takes of scenes, he could edit with copious options, explains biographer John
Baxter:
Instead of finding the intellectual spine of a film in the script before starting work, Kubrick felt his way
towards the final version of a film by shooting each scene from many angles and demanding scores of
takes on each line. Then over months... he arranged and rearranged the tens of thousands of scraps of
film to fit a vision that really only began to emerge during editing.
[]
Stanley Kubrick
22
Music selection
His wife Christiane has stated 'He was addicted to music, he played it always, all day long. He worked with music,
...classical and the pop songs and he liked jazz music. You name it, a very catholic taste in music'.
In his last six films, Kubrick usually chose music from existing sources, especially classical compositions. He
preferred selecting recorded music over having it composed for a film, believing that no hired composer could do as
well as the public domain classical composers. He also felt that building scenes from images great music often
created the "most memorable scenes" in the best films.
:153:156
His attention to music was an aspect of what many referred to as his "perfectionism" and extreme attention to minute
details. In one instance, for a scene in Barry Lyndon which was written into the screenplay as merely, "Barry duels
with Lord Bullingdon," he spent forty-two working days in the editing phase. During that period, he listened to what
Lobrutto describes as "every available recording of seventeenth-and eighteenth- century music, acquiring thousands
of records to find Handel's sarabande used to score the scene."
:405
Jack Nicholson likewise observed his attention to
music for his films, stating that Kubrick "listened constantly to music until he discovered something he felt was right
or that excited him."
:297
Kubrick is credited with introducing Hungarian composer Gyrgy Ligeti to a broad Western audience by including
his music in 2001, The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut. His music in 2001 employed the new style of micropolyphony,
which used sustained dissonant chords that shift slowly over time, a style which he originated. Its inclusion in the
film became a "boon for the relatively unknown composer" partly because it was introduced alongside background
by notable composers, Johann Strauss and Richard Strauss.
[80]
Personal life
Marriages and family
Kubrick married his high-school sweetheart Toba Metz in May 1948, when he was nineteen years of age. They lived
together in Greenwich Village and divorced three years later in 1951.
He met his second wife, the Austrian-born dancer and theatrical designer Ruth Sobotka, in 1952. They lived together
in New York's East Village from 1952 until their marriage in January 1955. They moved to Hollywood six months
afterwards, where she played a brief part as a ballet dancer in Kubrick's film, Killer's Kiss (1955). The following year
she was art director for his film, The Killing (1956). They divorced in 1957.
During the production of Paths of Glory (1957) in Munich, Kubrick met and romanced young German actress
Christiane Harlan, who played a small though memorable role. She was his girlfriend at the time, and Kubrick
created a new ending to the film which he felt was too grim.
Kubrick married Harlan in 1958, and in 1959 they settled into a home in Beverly Hills with Harlan's daughter,
Katherina, age six.
:165
They also lived in New York, during which time Christiane studied art at the Art Students
League of New York, later becoming an independent artist. Like Kubrick, she wanted "solace to think, study, and
practice her craft," writes LoBrutto.
:224
They remained together 40 years, until his death in 1999. Besides his
stepdaughter, they had two daughters together.
Shortly after his death, Christiane assembled a personal collection of never-before-seen photographs and
commentary into a book, Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures. Included among the photos was only one of Kubrick's
family together, taken in 1960.
[81]
In 2010, she gave a videotaped interview with U.K.'s Guardian, where she
discussed his personality, his love of editing films, and some reasons why he chose to not make Aryan Papers.
Actor Jack Nicholson, who starred in The Shining (1980), observed that "Stanley was very much a family man."
Similarly, Nicole Kidman, who starred in Eyes Wide Shut (1999), adds that Christiane "was the love of his life. He
would talk about her, he adored her, something that people didn't know. His daughters adored them . . . I would see
that, and he would talk about them very proudly." The opinion was shared by Malcolm McDowell, who starred in A
Stanley Kubrick
23
Clockwork Orange: "He was happily married. I remember his daughters, Vivian and Anya, running around the room.
It was good to see such a close-knit family."
:287
Settling in the United Kingdom
Kubrick's Childwickbury Manor in Hertfordshire,
England
Kubrick moved to the United Kingdom to make Lolita because of
easier financing via the Eady Levy, since at least 85% of the film was
shot in the UK, and freedom from censorship and interference from
Hollywood studios.
There he set up his life so that family and business were one.
[82]
Christiane Kubrick told the London Times how rough New York had
become, with children having to be escorted to school by police,
people being rude, and smashed glass all over the street.
:271
Although
he thrived on the manic energy of New York, Kubrick soon adapted to
the more genteel atmosphere of Britain.
When he hired Peter Sellers to star in his next film, Dr. Strangelove, Sellers was unable to leave the UK.
[83]
Kubrick
made Britain his permanent home thereafter, although "he never considered himself an expatriate American," notes
Walker.
:26
He also shunned the Hollywood system and its publicity machine,
[84]
resulting in little media coverage of
him as a personality.
[85]
In 1965 the Kubricks moved to Abbots Mead, Barnet Lane, just south of the Elstree/Borehamwood studio complex.
This was a turn of the 19th century house, sold to him by Simon Cowell's father. Kubrick worked almost exclusively
from this home for 14 years where, with some exceptions, he researched, invented special effects techniques,
designed ultra-low light lenses for specially modified cameras, pre-produced, edited, post-produced, advertised,
distributed and carefully managed all aspects of four of his films: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1965 to 1968), A
Clockwork Orange (1969 to 1971), Barry Lyndon (1972 to 1975) and most of The Shining (1976 to 1980 - finished
the year after he left for Childwickbury Green)
In 1978, Kubrick moved into Childwickbury Manor in Hertfordshire, UK, a mainly 18th century building about
48km (30mi) north of London and a 10 minute drive from his previous home at Abbotts Mead. After finishing The
Shining he went on to make Full Metal Jacket and lastly Eyes Wide Shut. He is buried in the grounds.
LoBrutto notes that living in the United Kingdom brought peace to the Kubrick family.
:328
After moving to Britain,
recalls Christiane, one of the first British radio shows they heard was on gardening. The area's many landscaped
parks, gardens and animals was an enormous contrast to New York.
:335
"It's very pleasant," said Kubrick, "very
peaceful, very civilized here. London is in the best sense the way New York was" in the early 1900s.
:341
His friend, screenwriter Michael Herr, points out however that he did not live in Britain because he disliked
America:
"God knows; America was all he ever talked about. It was always on his mind, and in his blood."
:46
Kubrick's home in the English countryside, a half-hour drive from London, gave him "energy, inspiration, and
confidence," states Walker. It provided him with a "favorable psychological climate in which to function," with more
privacy and time for reflection.
:27
Kubrick's close friend, Julian Senior, who was vice president for Warner Brothers'
London office, compared Kubrick's lifestyle to "a medieval craftsman whose home was his workshop."
:367
However,
he did manage to stay up on current affairs, and read the New York Times daily, notes Jan Harlan, adding that
Kubrick remained a "New Yorker" at heart his entire life.
Stanley Kubrick
24
Home and workplace
His new home, originally a large country mansion once owned by a wealthy racehorse owner, became a workplace
for Kubrick and Christiane. One of the large ballroom-size rooms became her painting studio. Kubrick converted the
stables into extra production rooms besides ones within the home that he used for editing and storage.
:368
Christiane
called their home "a perfect family factory."
:374
A film trailer was kept in the driveway, and she took care of keeping visiting crew, staff, and actors, ensuring they
were well fed and cared for. They both made special effort to keep their home warm and friendly, yet they shared a
need for privacy. She adds, "When Stanley is relaxed he plays chess and likes to be very quiet. . . . Stanley is so
gentle, such a shy and sensitive person."
:374375
At home, children and animals would frequently come in and out of
the room as he worked on a script or met with an actor. Kubrick's many dogs and cats, toward which he showed an
extraordinary affection, were often brought onto film sets or editing rooms.
[86]
Diane Johnson, co-screenwriter of The Shining, notes that he enjoyed sharing his work with his family: "They all
worked together, creating art and film on the kitchen table, so to speak. . . . Stanley was in no way an isolated
individual, and never excluded his family from what he was doing."
:295
Kubrick rarely left England during the forty years before he died. "He lived a simple (outer) life, and a largely
devotional one," writes Herr, who describes his home and workplace:
:38
His enormous house was as much a studio as a home, a double studio actually, one for him and his
movies and one for his wife, Christiane, and her painting. It was a space of perpetual creative activity.
He was thought by the press, and so by the public, to be sequestered there . .
:38
Although Kubrick once held a pilot's license, some have claimed that he later developed a fear of flying and refused
to take airplane trips.
[87]
However, Matthew Modine, star of Full Metal Jacket, stated that the stories about his fear
of flying were "fabricated," and that "he wasn't afraid to fly." He simply preferred spending most of his time in
England, where his films were produced and where he lived.
[55]
Emilio D'Alessandro, a former race-car driver, was his personal assistant at his home workplace for thirty years,
handling much of the day-to-day chores such as driving actors to and from his home. In his 2012 book, Stanley
Kubrick & Me, he describes his personal experiences, saying that Kubrick wasn't simply his "employer but his
university," and that he was, "really like a father."
[88]
Kubrick kept in close contact with business associates in the
U.S. and elsewhere, mostly by telephone, calling associates at all hours for conversations that lasted from under a
minute to many hours. Many of Kubrick's admirers and friends spoke of these telephone conversations with great
affection and nostalgia after his death.
:64
Kubrick also frequently invited people to his house, ranging from actors to
close friends, admired film directors, writers, and intellectuals. He rarely took vacations, even after completing a
major film, and would simply begin preparing for his next one by catching up on seeing movies that had come out
during the last year and searching through books and magazines for his next project idea.
:495496
Kubrick was an early user of desktop computers and had five that he worked with at home.
:43
LoBrutto describes
Kubrick's home office:
Kubrick's personal office mirrored the pragmatic clutter of his New York apartment. An arsenal of tape
recorders facilitate the mammoth shooting script process . . . the office warehoused an enormous record
collection of every recorded modern musical composition available. .
:282
Screenwriter Michael Herr remembers working with him on Full Metal Jacket, in what he describes as Kubrick's
home "War Room" which was a large space "crammed with desks and computers and filing cabinets" and "long
trestle tables littered" with sketches and idea papers and photos of "streets, pagodas, prostitutes, shrines, and
signs."
:41
Stanley Kubrick
25
Personal characteristics
His appearance was not well known in his later years, to the extent that a British man named Alan Conway
successfully impersonated Kubrick locally for a number of years.
[89]
Biographer Vincent LoBrutto notes that his
privacy led to spurious stories about his reclusiveness, "producing a mythology more than a man," similar to those
about Greta Garbo, Howard Hughes, and J. D. Salinger.
:1
However, Michael Herr, Kubrick's co-screenwriter on Full Metal Jacket, and someone who knew him well,
considers his "reclusiveness" to be myth: "[H]e was in fact a complete failure as a recluse, unless you believe that a
recluse is simply someone who seldom leaves his house. Stanley saw a lot of people . . . he was one of the most
gregarious men I ever knew, and it didn't change anything that most of this conviviality went on over the phone."
:3
He hated being photographed, notes Herr, although he let a few people, including his daughter, Vivian, take a few
candids when working.
:15
Matthew Modine, who became close friends with Kubrick while working in Full Metal
Jacket, describes how others saw him:
He becomes like the Great and Powerful Oz. This image of Stanley Kubrick is projected onto our
consciousness, but he was just a menschy Jewish kid from the Bronx who was hiding behind a curtain.
Herr also describes his voice and conversational style, noting that he had an "especially fraternal temperament" and
quite a few women found him "extremely charming." He adds that despite his living in England, his Bronx accent
was still noticeable, but added that his voice was fluent and "melodious". "it was as close to the condition of music as
speech can get and still be speech"
:45
"Stanley always seemed supernaturally youthful to his friends," writes Herr. "His voice didn't age over the almost
twenty years that I knew him [and] he had a disarming way of 'leavening' serious discourse with low adolescent
humor, . . ."
:22
Ciment adds that he was "soft-spoken, with a crisp, surprisingly youthful voice, alternately serious
and humorous in tone."
:41
"There was great tenderness in him and he was passionate about his work. What was striking was his enormous intelligence, but he
also had a great sense of humor. He was a very shy person and self-protective, but he was filled with the thing that drove him
twenty-four hours of the day."
Marisa Berenson, co-star of Barry Lyndon
:289
Kubrick dressed simply, wearing the same style clothes every day: beat chinos, a basic blue work shirt, a ripstop
cotton fatigue jacket with many pockets, and a pair of well-worn running shoes. "Many producers and actors thought
he dressed like a beatnik", notes Herr,
:1415
and his wife thought his baggy trousers made him look like a "balloon
vendor." His meals were also simple, "he has no time to waste," writes Ciment.
:41
His eyes were "dark, focused, and piercing:"
He looked out from a perceptibly deep place, and the look went far inside of you, if you were what he
happened to be looking at. . . I know that quite a few people, mostly actors, have unraveled when they
got caught in Stanley's beams, even though there was rarely much anger in them. Stanley's look was just
so deliberate, cool as functioning intelligence itself, demanding satisfaction, or resolution, of some kind
of answer to some kind of problem . . . .
:1617
According to screenwriter Frederic Raphael, who worked with him on Eyes Wide Shut, "vanity was not his style; he
never cited his own work with complacency and often admired other people's. He could be pitiless, but never
conceited. . . he solicited my views quite as if I were some venerable oracle."
[90]
That view was shared by Herr:
"Nobody who really thinks he's smarter than everyone else could ask as many questions as he always did, . . . and
trying to see every movie ever made."
:25
His inquisitiveness about photography and films started when he was a
teenager. He later infiltrated film facilities around New York, hung around editing rooms, laboratories and
equipment stores, constantly asking questions.
:26
Herr also notes similarities between Kubrick's temperament and satirist and comedian Lenny Bruce, who was nearly
the same age, with their love of jazz, ball games, and their common hipster persona.
:26
His temperament as a hipster
Stanley Kubrick
26
also reflected Kubrick's likes and dislikes in everyday society. Among those, writes Herr, were his aversions to
"waste, haste, . . . [and] bullshit in all its proliferating manifestations, subtle and gross, from the flabby political face
telling lies on TV to the most private, much more devastating lies we tell ourselves." According to Herr, Kubrick felt
that "hypocrisy was not some petty human foible, it was the corrupted essence of our predicament. . . "
:44
After he moved to England, Kubrick especially enjoyed watching his favorite TV shows, including The Simpsons,
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Seinfeld, and Roseanne, thinking they were excellent comedies that
portrayed American life. He had friends in the U.S. send him tapes of television shows, along with sports events and
news broadcasts.
:47
Gay Hamilton, one of the stars in Barry Lyndon, recalls one night she couldn't get his attention
while he and Ryan O'Neal were watching a boxing video he received from the U.S.
:396
"He was fiercely unpretentious," notes Herr. "He was exclusive, he had to be, but he wasn't a snob. It wasn't America
he couldn't take. It was L.A."
:47
According to Ciment, "social standing means nothing to him and he has no interest
in acquiring it; money serves exclusively to guarantee him independence."
:41
Desire for privacy
Herr points out that most of what people knew about Kubrick came from the press, primarily the entertainment press.
However, few of the journalists that wrote about his life actually met him or knew much about it. He rarely gave
interviews, "because he thought you had to be crazy to do interviews unless you had a picture coming out," adds
Herr, who contrasted this with the many celebrities eager for the spotlight and thought this contributed to the public
image of Kubrick as reclusive.
:70
Among the notable aspects of his desire for privacy, in his home and film life, was that he never talked about his
movies while they were being made. Nor did he like discussing them even afterwards, except to friends. He most of
all avoided discussing their "meaning," notes Herr, because "he believed so completely in their meaning that to try
and talk about it could only spoil it" for the listener. "He might tell you how he did it, but never why." When he was
once asked how he thought up the ending for 2001, he replied, "I don't know. How does anybody ever think of
anything?"
:7071
This aspect of his penchant for privacy may have also contributed to the negative reviews of many of his films or
about him personally. Herr states that "it can never turn out well when a square takes a hipster for his subject."
:77
Similarly, Ciment argues that his refusal to "become one of the 'family' may have also "wrecked his chances of ever
being honored" in Hollywood as a director, similar to the way Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles and Robert Altman
were denied Oscars, all of them considered at the time to be "rebels" within the film world.
:43
When he did grant interviews, however, he did so "with good grace and modesty," writes Ciment. A chauffeur would
drive reporters to either a pub or to his home office, which was also his editing room. Interviewers would join him in
his room "piled high with cans of film, newspapers, files and card-indexes, like some enormous artist's loft in
Montparnasse or Greenwich Village where this 'eternal student' can work away in privacy."
:41
Death
On March 7, 1999, four days after screening a final cut of Eyes Wide Shut for his family and the stars, Kubrick died
in his sleep of natural causes at the age of 70. His funeral was held on March 12 at his home estate with only close
friends and family in attendance, totaling approximately 100 people. The media was kept a mile away outside the
entrance gate.
:372
Alexander Walker, who attended the funeral, describes it as a "family farewell, . . . almost like an English picnic,"
with cellists, clarinetists and singers providing song and music from many of his favorite classical compositions.
Although Kaddish, the Jewish prayer of mourning, was recited, the funeral had no religious overtones, and few of his
obituaries mentioned his Jewish background.
:373374
Stanley Kubrick
27
Among those who gave eulogies were Terry Semel, Jan Harlan, Steven Spielberg, Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise.
He was buried next to his favorite tree in Childwickbury Manor, Hertfordshire, England.
[91]
In her book dedicated to
Kubrick, his wife Christiane included one of his favorite quotes by Oscar Wilde:
The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young.
:12
Influence on film and television
Influence on film industry
Leading directors, including Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Woody Allen, Terry Gilliam, the
Coen brothers, Ridley Scott, and George A. Romero, have cited Kubrick as a source of inspiration, and in the case of
Spielberg, collaboration.
[92][93]
On the DVD of Eyes Wide Shut, Steven Spielberg, in an interview, comments on
Kubrick that "nobody could shoot a picture better in history" but the way that Kubrick "tells a story is antithetical to
the way we are accustomed to receiving stories". Writing in the introduction to a recent edition of Michel Ciment's
Kubrick, film director Martin Scorsese notes that most of Kubrick's films were misunderstood and under-appreciated
when first released. Then came a dawning recognition that they were masterful works unlike any other films.
Perhaps most notably, Orson Welles, one of Kubrick's greatest personal influences and all-time favorite directors,
famously said that: "Among those whom I would call 'younger generation' Kubrick appears to me to be a giant." The
directors Richard Linklater, Sam Mendes, Quentin Tarantino, Joel Schumacher, Taylor Hackford, and Darren
Aronofsky have all mentioned Kubrick as having made one of their favorite films.
Kubrick continues to be cited as a major influence by many directors, including Christopher Nolan, David Fincher,
Guillermo del Toro, David Lynch, Lars Von Trier, Michael Mann, and Gaspar No. Many filmmakers imitate
Kubrick's inventive and unique use of camera movement and framing. For example, several of Jonathan Glazer's
music videos contain visual references to Kubrick. The Coen Brother's Barton Fink, in which the hotel itself seems
malevolent, contains a hotel hallway Steadicam shot as an homage to The Shining. The storytelling style of their
Hudsucker Proxy was influenced by Dr. Strangelove. Director Tim Burton has included a few visual homages to
Kubrick in his work, notably using actual footage from 2001: A Space Odyssey in Charlie and the Chocolate
Factory, and modeling the look of Tweedledee and Tweedledum in his version of Alice in Wonderland on the Grady
girls in The Shining.
[94]
Film critic Roger Ebert also noted that Burton's Mars Attacks! was partially inspired by Dr.
Strangelove. The video for The Killers song Bones (2006), Burton's only music video, includes clips from Kubrick's
Lolita, as well as other films from the general era.
Paul Thomas Anderson (who was fond of Kubrick as a teenager) in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, stated
"it's so hard to do anything that doesn't owe some kind of debt to what Stanley Kubrick did with music in movies.
Inevitably, you're going to end up doing something that he's probably already done before. It can all seem like we're
falling behind whatever he came up with." Reviewer William Arnold described Anderson's There Will Be Blood as
being stylistically an homage to Kubrick "particularly "2001: A Space Odyssey" opening with a similar prologue
that jumps in stages over the years and using a soundtrack throughout that employs anachronistic music."
Kubrick's influence on Todd Field was perhaps the most direct. After acting in Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, Field
immediately went on to make In the Bedroom. Kubrick's schooling of Field noted by many critics at the time
including William Arnold who in reviewing the film wrote,
"Like Kubrick, Field's direction manages to feel both highly controlled and effortlessly spontaneous at
the same time; and his lifting of the facade of this picturesque, Norman Rockwell setting is carried out
with surgical precision also like Kubrick, Field doesn't make any moral judgments about his
characters, and his film remains stubbornly enigmatic. It can be read as a high-class revenge thriller,
an ode to the futility of vengeance or almost anything in between.."
Although Michael Moore specializes in documentary filmmaking, at the beginning of shooting his only
non-documentary feature film Canadian Bacon, he sat his cast and crew down to watch Stanley Kubrick's Dr.
Stanley Kubrick
28
Strangelove. He told them "What this movie was in the '60s, is what we should aspire to with this film." Moore had
previously written Kubrick a letter telling him how much Bacon was inspired by Strangelove.
Film director Frank Darabont has been inspired by Kubrick's use of music. In an interview with The Telegraph, he
states that 2001 took "the use of music in film" to absolute perfection, and one shot employing classical music in The
Shawshank Redemption follows Kubrick's lead. On the other hand, while Darabont has followed Kubrick in directing
two Stephen King adaptations, Darabont shares Stephen King's negative view of Kubrick's adaption of The Shining.
In the same interview, Darabont said
It completely misses the human element. Kubrick's work on screen tends to be the eye of a scientist
examining humanity as if it were a paramecium under a microscope. Sometimes that worked brilliantly,
and sometimes it took a really good book like The Shining and totally fucked it up. It's an utter failure as
an adaptation of great material. However, it doesn't take away from his extraordinary achievements in
his other films. And I think that 2001 is his crown jewel."
[95]
Critics occasionally detect a Kubrickian influence when the actual filmmaker acknowledges none. Critics have
noticed the influence of Stanley Kubrick on Danish independent director Nicolas Winding Refn. Jim Pappas
suggests this comes from Refn's employment of Kubrick's cinematographer for Eyes Wide Shut in his film Fear X,
suggesting "it is the Kubrick influence that leaves us asking ourselves what we believe we should know is true". The
apparent influence of Kubrick on his film Bronson was noted by the Los Angeles Times and the French publication
Evene However, when asked by Twitch about the very frequent comparisons by critics of the film Bronson to A
Clockwork Orange, Refn denied the influence. Refn stated
Of course if you put violence with classical music, people think it's obvious that's Clockwork Orange,
because Kubrick used it very well and you always look at it as a reference. There are similarities
between my Bronson and the Alex character from Clockwork Orange. There is kind of anti-authoritarian
popculture iconish quality, but I stole every single thing from Kenneth Anger. Bronson is a mixture of
[Anger's] Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954) and Scorpio Rising (1964).
Homages
In 2000 BAFTA renamed their Britannia lifetime achievement award the "Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award".
Kubrick is among filmmakers such as D. W. Griffith, Laurence Olivier, Cecil B. DeMille, and Irving Thalberg, all of
whom have had annual awards named after them. Kubrick won this award in 1999, and subsequent recipients have
included George Lucas, Warren Beatty, Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, and Daniel Day-Lewis.
[96]
Entrance to Kubrick museum exhibit at LACMA
A number of people who worked with Kubrick on his films created the
2001 documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, produced and
directed by Kubrick's brother-in-law, Jan Harlan, who had executive
produced Kubrick's last four films. The film's chapters each cover one
of Kubrick's films and Kubrick's childhood is explored in the
introductory section.
On October 30, 2012, an exhibition devoted to Kubrick opened at the
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and concluded in June
2013. The exhibition, curated by Deutsches Filminstitut and Deutsches
Architekturmuseum, was previously displayed in Frankfurt am Main,
Germany (2004); Berlin, Germany (2005); Melbourne, Australia (2006); Ghent, Belgium and Zurich, Switzerland
(both in 2007); Rome, Italy (2008); Paris, France (2011); and Amsterdam, Netherlands (2012). Exhibits include a
wide collection of documents, photographs and on-set material assembled from 800 boxes of personal archives that
were stored in Kubrick's home-workplace in the U.K. A number of celebrities attended and spoke at the museum's
Stanley Kubrick
29
pre-opening gala, including Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Jack Nicholson, while Kubrick's widow, Christiane,
appeared at the pre-gala press review.
On November 7, 2012, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in conjunction with the LACMA
exhibition, celebrated Kubrick's life and career. Malcolm McDowell hosted, and along with other actors, including
Paul Mazursky, Ryan O'Neal and Matthew Modine, discussed personal experiences of working with Kubrick.
In October 2013, the Brazil Sao Paulo International Film Festival paid tribute to Kubrick, staging an exhibit of his
work and a retrospective of his films.
[97]
The exhibit is also scheduled to open at the Toronto International Film
Festival (TIFF) in late 2014.
[98]
In popular culture
The TV series The Simpsons is said to contain more references to Kubrick films than any other pop culture
phenomenon. References abound to many of his films, including 2001, A Clockwork Orange, and The Shining.
[99]
When the Director's Guild of Great Britain gave Kubrick a lifetime achievement award, they included a cut-together
sequence of all the homages from the show.
In 2009, an exhibition of paintings and photos inspired by Kubrick's films was held in Dublin, Ireland, entitled
'Stanley Kubrick: Taming Light'.
[100]
In 2010, painter (and film storyboard artist) Carlos Ramos held an exhibition
entitled "Kubrick" in Los Angeles, featuring paintings in a variety of styles based on scenes from Stanley Kubrick
films.
Among her multiple allusions to Kubrick in song and video, pop singer Lady Gaga's video for Bad Romance
appeared to pay homage to Kubrick,
[101]
and her concert shows have included the use of dialogue, costumes, and
music from A Clockwork Orange.
Films about elements of Kubrick's life
In the early 1990s, a con artist named Alan Conway frequented the London entertainment scene claiming to be
Stanley Kubrick, and temporarily deceived New York Times theatre critic Frank Rich, as well as multiple aspiring
actors. Kubrick's personal assistant, Anthony Frewin, who helped track Conway down, wrote the screenplay for a
film based on the Conway affair Colour Me Kubrick starring John Malkovich as Alan Conway. Kubrick's widow,
Christiane Kubrick, was also a consultant for the film. The film contains several tongue-in-cheek homages to scenes
from Kubrick's films. Conway was earlier the subject of a short documentary film The Man Who Would be Kubrick.
In 2002, the French documentary film maker William Karel (occasionally referred to as "Europe's Michael Moore")
made initial plans for a documentary on Stanley Kubrick, but changed course. Karel was fascinated by the pervading
conspiracy theory that Kubrick had faked footage of the NASA moon landings during the filming of Space Odyssey,
and chose to make a parody "mockumentary" entitled Dark Side of the Moon advancing the same thesis entirely in
jest. He had the help of Kubrick's surviving family who both acted as consultants for the film and gave scripted fake
interviews. In spite of clues that the film is a news parody, some test audiences believed the film to be sincere,
including at least one believer in the moon landing conspiracy.
Kubrick has been portrayed on film by actor Stanley Tucci in the film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. Although
Sellers acted in two of Kubrick's films, the material here is almost wholly focused on their work together in Dr.
Strangelove.
In 2012, the documentary film Room 237 was released, which speculates about overt and hidden meanings behind
the The Shining. The film includes footage from that, and other Kubrick films, along with discussions by a number
of Kubrick experts. The film includes nine segments, with each segment focusing on different elements within the
film which "may reveal hidden clues and hint at at a bigger thematic oeuvre."
[102]
Stanley Kubrick
30
Filmography
Year Film Director Producer Writer Other Notes
1951 Day of the Fight
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Himself (uncredited cameo), cinematographer, editor (uncredited); sound
department (uncredited).
Flying Padre Yes Yes Yes Cinematographer; uncredited as writer
1953 Fear and Desire Yes Yes Yes Cinematographer and editor; sound department (uncredited)
The Seafarers Yes Yes Cinematographer, editor and sound department
1955 Killer's Kiss Yes Yes Yes Yes Story, cinematographer and editor
1956 The Killing Yes Yes Producer (uncredited)
1957 Paths of Glory Yes Yes Producer (uncredited)
1960 Spartacus Yes
1962 Lolita Yes Uncredited as screenwriter and producer
1964 Dr. Strangelove Yes Yes Yes
1968 2001: A Space
Odyssey
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Special photographic effects designer and director
1971 A Clockwork
Orange
Yes Yes Yes
Additional camera operator (uncredited)
1975 Barry Lyndon Yes Yes Yes
1980 The Shining Yes Yes Yes Co-written with Diane Johnson
1987 Full Metal Jacket Yes Yes Yes Yes Murphy (uncredited voice cameo)
1999 Eyes Wide Shut Yes Yes Yes Additional camera operator (uncredited)
As noted above, the 2001 film A.I.: Artificial Intelligence directed by Steven Spielberg is dedicated to Kubrick who
originally had rights to the source material, provided the concept for the film, and did much of the groundwork
preparation for it, including having supervised both story treatments and the conceptual art that were used in the final
project. Spielberg made enormous efforts to be visually faithful to Kubrick's visual conception for the film.
Two scholarly books that are comparative critical studies of Kubrick's work discuss this film and even list it in their
filmography.
[103]
The website "The Kubrick Corner"
[104]
also treats this as part of Kubrick's work. Finally, a book
on the making of the film with a foreword by Spielberg also treats the film throughout as effectively a collaboration
between Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg. Other scholarly treatments of Kubrick largely ignore AI.
[105]
A
2012-2013 retrospective of Kubrick's film at Los Angeles County Museum of Art is showing all of Kubrick's films
over a period of two months, but does not include A.I.
[106]
Awards and nominations
All of Stanley Kubrick's films from Paths of Glory till the end of his career, except for The Shining, were nominated
for Academy Awards and/or Golden Globe Awards, in various categories. 2001: A Space Odyssey received
numerous technical awards, including a BAFTA award for cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth and an Academy
Award for best visual effects, which Kubrick (as director of special effects on the film) received. This was Kubrick's
only personal Academy Award win among 13 nominations. Nominations for his films were mostly in the areas of
cinematography, art design, screenwriting, and music. Only four of his films were nominated by either an Academy
Award or Golden Globe Award for their acting performances, Spartacus, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, and A Clockwork
Orange.
Personal awards for Kubrick:
Stanley Kubrick
31
Year Title Awards (limited to Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA),
Saturns, and Razzies)
1953 Fear and Desire
1955 Killer's Kiss Locarno International Film Festival Prize for Best Director (won)
1956 The Killing NominatedBAFTA Award for Best Film from Any Source
1957 Paths of Glory
1960 Spartacus Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Drama (won)
NominatedBAFTA Award for Best Film from Any Source
NominatedGolden Globe Award for Best Director
1962 Lolita NominatedAcademy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (Kubrick's extensive work on this was uncredited; the
nominee was Vladimir Nabokov)
NominatedGolden Globe Award for Best Director
1964 Dr. Strangelove BAFTA Award for Best British Film (won)
BAFTA Award for Best Film from Any Source (won)
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director (won)
NominatedAcademy Award for Best Picture
NominatedAcademy Award for Best Director
NominatedAcademy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
NominatedBAFTA Award for Best British Screenplay (nomination shared with Peter George and Terry Southern)
1968 2001: A Space
Odyssey
Academy Award for Best Effects: Special Visual Effects (won)
NominatedAcademy Award for Best Director
NominatedAcademy Award for Best Original Screenplay (nomination shared with Arthur C. Clarke)
NominatedBAFTA Award for Best Film
1971 A Clockwork
Orange
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Picture (won)
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director (won)
NominatedAcademy Award for Best Picture
NominatedAcademy Award for Best Director
NominatedAcademy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
NominatedGolden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Drama
NominatedGolden Globe for Best Director
NominatedBAFTA Award for Best Film
NominatedBAFTA Award for Best Screenplay
1975 Barry Lyndon NominatedAcademy Award for Best Picture
NominatedAcademy Award for Best Director
NominatedAcademy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
NominatedGolden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Drama
NominatedGolden Globe for Best Director
NominatedBAFTA Award for Best Film
NominatedBAFTA Award for Best Director
1980 The Shining NominatedSaturn Award for Best Director
NominatedRazzie Award for Worst Director
1987 Full Metal Jacket NominatedAcademy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (nomination shared with Michael Herr and Gustav
Hasford)
1999 Eyes Wide Shut
Kubrick received two awards from major film festivals: Best Director from the Locarno International Film Festival
in 1959 for Killer's Kiss, and Filmcritica Bastone Bianco Award at the Venice Film Festival in 1999 for Eyes Wide
Shut. He also was nominated for the Golden Lion of the Venice Film Festival in 1962 for Lolita. The Venice Film
Festival awarded him the Career Golden Lion in 1997. He received the D.W. Griffith Lifetime Achievement Award
from the Directors Guild of America, and another life-achievement award from the Director's Guild of Great Britain,
Stanley Kubrick
32
and the Career Golden Lion from the Venice Film Festival. Posthumously, the Sitges - Catalonian International Film
Festival awarded him the Honorary Grand Prize for life achievement in 2008. He also received the coveted Hugo
Award three times for his work in science fiction.
Notes
[1] [1] For example,
[2] Giulio Angioni, Fare dire sentire: l'identico e il diverso nelle culture (2011), p. 37 and Un film del cuore, in Il dito alzato (2012), pp.
121136
[3] Rossi, Danielle. "Director Spotlight: Stanley Kubrick" (http:/ / www. dailytargum. com/ inside_beat/ film/ director-spotlight-stanley-kubrick/
article_4e97a6f0-39e2-11e2-a89f-001a4bcf6878.html), Daily Targum, Rutgers University, Nov. 29, 2012
[4] Interview with Norman Jewison (http:/ / www.youtube. com/ watch?v=XyxueyHqZeE), American Film Institute, Feb. 1, 2013
[5] LoBrutto, Vincent (1999). Stanley Kubrick: a Biography. Penguin Books.
[6] Cocks, Geoffrey. The Wolf at the Door: Stanley Kubrick, History, & the Holocaust, Peter Lang Publishing (2004) pp. 2225, 30.
[7] [7] Schwam 2000, p. 70.
[8] [8] Baxter 1999, p. 32.
[9] Look magazine photos taken by Kubrick in the 1940s (http:/ / twistedsifter. com/ 2011/ 12/ stanley-kubricks-new-york-photos-1940s/ )
[10] Paul 2003, pp. 25, 46, 62. Online: Google Books link (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=XBQi4cCEYNIC& pg=PA25)
[11] Thuss 2002, p. 110. Online: Google Books link (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=FLNEwpF4s3EC& pg=PA110)
[12] "Stanley Kubricks Very First Films: Three Short Documentaries" (http:/ / www. openculture. com/ 2012/ 04/
stanley_kubricks_very_first_films_three_short_documentaries. html), OpenCulture, April 2, 2012 (includes videos of his first three
documentaries)
[13] Interview with Jeremy Bernstein, 1966 (http:/ / sliated. com/ kubrick_archive/ kubrick_1966. mp3) The New Yorker, 1966
[14] Baxter 1997, p. 56. Online: Google Books link (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=PKMZ4_i60LYC& pg=PA56)
[15] "Stanley Kubrick's First Film Isn't Nearly as Bad as He Thought It Was" (http:/ / www. theatlantic. com/ entertainment/ archive/ 2012/ 10/
stanley-kubricks-first-film-isnt-nearly-as-bad-as-he-thought-it-was/ 264068/ ), The Atlantic, Oct. 24, 2012
[16] The Early Films of Stanley Kubrick (http:/ / bluray.highdefdigest. com/ news/ show/ Disc_Announcements/ Kino_Lorber/
The_Early_Films_of_Stanley_Kubrick_Announced_for_Blu-ray_/ 9084), release expected Fall 2012
[17] Philips 2001, p. 190. Online: Google Books link (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=iOU9bIlnPHIC& pg=PA190)
[18] Philips 1999, p. 127. Online: Google Books link (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=cVFly8avlXIC& pg=PA127)
[19] Lucas (no date). Online at: 7 Classic Movies that Influenced Quentin Tarantino: Horror, Suspense, Film Noir and Plenty of Laughs (http:/
/ classicfilm. about. com/ od/ movieslistsbydirector/ tp/ Classics_Influenced_Tarantino. htm)
[20] Sleeper 1997. Online at: la Fiction du Pulp: Tarantino's trail of bread crumbs leads to the French New Wave (http:/ / www. imagesjournal.
com/ issue03/ features/ tarantino1. htm)
[21] Online: Stanley Kubrick Exhibition. Newsletter no. 9, October 2004. (http:/ / www. stanleykubrick. de/ eng. php?img=img-l-6&
kubrick=newsletter09-eng)
[22] Roud 1980 p. 562. Online: Google Books link (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=xehkAAAAMAAJ& q="apparently+ unassuming+
'B'+ feature+ that+ critics+ love"& dq="apparently+ unassuming+ 'B'+ feature+ that+ critics+ love"& ei=6zLHSI7gLpCkjgHKten2Cw&
pgis=1)
[23] Jackson et al. 2001. Online: Google Books link (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=7QsOn9_NviAC& pg=PA322)
[24] See for example: Denby 2008. Online at: The First Casualty (http:/ / www. newyorker. com/ arts/ critics/ notebook/ 2008/ 03/ 31/
080331gonb_GOAT_notebook_denby)
[25] Rode, Alan K. Charles McGraw: Biography of a Film Noir Tough Guy, McFarland (2008)
[26] Rausch, Andrew J. The Greatest War Films of All Time: A Quiz Book, Citadel Press (2004)
[27] Cooper 1996. Online: Spartacus: Still Censored After All These Years (http:/ / www. visual-memory. co. uk/ amk/ doc/ 0103. html)
[28] [28] Retrieved April 25, 2010.
[29] Kirk Douglas. The Ragman's Son (Autobiography). Pocket Books, 1990. Chapter 26: The Wars of Spartacus.
[30] Winkler, Martin M. Spartacus: Film and History, p. 4. Wiley-Blackwell, 2007. ISBN 1-4051-3181-0
[31] Bogdanovich 1999. Online: What They Say About Stanley Kubrick (http:/ / query. nytimes. com/ gst/ fullpage.
html?res=9901E6DD113AF937A35754C0A96F958260& scp=17& sq=stanley kubrick lolita& st=cse)
[32] Youngblood 2008. Online: Lolita (http:/ / www.criterion. com/ current/ posts/ 836)
[33] "Kubrick recalled by influential set designer Sir Ken Adam" (http:/ / www. bbc. co. uk/ news/ entertainment-arts-23698181), BBC, Aug. 15,
2013
[34] [34] "Inside the Making of Dr. Strangelove," a documentary included with the 40th Anniversary Special Edition DVD of the film
[35] "2012: A Stanley Kubrick Odyssey at LACMA" (http:/ / www. latimes. com/ entertainment/ arts/ culture/
la-et-cm-stanley-kubrick-lacma-20121028,0,80271,full. story), Los Angeles Times, Oct. 26, 2012. Los Angeles County Museum of Art exhibit
and retrospective.
[36] Schneider, Steven Jay. Ed. 1001 Movies you Must See Before you Die, Barrons Educational Series (2003) p. 498
Stanley Kubrick
33
[37] Kagan, Norman. The Cinema of Stanley Kubrick, Continuum International Publishing Group (2000) ISBN 978-0-8264-1243-0
[38] "Jan Harlan: The Man Behind Stanley Kubrick" (http:/ / www. kcet. org/ arts/ artbound/ counties/ los-angeles/
-stanley-kubrick-lacma-jan-harlan. html), KCET, Oct. 26, 2012
[39] Gilliatt 1968. Online: After Man [review of 2001: A Space Odyssey] (http:/ / www. krusch. com/ kubrick/ Q22. html)
[40] American Film Institute. Online: AFI's 10 Top 10 (http:/ / www. afi. com/ 10top10/ scifi. html)
[41] US Centennial of Flight Commission (http:/ / www.centennialofflight. gov/ essay/ Social/ 2001/ SH8. htm)
[42] 2001: A Space Odyssey (http:/ / explore.bfi.org.uk/ 4ce2b6b9450a5), interviews by the British Film Institute
[43] [43] Carr 2002, p. 1.
[44] British Film Institute. Online at: BFI Critic's Top Ten Poll (http:/ / www. bfi. org. uk/ sightandsound/ topten/ poll/ critics. html).
[45] "Steven Spielberg Developing Stanley Kubrick's 'Napoleon' as a Miniseries" (http:/ / www. hollywoodreporter. com/ news/
steven-spielberg-developing-stanley-kubricks-425771) Hollywood Reporter, March 3, 2013
[46] Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made (http:/ / www. amazon. com/ Stanley-Kubricks-Napoleon-Greatest-Movie/ dp/
3836523353/ ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8& qid=1358534998& sr=8-1& keywords=Taschen+ napoleon), Amazon Books
[47] See for example The Clockwork Controversy by Christian Bugge (http:/ / www. visual-memory. co. uk/ amk/ doc/ 0012. html) and KQED's
culture shock column (http:/ / www. pbs.org/ wgbh/ cultureshock/ flashpoints/ theater/ clockworkorange. html)
[48] Rice, Julian. Kubrick's Hope: Discovering Optimism from "2001" to "Eyes wide Shut", Scarecrow Press (2008) p. 80
[49] [49] Friedman, Lester, and Brent Notbohm 2000, p. 36.
[50] Berger, Arthur Asa. Film in Society, Transaction Publishers (1980) p. 112
[51] "Stanley Kubrick's art world influences" (http:/ / www. latimes. com/ entertainment/ movies/ moviesnow/
la-et-cm-stanley-kubrick-lacma-paintings-pictures,0,129692. photogallery), Los Angeles Times, Oct. 26, 2012
[52] Brown, G. (1980) "The Steadicam and The Shining", American Cinematographer, August, 61 (8), pp. 7869, 8267, 8504. Reproduced at
The Kubrick Site (http:/ / www. visual-memory.co.uk/ sk/ ac/ page2. htm) without issue date or pages given
[53] The Telegraph: A Stanley Kubrick retrospective (http:/ / www. telegraph. co. uk/ culture/ film/ 3674926/ Stanley-Kubrick-A-retrospective.
html?image=15)
[54] "Stephen King remembers Stanley Kubrick" (http:/ / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=x98qcNZ8Fz0), video, 4 minutes
[55] "Full Metal Jacket Matthew Modine on Working With Kubrick and Movie Conspiracy Theories" (http:/ / blogs. miaminewtimes. com/
cultist/ 2013/ 04/ matthew_modine_on_kubrick_maki. php), Miami New Times, April 8, 2013
[56] Modine, Matthew. Full Metal Jacket Diary (http:/ / www. fullmetaljacketdiary. com/ ), 2011
[57] Harlan, Jan (producer/director), Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, documentary film (2001)
[58] McDougall, Stuart Y. Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, Cambridge Univ. Press (2003) p. 18
[59] Herr, Michael. Kubrick, Grove Press (2000)
[60] Isaacson, Walter. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, Simon & Schuster (2003) p. 75
[61] "Nicole Kidman on Life With Tom Cruise Through Stanley Kubrick's Lens" (http:/ / www. hollywoodreporter. com/ news/
nicole-kidman-stanley-kubricks-lens-382186), Hollywood Reporter, Oct. 24, 2012
[62] "Nicole Kidman regrets not calling Stanley Kubrick" (http:/ / blog. sfgate. com/ dailydish/ 2012/ 10/ 05/
nicole-kidman-regrets-not-calling-stanley-kubrick/ ), SF Gate, October 5, 2012
[63] Myers (no date). Online at: A.I.(review) (http:/ / www. revolutionsf. com/ article. php?id=67)
[64] Variety 2001. Online at: A.I. Artificial Intelligence (http:/ / www. variety. com/ article/ VR1117799373. html?categoryid=1049& cs=1)
[65] McBride, Joseph. Steven Spielberg: a Biography, Univ. Press of Mississippi (2010) pp. 479481
[66] [66] See interview in "Show" magazine vol. 1, Number 1 1970
[67] "Unmade Stanley Kubrick: Aryan Papers" (http:/ / www. empireonline. com/ features/ unmade-stanley-kubrick/ 6. asp), Empire Online
[68] Raphael, Frederic. Eyes Wide Open: A Memoir of Stanley Kubrick, Ballantine, 1999 pp. 107108
[69] Kubrick, Stanley, and Phillips Gene D. Stanley Kubrick: Interviews, Univ. Press of Mississippi (2001) p. 80
[70] [70] Kagan 2000, p. 2
[71] [71] Nelson 2000, p. 5
[72] "An hour about the life and work of filmmaker Stanley Kubrick" (http:/ / www. charlierose. com/ view/ interview/ 3069), Video interview
with Charlie Rose, Christiane Kubrick, Martin Scorsese and Jan Harlan. June 15, 2001
[73] Making "The Shining" (http:/ / www.youtube. com/ watch?v=9I9L_vv0vR4& feature=related), part 4 of video, a film by Vivian Kubrick
[74] "Must watch: Kubrick and the art of the one-point perspective" (http:/ / screencrush. com/ kubrick-one-point-perspective-mashup/ ) Screen
Crush, August 30, 2012
[75] "Supercut of One-Point Perspective Shots from Stanley Kubrick Films" (http:/ / www. petapixel. com/ 2012/ 08/ 30/
supercut-of-one-point-perspective-shots-from-stanley-kubrick-films/ ) PetaPixel, August 30, 2012
[76] Serena Ferrara, Steadicam: Techniques and Aesthetics (Oxford: Focal Press, 2000), 2631.
[77] Brown, G. (1980) The Steadicam and The Shining. American Cinematographer, August, 61 (8), pp. 7869, 8267, 8504. Reproduced at
The Kubrick Site (http:/ / www. visual-memory.co.uk/ sk/ ac/ page2. htm) without issue date or pages given
[78] Serena Ferrara (2000). Steadicam: Techniques and Aesthetics. Oxford: Focal Press. pp. 2631.
[79] [79] Philips 2001, p. 199.
[80] Duchesneau, Louise, ed. Gyrgy Ligeti: Of Foreign Lands and Strange Sounds, Boydell Press (2011) p. xx
[81] Kubrick, Christiane. Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, Little, Brown (2002) p. 73
Stanley Kubrick
34
[82] [82] Howard 2000, p. 16.
[83] "An Interview with Stanley Kubrick (1969)" (http:/ / www. visual-memory. co. uk/ amk/ doc/ 0069. html)
[84] [84] Hare 2008, p. 166.
[85] For example, the BBC obituary of him at (http:/ / news. bbc. co. uk/ 2/ hi/ uk_news/ 292302. stm). See also Walker, 2000, p.360
[86] [86] Baxter 1999, p. 31.
[87] [87] Rhodes 2008, p. 17.
[88] Book trailer for Stanley Kubrick & Me (http:/ / www.blackbookmag. com/ movies/ watch-the-book-trailer-for-stanley-kubrick-me-1. 59226)
[89] Anthony 1999. Online at: The counterfeit Kubrick (http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/ film/ 1999/ mar/ 14/ andrewanthony)
[90] [90] Raphael, p. 159
[91] Holden 1999. Online at: Stanley Kubrick, Film Director With a Bleak Vision, Dies at 70 (http:/ / query. nytimes. com/ gst/ fullpage.
html?res=9D01EFDF103FF93BA35750C0A96F958260)
[92] [92] See Harlan 2001 for interviews with Scorsese and Spielberg.
[93] [93] See Greenwald 2007 for an interview with Scott.
[94] [94] Director Tim Burton erroneously refers to the Grady girls as twins.
[95] ; Darabont also echoes these criticisms (http:/ / raisingkane. typepad. com/ my_weblog/ 2011/ 03/ archive-interviews-frank-darabont. html)
[96] "Daniel Day-Lewis to Receive Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award" (http:/ / www. iftn. ie/ actors/ actorsnews/ ?act1=record& only=1&
aid=73& rid=4285436& tpl=archnews& force=1), Irish Film and Television Network, October 5, 2012
[97] "So Paulo Film Festival Opens With Stanley Kubrick Exhibit" (http:/ / www. hollywoodreporter. com/ news/
sao-paulo-film-festival-opens-649511), Hollywood Reporter, Oct. 18, 2013
[98] "Stanley Kubrick exhibition opening in Brazil, heading to Toronto" (http:/ / www. latimes. com/ entertainment/ arts/ culture/
la-et-cm-stanley-kubrick-exhibition-toronto-20131009,0,7859145. story), Los Angeles Times, Oct. 9, 2013
[99] [99] Westfahl 2005, p. 1232.
[100] The Sunday Tribune shut down its website in early 2011, and the website of this article appears to have been not archived by the Wayback
Machine. The text of the article has been reproduced (without the painting reproductions) at a website for the exhibit (http:/ / www.
niamhredmond. org/ sktl/ lynch. html)
[101] Daniel Kreps (November 10, 2009). "Lady Gaga Premieres "Bad Romance," Her Craziest Video Yet". Rolling Stone. http:/ / www.
rollingstone.com/ music/ news/ lady-gaga-premieres-bad-romance-her-craziest-video-yet-20091110. Retrieved January 27, 2012. Kreps,
Daniel (November 11, 2009). "Lady Gaga Premieres Bad Romance, Her Craziest Video Yet". Rolling Stone (Jann Wenner) 1098 (32). ISSN
0035-791X
[102] "Room 237 Sundance 2012 Review" (http:/ / thefilmstage. com/ reviews/ sundance-review-room-237/ ), January 27, 2012
[103] The British Film Institute's book on Kubrick contains a chapter on AI and lists it in the filmography in the back. The anthology The
Philosophy of Stanley Kubrick contains an essay by Jason Eberl comparing the concepts of machine intelligence in 2001 and AI, and lists AI in
the filmography as "completed by Steven Spielberg".
[104] The Kubrick Corner (http:/ / kubrickfilms.tripod.com/ )
[105] Notable examples would be Patrick Webster's Love and Death in Kubrick: A Critical Study of the Films from Lolita through Eyes Wide
Shut and Randy Rasmussen's Stanley Kubrick; Seven Films Analyzed.
[106] List of films shown at LACMA Kubrick retrospective (https:/ / www. lacma. org/ series/ 2012-kubrick-odyssey)
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Walker, Alexander; Sybil Taylor, Ulrich Ruchti (2000). Stanley Kubrick, director. W. W. Norton & Company.
p.376. ISBN978-0-393-32119-7.
Stanley Kubrick
39
External links
Stanley Kubrick (http:/ / www. imdb. com/ name/ nm40/ ) at the Internet Movie Database
The Authorized Stanley Kubrick Web Site by Warner Bros. (http:/ / kubrickfilms. warnerbros. com/ )
The Films of Stanley Kubrick (http:/ / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=RECC4arqQow), movie clip compilation, 4
min.
Article Sources and Contributors
40
Article Sources and Contributors
Stanley Kubrick Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=598401299 Contributors: "Country" Bushrod Washington, 1007D, 10stone5, 128.227.230.xxx, 23mike95, 2nd Mr Hyde,
321Wikiman, 3finger, 6afraidof7, 72Dino, 75pickup, 777sms, 84user, 8mmfilm!, A.Savin, A930913, APOCOLYPSE7, AaronY, Abolishthedarkness, Abu badali, Abune, AceOfKnaves,
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Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors
File:Kubrick - Barry Lyndon candid.JPG Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Kubrick_-_Barry_Lyndon_candid.JPG License: Public Domain Contributors: Unknown
photographer
File:KubrickForLook.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:KubrickForLook.jpg License: unknown Contributors: Stanley Kubrick, photographer;
File:Kubrick-Chicago-Look.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Kubrick-Chicago-Look.jpg License: unknown Contributors: Downtowngal, ExpyB, FSV,
Wikiwatcher1
File:Kubrick - Douglas - Spartacus - 1960.JPG Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Kubrick_-_Douglas_-_Spartacus_-_1960.JPG License: Public Domain Contributors:
Studio
File:Dr. Strangelove - The War Room.png Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Dr._Strangelove_-_The_War_Room.png License: Public Domain Contributors: Directed by
Stanley Kubrick, distributed by Columbia Pictures
Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors
41
File:Kubrick - Spartacus set.JPG Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Kubrick_-_Spartacus_set.JPG License: unknown Contributors: Studio
File:20050613-007-childwickbury.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:20050613-007-childwickbury.jpg License: Creative Commons Zero Contributors: Gary Houston
Ghouston 19:04, 20 August 2005 (UTC)
File:KUBRICK at LACMA.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:KUBRICK_at_LACMA.jpg License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Contributors: Eliot Phillips
License
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
//creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

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