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Stanley Kubrick :: fans Journal

Uncompromising genius, who changed cinema forever.
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Welcome to the STANLEY KUBRICK

Stanley Kubrick was born in New
York, and was considered intelligent despite poor grades at school. Hoping that
a change of scenery would produce better
performance, Kubrick's father Jack (a physician) sent him in 1940 to Pasadena,
California, to stay with his uncle Martin Perveler. Returning to the Bronx in
1941 for his last year of grammar school, there seemed to be little change in
his attitude or his results. Hoping to find something to interest his son, Jack
introduced Stanley to chess, with the desired result. Kubrick took to the game
passionately, and quickly became a skilled player. Chess would become an
important device for Kubrick in later years, often as tool for for dealing with
recalcitrant actors, but also as an artistic motif in his films.

Jack Kubrick's decision to give his son a camera for his thirteenth birthday
would be an even wiser move: Kubrick became an avid photographer, and would
often make trips around New York taking photographs which he would develop in a
friend's darkroom. After selling an unsolicited photograph to Look Magazine,
Kubrick began to associate with their staff photographers, and at the age of
seventeen was offered a job as an apprentice photographer.

In the next few years, Kubrick had regular assignments for "Look", and would
become a voracious movie-goer. Together with friend Alexander
Singer, Kubrick planned a move into film, and in 1950 sank his savings into
making the documentary Day of the Fight (1951). This was followed by several
short commissioned documentaries (Flying Padre (1951), and _Seafarers, The
(1952)_ ), but by attracting investors and hustling chess games in Central Park,
Kubrick was able to make Fear and Desire (1953) in California.

Filming this movie was not a happy experience; Kubrick's marriage to high school
sweetheart Toba Metz did not survive the shooting. Despite mixed reviews for the
film itself, Kubrick received good notices for his obvious directorial talents.
Kubrick's next two films Killer's Kiss (1955) and Killing, The (1956) brought
him to the attention of Hollywood, and in 1957 directed Kirk Douglas in Paths of
Glory (1957). Douglas later called upon Kubrick to take over the production of
Spartacus (1960), by some accounts hoping that Kubrick would be daunted by the
scale of the project and would thus be accommodating. This was not the case,
however: Kubrick took charge of the project, imposing his ideas and standards on
the film. Many crewmembers were upset by his style: cinematographer Russell
Metty complained to producers that Kubrick was taking over his job. Kubrick's
response was to tell him to sit there and do nothing. Metty complied, and
ironically was awarded the Academy Award for his cinematography.

Kubrick's next project was to direct Marlon Brando in One-Eyed Jacks (1961), but
negotiations broke down and Brando himself ended up directing the film himself.
Disenchanted with Hollywood and after another failed marriage, Kubrick moved
permanently to England, from where he would make all of his subsequent films.
Despite having obtained a pilot's license, Kubrick is rumored to be afraid of

Kubrick's first UK film was Lolita (1962), which was carefully constructed and
guided so as to not offend the censorship boards which at the time had the
power to severely damage the commercial success of a film. Dr. Strangelove or:
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) was a big risk for
Kubrick; before this, "nuclear" was not considered a subject for comedy.
Originally written as a drama, Kubrick decided that too many of the ideas he had
written were just too funny to be taken seriously. The film's critical and
commercial success allowed Kubrick the financial and artistic freedom to work on
any project he desired. Around this time, Kubrick's focus diversified and he
would always have several projects in various stages of development: "Blue Moon"
(a story about Hollywood's first pornographic feature film), "Napoleon" (an epic
historical biography, abandoned after studio losses on similar projects),
"Wartime Lies" (based on the novel by Louis Begley), and "Rhapsody" (a
psycho-sexual thriller).

The next film he completed was a collaboration with sci-fi author Arthur C.
Clarke 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is hailed by many as the best ever made; an
instant cult favorite, it has set the standard and tone for many science fiction
films that followed. Kubrick followed this with Clockwork Orange, A (1971),
which rivaled Lolita (1962) for the controversy it generated - this time not for
only for its portrayal of sex, but also of violence. Barry Lyndon (1975) would
prove a turning point in both his professional and private lives. His
unrelenting demands of commitment and perfection of cast and crew had by now
become legendary. Actors would be required to perform dozens of takes with no
breaks. Filming a story in Ireland involving military, Kubrick received reports
that the IRA had declared him a possible target. Production was promptly moved
out of the country, and Kubrick's desire for privacy and security have resulted
in him being considered a recluse ever since.

Having turned down directing a sequel to Exorcist, The (1973), Kubrick made his
own horror film: Shining, The (1980). Again, rumors circulated of demands made
upon actors and crew. Stephen King (whose novel the film was based upon)
reportedly didn't like Kubrick's adaptation (indeed, he would later write his
own screenplay which was filmed as "Shining, The" (1997) (mini).)

Kubrick's subsequent work has been well spaced: it was seven ears before Full
al Jacket (1987) was released. By this time, Kubrick was married with
children and had extensively remodeled his house. Seen by one critic as the dark
side to the humanist story of Platoon (1986), Full Metal Jacket (1987) continued Kubrick's legacy of solid critical acclaim, and profit at the box office.

In the 1990s, Kubrick began an on-again/off-again collaboration with Brian
Aldiss on a new science fiction film called "Artificial Intelligence (AI)", but
progress was very slow, and was backgrounded until special effects technology
was up to the standard the Kubrick wanted.

Kubrick returned to his in-development projects, but encountered a number of
problems: "Napoleon" was completely
dead, and "Wartime Lies" (now called "The Aryan Papers") was abandoned when
Steven Spielberg announced he would direct Schindler's List (1993), which
covered much of the same material.

While pre-production work on "AI" crawled along, Kubrick combined "Rhapsody" and
"Blue Moon" and officially announced his next project as Eyes Wide Shut (1999),
starring the then-married Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. After two years of
production under unprecedented security and privacy, the film was released to a
typically polarized critical and public reception; Kubrick claimed it was his
best film to date.

Special effects technology had matured rapidly in the meantime, and Kubrick
immediately begain active work on Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001), but
tragically suffered a fatal heart attack in his sleep on March 7th, 1999.

After Kubrick's death, Spielberg reveleaed that the two of them were friends
that frequently communicated discretely about the art of filmmaking; both had a
large degree of mutual respect for each other's work. "AI" was frequently
discussed; Kubrick even suggested that Spielberg should direct it as it was more
his type of project. Based on this relationship, Spielberg took over as the
film's director and completed the last Kubrick project.

How much of Kubrick's vision remains in the finished project -- and what he
would think of the film as eventually released -- will be the final great
unanswerable mysteries in the life of this talented and private filmmaker.