Stanley Kubrick, life and films of a genius of cinematic vision

Table of Contents

Stanley Kubrick was born in New York, Manhattan, on July 26, 1928, to Jacob Leonard Kubrick, an American doctor born into a Jewish family of Austrian, Romanian and Polish descent, and to Sadie Gertrude Perveler, an American housewife, also of Jewish descent. As a child he became passionate about ancient Greece and Nordic fairy tales, chess and jazz music. For a time he earned his living from chess games and played drums.

The meeting of Kubrick with photography

stanley-kubrick

In 1945, the parents give a camera and start earning with a picture of a newsagent saddened by the news of President Roosevelt’s death, offering to Look magazine. In the same years he follows creative research studies in photography (which will negatively affect his school income) and begins to become passionate about poetry and symbolism, which will lead him to study Nietzsche’s philosophy.

At nineteen, he invests 5 evenings a week in the cinema projection room of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, viewing old films and after 4 years of study at the movie art academy, paid thanks to his income as a regional journalist, he chooses to actively engage at Cinema.

The first short films

stanley-kubrick

In 1949 he directed the short film Day of the Fight, a self-produced documentary on the boxer Walter Cartier made with only $ 3,900 from friends and family, and which he resells to RKO for $ 4,000. The next documentary, paid for by RKO $ 1,500, is Flying Padre, about a New Mexico priest who travels through the vast area of ​​his parish using a small travel plane.

Fear and Desire

stanley-kubrick

Having actually achieved some success with his very first short films, he chose to leave his position at Look magazine to begin his career as a full-time director by producing his very first feature film in 1953, Fear and Desire, which then it proved difficult to find for several years, indicated by the author, in adulthood, “a hard effort made with a clumsy method”, which however allows him to learn more about the profession of director.

Watch movie


The killing

stanley-kubrick

In 1955 he made Killer’s Kiss. Soon after he signs an agreement with United Artists. In 1956 Kubrick established a small business with producer James B. Harris. The very first film with the new production is The killing, which tells of the attempted robbery in a racecourse through documentary images and a narrative structure that goes back and forth in time, reversing the chronological order of events, to reveal the same truth below. different points of view. A film that does not have a great commercial success, but gets numerous favorable acclaim from the critics.

Paths of Glory

Paths-of-Glory

With Paths of Glory (1957), Kubrick has become the most important filmmaker of his generation, both from the industrial point of view as a filmmaker. The antiwar film is based on Humphrey Cobb’s book of the same name.

Unlike any other war film of its kind, Paths of Glory equally divides its attention between officers and ordinary soldiers, building an intricate story of a war fought not only on open battlefields, but also in conference rooms.

The premiere of the film took place in Munich on September 18, 1957. When the film was chosen for the 1958 Berlin Film Festival, the French threatened to withdraw altogether if the film was shown at the festival. On an individual level, Paths of Glory was particularly rewarding for Kubrick as he was on set with his future wife, Susanne Christian, who closes the film with her heartwarming rendition of a German melody.

Spartacus 

spartacus-stanley-kubrick

Spartacus (1960) is a legendary historical film. The screenplay for Dalton Trumbo’s film was based on Howard Fast’s Spartacus. It is the life story of Spartacus, the leader of a slave revolt in antiquity.

With a $ 12 million spending plan, The Movie ended up being Universal’s most expensive business for the year 1960. It was Kubrick’s first color film and his very first to use a widescreen format. The production of the film proved difficult, mainly due to the changes to the censorship and problems with the script, which was completely rewritten several times.

Before Kubrick signed the directing contract, the most experienced and reliable director Anthony Mann was hired to direct Spartacus. Kirk Douglas proposed the candidacy of Kubrick, with whom he had actually collaborated on Paths of Glory.

Kubrick became famous for his conceit and total absence of compassion in the making of his films. Douglas, furious, threw him a chair when he cut all close-ups of the crucified Spartacus from the last scene of the film. 

Lolita 

Lolita-stanley-kubrick

Lolita is a film directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1962. The film is based on a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, who also wrote the screenplay. The film earned an Oscar nomination for Best Non-Original Screenplay (credited to Vladimir Nabokov).

It’s a story about a mature man’s desire for a tempting young nymphet. It is not a film that shows sexuality, its images are suggestive, with many metaphorical references.

Kubrick and Harris should have rewritten history and thrown away the whole version of Nabokov. There are numerous distinctions between the Kubrick-Harris film adaptation and that of Nabokov, consisting of some scenes that have been completely excluded.

At the time of the film’s launch, the scoring system was not in place and the Hays Code, which dates back to the 1930s, still governed the censorship of films. The censorship of the time prevented the film from being shown; Kubrick later commented:

“I would have brought in the sensual element of their relationship with the same weight as Nabokov if I could have done the film one more time.”

Kubrick indirectly suggested the nature of the relationship between the two protagonists, through visual hints like Humbert painting Lolita’s toes. In the 1972 interview with Newsweek (after the classification system was actually unveiled in late 1968), Kubrick stated that he “most likely would not actually have made the film” if he understood in advance how difficult the censorship issues would be. .

Dr. Strangelove

Dr-Strangelove-stanley-kubrick

The film was directed, produced and co-written by Stanley Kubrick, starring Peter Sellers and George C. Scott and includes Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn and Slim Pickens. The film is loosely based on Peter George’s thriller Red Alert (1958).

The story describes an insane general of the United States Air Force preparing a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. The President of the United States, his advisors, chiefs of staff and a Royal Air Force officer are trying to avoid a nuclear armageddon.

Kubrick insisted that the space had to have a steeply sloping ceiling as he argued that a triangular building and construction would be more resistant to shock waves than a nuclear bomb. Adam, who actually trained as a production designer after serving as a pilot in World War II, brought this concept with him; Kubrick enjoyed Adam’s preliminary sketches so much that he, who had heard that Kubrick was extremely hard to please, was surprised.

Peter Sellers had 4 significant roles, and Columbia Pictures agreed to finance the film. The condition came from the studio’s point of view that it was based on Sellers’ work in which his single character assumed a variety of identities.

For a last-minute change from Kubrick, one of the film’s key scenes had to be preceded by a wild brawl with pastries from the War Room buffet table. The battle, which was filmed but eliminated before the film was last printed, begins with Soviet Ambassador de Sadeski (Peter Bull) reacting to the danger of a search by throwing a cream pie.

Buy Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb [Blu-ray]

2001: A Space Odyssey

2001-A-Space-Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey is a legendary 1968 science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The film follows a journey to Jupiter with the AI ​​Hal after the discovery of a strange black monolith that has an impact on human progress.

Movies about existentialism, human development, innovation, and extraterrestrial life. Kubrick and Clarke first wrote based on the original 2001 novel, without the film’s production restrictions, and then created the final script. They prepared the writing credits to be “Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, based on a short story by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick” to show their prominence in their particular fields.

Clarke has selected the clearest descriptions of the strange monolith and the Star Gate in the book; Kubrick made the film more baffling by reducing dialogue and linear narration. Kubrick said the film is “essentially a visual and non-verbal experience” that “hits the audience on an inner level of awareness, just like music or painting does.”

2001-A-Space-Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey was made with reflective mirrors, both for space scenes and those set on Earth. The method included a different landscape projector set at an ideal angle to the camera and a semi-silver mirror placed in front at a 45º angle that showed the intended image in line with the camera lens against a retro-reflective background.

Arthur C. Clarke, worried that Kubrick might turn down more collaboration with him because he was gay, one day found the courage to face the problem head on. Taking advantage of the moment, he quickly revealed during a meeting between them:

Stan, I want you to understand that I’m a very well-adjusted homosexual.

Yes, I see.

Stanley Kubrick was accused of shooting much of the Apollo 11 and 12 moon landing video, possibly due to the fact that he directed 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is partially set on the Moon and included groundbreaking unique results.

In July 2009, Weidner posted “Secrets of the Shining” on his webpage, where he specifies that Kubrick’s Shining (1980) is a veiled confession of his role in the fake moon landing work. According to this thesis he would remain on a spaceship around Earth’s orbit and the fake footage was broadcast as “live from the Moon.”

Buy 2001: A Space Odyssey (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray)

A Clockwork Orange

Arancia-meccanica

A Clockwork Orange (1971) is a dystopian film, produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on the 1962 book of the same name by Anthony Burgess. It uses disturbing and violent images. The central theme of the film is mental illness, juvenile delinquency, and other social, political and financial problems in a dystopian Britain in the near future.

Launched in late 1971, the film sparked considerable debate in the United States with its X-rated violence; after risking a criminal offense in England, Kubrick withdrew the film from British circulation until after his death. The view was divided on the meaning of Kubrick’s vision of the future, however, whether the controversy attracted the curious or repelled them, A Clockwork Orange ended up being a success. In the wake of the New York Film Critics Circle awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay, Kubrick garnered Academy Award nominations in all 3 categories.

After a medical diagnosis it was predicted that within a year Anthony Burgess would pass to the other world. The medical diagnosis had actually prompted him into a vigorous business to raise money.

Arancia-meccanica

The film’s script writer Terry Southern provided Kubrick with a copy of the novel, however, while he was planning a work associated with Napoleon Bonaparte, Kubrick put it aside. Kubrick’s wife, in an interview, specified that she had suggested the book to him after reading it.

He was enthusiastic about everything: the plot, the concepts, the characters and, of course, the language. History obviously works on numerous levels: political, sociological, philosophical and, what is essential, on a psychological-symbolic and dream level.

Kubrick wrote a script that’s true to the original, stating, “I believe everything Burgess needed to say about the story was stated in the book, however I created a couple of useful narrative concepts and improved some scenes.” Kubrick based the script on the abridged edition of the book in the United States, which he left out the last chapter.

Due to the Nadsat language Burgess created for the book, Kubrick presumably didn’t like the book on first reading. The language, actually identified as the Russian word for “teenager” and consisted of Russian rhyming slang, left the director puzzled.

Buy Clockwork Orange, A (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital)

stanley-kubrick

Malcolm McDowell‘s portrayal as Alex DeLarge, the main character, is truly remarkable. Some critics have rated it as the best role this actor has ever played. Kubrick said that if he couldn’t get McDowell to play the lead role, he most likely never would have made the film.

When McDowell started dressing by putting the jockstrap to protect his genitals under his pants, Kubrick informed him that it would look much better over his pants, and the look appeared in the film.

Since it was almost like a tribal affair, it was about doing something these men would actually do to themselves. Makeup artist Barbara Daly came up with the idea to use false eyelashes.

Kubrick paid $ 10,000 to use 30 seconds of the song Singing in the Rain. It took McDowell and Kubrick hours to record the film’s voiceovers in the 2 weeks following production. To relax from work, a ping pong table was set up outside the recording studio. Kubrick described that a week had actually been invested playing ping pong when McDowell found out he would only be paid for a week for this dubbing job.

The settings have the sparkling look of a Milanese-style location: uterus-shaped chairs, tables of thick glass, brushed aluminum and chrome, aseptic viewpoints of raw concrete and molded white plastic. Fiberglass nudes, like Playboy females at the Korovamilk bar, function as side tables and give mescaline milk from their nipples.

stanley-kubrick

There is no specific description of the interior of the bar in Burgess’s book, however Kubrick and young John Berry (the film’s production designer) thought of it as a place for the customer’s sexual stimulation. Shortly before this, London-based pop artist Allen Jones developed the furnishings, built with life-sized female mannequins. Initially, Kubrick asked Jones for approval to use his Clockwork Orange sculptures.

The cat lady’s living room, which Alex kills with a huge phallus-shaped sculpture, is adorned with the kind of flamboyant and sensual paintings that have plagued Pop-art awareness recently.

What is worrying is the popular concept of the nineteenth century, still held today, that art is good for you, that the function of the great arts is to offer an ethical elevation. Kubrick’s message, amplified by Burgess’s uniqueness, is the opposite: art has no ethical function. Rather, art serves to promote enthusiastic awareness.

For the release of the film in the United States, to move from the classification of films X to the one more available to the public, Kubrick cut a few episodes and changed 2 scenes. As a result, A Clockwork Orange was chosen for an Oscar in 4 categories, from Best Film and Best Director.

The film had a great media coverage all over the world. The newspapers published reports on the crimes that should have actually been committed under its impact. British newspapers and courts have described “A Clockwork Orange” as a film promoting youth street violence, although the evidence that the film motivated teenagers to engage in crime was not convincing. Kubrick and Burgess protected their work and the right to total freedom of speech. 

Barry Lyndon

barry-lyndon

This is a film adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s picaresque love book of timeless English literature, The Fortune of Barry Lyndon (1844). In search of true realism, Kubrick firmly insisted on the use not only of authentic decorations, but also of clothes; all filming was done on the spot.

Kubrick uses a narrative voice that resonates behind the scenes. As Kubrick said several times, a particular reality must arise in the audience’s understanding from the synthesis of the action on the screen and from the point of view of an unreliable narrator. For Kubrick, words are whistles and bells: the more there are, the more you lose your understanding of the world.

Another feature of the film is the mirror repetition of situations: the film begins with the battle of Barry’s father and ends with a battle, that of Barry himself with his stepson. Throughout history scenes of card games are repeated rhythmically.

Consumed by the idea of ​​recreating the eighteenth century on the screen with documentary precision, Kubrick abandoned the studios and chose to carry out specific studies in real areas. The building and the constructions, as well as the furnishings and the various devices, should not have actually been dated after the era of cinematographic action, practically all the architecture present in the images of the film developed within the limits of the eighteenth and twelfth century.

In search of suitable locations, Kubrick turned to Ken Russell, a British director who at that time had already shot a number of historical films (Women in Love, The Music Lovers).

The crucial tool Kubrick turned to to immerse the audience in the 18th century environment is light. Recreating the period before the creation of electricity on the screen, the director, together with cameraman John Olcott, abandoned the use of lighting as much as possible in favor of natural light.

barry-lyndon

To achieve such a perfect result, Kubrick purchased 3 Carl Zeiss Planar lenses with f / 0.7 aperture. There were only 10 such goals, including 3 for Stanley Kubrick.

In Barry Lyndon, the direct citation of the paintings of Antoine Watteau, Jean-Honore Fragonard, William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough, Daniel Khodovetsky, George Stubbs and Johann Zoffany can be sensed. Kubrick also suggests the styles of Romanticism: the works of John Constable, Adolf von Menzel, as well as the Pre-Raphaelites. 

On the basis of the images of these and other artists, the chromatic choice of the staging is constructed. Ryan O’Neal said:

“He discovered a painting – I don’t remember which one – and put Marisa and me just as if we were in that painting.”

The actors move in a very measured way or do not make any movement, like figures on the canvas. Like rhymes, typical styles of landscape painting or group scenes appear on the screen.

As reference points served authentic clothes discovered by collectors and completely copied, along with paintings from the 18th century, such as the works of the painters mentioned above. In the spirit of the era, the clothes had a lot of lace, velvet and ornamental components.

Numerous dresses were rented, but most of them were customized, which took about eighteen months.

The candlelit scenes made life difficult even for the costume designers. The truth is that in such conditions, the white color seemed too bright, so it had to be changed.

As always with Kubrick, musical accompaniment played no less essential role than visuals in Barry Lyndon (he won another Oscar for this film). After listening to all the music of the 17th-18th centuries, Kubrick chose numerous popular songs of the time, such as the folk women of Ireland and the Hohenfriedberg march.

Kubrick uses a fascinating method to approach the music on the film set (like Sergio Leone). The director played the music on the set to reproduce the mood necessary for the cast and crew. The approach worked: Barry Lyndon is thought of as a unified interaction of the musical and visual parts.

Shining

shining

Shining is a horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick and co-written with author Diane Johnson. The film is based on Stephen King’s 1977 book of the same name.

Due to disparities, uncertainties, meaning and distinctions from the book, there has been a lot of speculation about the film’s meanings and action.

There have been numerous variations for the theatrical releases, each much shorter than the previous one, with around 27 minutes of cut. Modern critical reactions have been mixed, the rating ended up being more advantageous in subsequent years, and it is now broadly agreed in recognition as one of the greatest horror films ever made. The Shining is well known to critics today and has become a staple of popular culture.

Stephen King has always protested over the years about his discontent with the film adaptation of his book. He also had extreme words for films such as, “I see them as an inferior product of fiction, literature, and a more ephemeral medium.”

Jack Nicholson showed the Duvall / Kubrick relationship in a documentary titled Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures. Kubrick was on the exact same frequency with Nicholson and treated him with respect, but he was always disliked by Duvall. 

As Vivian Kubrick verified in the commentary in The Making of The Shining, Stanley Kubrick intentionally mistreated Duvall to increase Wendy Torrance’s insecurity. He could also be heard backstage of the film saying to the other crew members, “Don’t be sorry for Shelley.”

shining

In the book, the creepy occasions are set in room 217, not room 237. There was no room 237 in the hotel, so that number has been changed.

The film was one of the very first in which the Steadicam camera stabilization system was used. Kubrick did this to reveal the environment from baby Danny’s point of view. For the recording of these scenes, Garrett Brown put the camera not at the top, but at the bottom of the Steadicam system, created specifically for shooting from below.

The film includes 2 mazes, the hedges outside and the Overlook hotel. The hedge maze appears in 2 types, the 13 foot tall variant on the outside and the design on the inside of the Overlook. Also, in the overhead shot that zooms in on Wendy and Danny in the center of the maze, the maze varies from the open-air version not only in having many more passages, but also in the fact that the sides are mirror images of each other. ‘other.

900 lots of salt and styrofoam were used to make the snow-filled maze surroundings at the end of the film. The maze itself was built in full size at the airport near the “Elstree Studios”, and it was easy to get lost inside.

Full Metal Jacket

full-metal-jacket

Full Metal Jacket (1987) is Stanley Kubrick’s latest war film. In this film, he wanted to reveal the very nature of war.

The army and war choose everyone’s fate, regardless of the orders coming from above, strategies, desires, concepts and goals of the individual himself …

In the spring of 1980, director Stanley Kubrick contacted Michael Herr, the author of a collection of memoirs on the Vietnam War, to discuss how to tell the Holocaust with the film, but in the end he chose the Vietnam War. 

After a long time, Kubrick found Gustav Hasford’s short story The Short-Timers. In 1982, Kubrick read the book twice and, together with Hasford, decided it would be the basis for the script for the future film. In 1985 Stanley Kubrick, Gustav Hasford and Michael Herr collaborated on the script.

Stanley Kubrick had a rather weird casting technique in his new movie. To acquire a role it was enough to send a video with a recording. Quickly, some 3,000 tapes were sent to Kubrick from the United States and Canada, each of which was seen by his assistants, who chose 800.

Kubrick gave the lead role to Bruce Willis, unknown at the time, but the actor refused. Anthony Michael Hall was also preparing for the 8 month job, but eventually switched to Matthew Modine.

Kubrick assigned Arnold Schwarzenegger the role of a soldier nicknamed “Animal Mother”, but he turned down the deal, so this role was played by Adam Baldwin.

Shooting on Full Metal Jacket began in August 1985. In addition to the structures, the recreation of Asian nature was discussed. For this purpose, 200 palm trees and 150,000 plastic tropical plants from Hong Kong were brought from Spain. 4 M41 tanks came from Belgium and the S55 helicopters were hired and repainted green.

Eyes Wide Shut

eyes-wide-shut

Eyes Wide Shut (1999) is an existential film about humanity, sexuality, marital fidelity, and the nature and meaning of life. The routine and trivialities of life that often produce a soporific result on the main characters in Kubrick’s other films function here in the opposite way, offering possibilities for awareness.

Despite the fact that Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) and Alice Harford (Nicole Kidman) face all the problems of the human condition so common in Kubrick’s early films, Eyes Wide Shut awakens its main characters to the truth of their condition and thus allows them to making conscious choices that ultimately strengthen their bond.

Over the course of the film, the Harfords shed their metaphorical and real masks, ending up being open to each other. This unmasking exposes some disturbing facts about human desires and how these desires challenge marital fidelity, and likewise improves the Harfords marital relationship.

At the end of the film, Alice and Bill are aware of their wishes. Rather than ruining their marital relationship, the couple’s sincere confession of these desires ultimately strengthens their dedication to staying together. Human fallibility and frailty could make Bill and Alice unable to live with their eyes wide open. Kubrick’s latest film recommends that their eyes at least be tightly closed.

eyes-wide-shut

Eyes Wide Shut is loosely based on Arthur Schnitzler’s novella Dream Story, which was released in 1926. Thinking that the film is set in 1990s New York, it is undoubtedly not a direct adaptation, however it overlaps in plot and style.

To give the film a dreamlike vibe, the filmmakers used an old-school shooting technique and a treadmill. “In some scenes, the backgrounds were rear-projection plates,” said cinematographer Larry Smith. “We filmed Tom walking on a treadmill.” 

After setting the treadmill to a particular speed, they would put lighting on it to mimic the splendor of the many shops that passed in the background.

Kubrick chose to uncover his story by psychoanalysising his stars, prompting Cruise and Kidman to admit their concerns about the marital relationship in discussions the 3 promised to keep secret.

The line between truth and fiction has been intentionally blurred. The couple overslept in their characters’ bedroom, chose the colors of the curtains, scattered the clothes on the floor, and even left the mask on the nightstand just like Cruise did in the movie.

To over-emphasize the surprise between the fictional couple, Kubrick directs each star individually and forbids them from sharing instructions. For just one minute of the latest video of Alice making love to a handsome naval officer – a fictional story that haunts Bill throughout the film – Kubrick requested that Kidman shoot 6 days of sex scenes.

Not only did he ask her to take over 50 sensual positions, he also banned Cruise from being on set and forbade Kidman from reducing her husband’s worries by informing him of what was going on during filming.

The masks used in the film are not simply the fruit of Kubrick’s imagination. In their design, they resemble the masks used by visitors at the famous celebration at the Ferrés castle palace in 1972. 

The celebration was organized by the Rothschild family and Freemasonry. It’s really comparable to what happens in Kubrick’s film. The building where the shooting of the scenes in Somerton took place is also owned by the Rothschilds.

6 days after delivering a final cut of the Eyes Wide Shut montage on March 7, 1999, Kubrick died in his sleep at the age of 70. 

Watch the movies

Start a free trial on Indiecinema now

Subscribe to the newsletter

Stay up to date on new post, upcoming movies, festivals, promos, events … and much more!

error: Content is protected !!

Subscribe to the newsletter

Stay up to date on new post, upcoming movies, festivals, promos, events … and much more!