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An A-Z of distinguishing features, and a list of his films in year order. Also films about Kubrick, including one by his daughter Vivian on filming of The Shining.
A.I.ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE subject of interest to Kubrick, film project taken on by Spielberg
ACTORS given prominence, worked with and on extensively
AMBITION mastered the combination of art and finance
ANIMALS: Kubrick loved his cats and dogs
APOLLO 11 Dark secrets? The Shining
CHESS, Kubrick love of, The Killing, Lolita, 2001, mix of intuition and calculation
CLASSICAL MUSIC; regular use of pre-recorded classics rather than new scores
COLD WAR: Dr Strangelove, The Shining
COMMERCIAL SUCCESS- rare for such an individualist auteur, hence the control the studios allowed him
CONTRASTS: meticulous realism/flamboyant expressionism, enlightenment/violence (films full of oppositions)…..
CONTROL- Kubrick expected and had unusual amount of control. Spartacus was a less personal exception
COUPLES under strain, The Killing, Lolita, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut
CRITICISMS of his work as cold, misanthropic, divorced from reality, of Clockwork Orange (unfairly, though it is brutal) as Fascist.
DEMANDING of collaborators, who often found him gruelling
ESP, a Kubrick interest
FAMILY CAMEOS Kubrick’s daughter Viviane, step-daughter Katharina and wife Christiane in several films
FAMILY discord, under attack from within or without
FANTASTIC ELEMENTS e.g The Shining: reincarnation, vampirism, telepathy, second sight, ghosts, Eyes Wide Shut..
FLYING: Kubrick’s fear of..
FREE WILL, eg Clockwork Orange
FRONT PROJECTION- 2001 (using Scotchlite)
FREUD, influence of
GENOCIDE The Shining
GENRE range- comedy, sci-fi, war, horror, crime, historical, documentaries…
HISTORICAL FRACTURES; crisis and fall, world on the brink of collapse
HOME- where Kubrick’s heart was, close to family and career, with editing room, projection room…and rarely travelled.
HUMAN DESTINY; 2001 and Dr Strangelove give wondrous/startling alternatives
HUMOUR as a means of exploring the universal neuroses, power structures, bombast..
INNOVATION, originality, pushing boundaries; important to Kubrick, who consciously avoided genre repetition from one film to the next.
IRONY, including incongruous use of light pop music
ISOLATION (and of Kubrick’s own lifestyle in England)
KNOWLEDGE; on a vast range of subjects.
LIBERTARIAN, criticisms of the state
LIPSETT, Arthur, Canadian avant-garde director admired by Kubrick
LOVE AND DEATH.
MASKS, disguise, play-acting, false appearances, mask-like facial expressions…
ONE-EYED JACKS: western on which Brando took over direction
OPHULS, Max influence on Kubrick, fluid camera, e.g Paths of Glory
ORDER AND DISORDER.
NAMES- absurdity of Strangelove characters, in satirical tradition (e.g Gulliver’s Travels)
NAPOLEON; unmade film
NATIVE AMERICAN burial ground setting of The Shining’s Overlook Hotel, trampled over by USA
NEW YORK birthplace, 1928
NOVELISTIC Length and novels as source
NUDITY- females in The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange
PAINTINGS, influence on Barry Lyndon (e.g Gainsborough, de la Tour)..
PESSIMISTIC view of humankind? (or hidden optimism)
PHOTOGRAPHY- background and interest in
POLITICAL mix; not a socialist, New Labourist, communist, anarchist or fascist, but an independent range of liberal and more conservative views.
PREPARATION; multiple takes, rehearsals
PRIMITIVE INSTINCTS of humankind, aggressive, not keeping up with science, misplaced pride in “civilisation”
ROMANTIC; an element of grand visionary romantic in Kubrick
SCIENCE as a danger as well as advance
SELF-REFERENCING: films often refer to previous
SETS, importance of; vast sets, UK as Vietnam and New York..
SEXUALITY marred, anxious, exploitative, aggressive (including rape), cold, deviant, complex..
SLAPSTICK, the custard pie fight (that wasn’t ) in Dr Strangelove
SPATIUAL EXPLORATION, as well as space exploration
SPEECH slow mannered delivery
STEADICAM: The Shining
STRONG COLOUR schemes: rich warm dangerous reds, cool blues, lush purples..
SUPER-TECHNICIAN, Kubrick wanted to master everything
SURREALISM elements e.g in Eyes Wide Shut
SYMMETRY: e.g in construction of Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon and Eyes Wide Shut (major 18 minute scenes)
TRACKING SHOTS, reverse tracks
VIOLENCE and the state
WAR including in family life, domestic arena
WRITERS- preference for writers/source novelists as collaborators, rather than professional screenwriters
ZERO: Number of directing Oscars
ZOOM e.g Barry Lyndon
A few seconds’ thought can often prevent a serious mistake being made about something that looks good at first glance… With respect to films, chess is more useful preventing you from making mistakes than giving you ideas.
A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.
A filmmaker has almost the same freedom as a novelist has when he buys himself some paper.
Any time you take a chance you better be sure the rewards are worth the risk because they can put you away just as fast for a ten dollar heist as they can for a million dollar job.
Description is not one of the things that novels do best but it is something that movies do effortlessly, at least with respect to the effort required of the audience.
Here’s to five miserable months on the wagon and the irreparable harm that it’s caused me.
I don’t think of myself as a pessimist. I believe very strongly in parliamentary democracy, and i am of the opinion that the power and authority of the state should be optimized and exercised only to the extent that it is required to keep things civilised.
I don’t waste money and i don’t waste time but i try to get it right.
I found the sense of insecurity and the whiff of malevolence that surround you in Hollywood very disturbing.
I never learned anything at all in school and didn’t read a book for pleasure until I was 19 years old.
I think modern art’s almost total pre-ocuupation with subjectivism has led to anrachy and sterility in the arts.
I think there should always be a reason for making a cut.
If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed.
If you can talk brilliantly about a problem, it can create the consoling illusion that it has been mastered.
It’s a mistake to confuse pity with love.
It’s crazy how you can get yourself in a mess sometimes and not even be able to think about it with any sense and yet not be able to think about anything else.
Man isn’t a noble savage, he’s an ignoble savage. He is irrational, brutal, weak, silly, unable to be objective about anything where his own interests are involved—that about sums it up. I’m interested in the brutal and violent nature of man because it’s a true picture of him. And any attempt to create social institutions on a false view of the nature of man is probably doomed to failure.
Modern science seems to be very dangerous because it has given us the power to destroy ourselves before we know how to handle it. On the other hand it is foolish to blame science for its discoveries.
No one is corrupted watching A Clockwork Orange any more than they are by watching Richard III.
One of the most notable things about the Vietnam War was that it was manipulated in Washington in a kind of Alice in Wonderland way by intellectual hawks who tried to fine-tune reality like an advertising agency.
Perhaps it sounds ridiculous, but the best thing that young filmmakers should do is to get hold of a camera and some film and make a movie of any kind at all.
Practically everything i read about myself is grotesquely false.
The great nations have always acted like gangsters, and the small nations like prostitutes.
The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death — however mutable man may be able to make them — our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.
The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.
There are few things more fundamentally encouraging and stimulating than seeing someone else die.
There doesn’t seem to be much point in hiring a composer who, however good he may be, is not a Mozart or a Beethoven.
There may be a fallacy in the belief that showing people that war is bad will make them less likely to fight a war.
When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man.
You sit at the board and suddenly your heart leaps. Your hand trembles to pick up the piece and move it. But what chess teaches you is that you must sit there calmly and think about whether it’s really a good idea and whether there are other, better ideas.
You don’t have to make Frank Capra movies to like people. Capra presents a view of life we all wish it really were. But i think you can still present a truer picture of life without being regarded as a misanthrope.
You’re an idealist, and I pity you as I would the village idiot.
2001: A Space Odyssey.
Paths of Glory.
Michel Ciment: Kubrick
Alexander Walker: Stanley Kubrick, Director: A Visual Analysis
Alison Castle (ed): The Stanley Kubrick Archives
James Naremore: On Kubrick