Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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As an interesting aside, I did just read in Thomas Allen Nelson's book, Kubrick: Inside A Film Artist's Maze, that Nikki does escape the parking lot in the novel Clean Break. This seems to indicate that Kubrick deliberately crafted the scene to be more mechanical than personal. This fits with Nelson's thesis of Kubrick attempting to portray contingency in his films. Interestingly, this affects how the scene can be interpreted allegorically. One could find justification for interpreting the scene to preach keeping interpersonal contact to a minimum as it will ultimately do you harm rather than good, isolationism as control over a contingent universe. On the contrary, one could equally argue it preaches the dangers of refusing to engage with others as ends unto themselves rather than merely means, that the world will do what it will do regardless of our best laid plans so we had better stick together if for nothing less than the consolation of knowing that we are all in the same boat and no one person is being singled out for punishment.
- Roger Ryan
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Thanks - I should have remembered that from the Harris interview.bringmesomechemicals wrote:...James B. Harris, in the interview included with the release, notes that Killer's Kiss was shot with a "wild" soundtrack and then fully redubbed afterwards...
Kubrick's handling of the Nikki sequence could be just another example of emphasizing the irony in how the plan goes awry. Nikki's fake war story is intended to get him into a secured area where he will have a clear shot at the horse, but the sympathetic nature of the story encourages the parking attendant to try and engage Nikki in conversation, something that may not have happened if Nikki chose a different tactic. I agree that the racist outburst in Nikki's attempt to stymie the interaction so he can conclude his mission. The outburst, however, makes him less sympathetic; as a result, the parking attendant may have felt less hesitation in his decision to shoot Nikki.
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Of course. Evidently, my head is too crammed with film images and sequences for me to keep track of them all!PfR73 wrote:I'm pretty sure it's not the parking attendant who shoots Nikki, but some type of police officer.
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Finally was treated to a 35mm screening of Killer's Kiss (thank you LACMA), one of the last Kubes flicks I'd yet to see. I'm not sure I'd go so far as Niale did in placing it above The Killing but I was really struck by this film, particularly its incredible visuals. On-location glimpses of city streets from this era admittedly always get me hot and bothered but everything, from the verite boxing match to the proto-Stargate dream sequence to the chases down surreally empty NYC blocks to the wide panning shot on the rooftop to the final setpiece in the mannequin factory--I've heard Kubrick (rightly) denounce this film for its simplistic plot but what he managed to pull off with the camera here was really breathtaking in a way I never found The Killing to be.Niale wrote: But better then both of these films is killers kiss. Why? because its a film bursting with incredibly rich visuals.
The scene where "the wrong man" gets backed down an ally by thugs and his shoe flys back as he is sacked, there is no
shot of such power in The Killing.Not to mention the tracking shot of the girl walking down a busy new york street... its a dazzling shot!
It's telling that this was one of only two Kubrick films on which he also served as cameraman--the progression from conception of an image to its capture involved the least number of steps here, and subsequently there's a spontaneity and a visceral quality to the camerawork that isn't so often found in his other works (incidentally, I also found much to like in the much-maligned Fear and Desire, which he also shot, and which was shown as a double bill with this film and his early newsreel shorts).
I had the exact same thought watching it, and I wonder if that wasn't an intentional bit of lighting trickery on Kubrick's part? A pretty interesting effect regardless.hearthesilence wrote:(BTW, I saw this for the first time on Criterion's BD and mistook the first shot of Albert, the fight manager, at the boxing gym as a rear projection. "Wow, this really is low budget - they just used stock footage instead of a set or a location!" Then later on, using the same setup, we see Albert still at the gym, this time standing in the 'background' before moving into the foreground to use the phone - the same position he was in during the earlier shot. The lighting was just different and the focus a bit sharper in the foreground. Anyway, thought that was funny...
Last edited by pzadvance on Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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I think that Killing is a far more ambitious film, but I think that despite having a more compelling narrative, and better actors... Its not consistently very good, some of it is downright terrible, and in terms of the camera work, its far inferior to Killers Kiss. The plot of Killers Kiss may be threadbare, but that makes it more approachable, you can watch it many more times. Im only in the mood to watch a heist film every so often, but I can put on Killers Kiss and enjoy it just for its photography, and not be bogged down with very heavy handed narration, suspense, betrayal, murder and so on. Not that I think films should emulate muzak... But thats one of the things I like about Killers Kiss.pzadvance wrote: I'm not sure I'd go so far as Kiale did in placing it above The Killing
The Killing has its plot and not much else. By the fith viewing, you, or at least me, will be very bored. The distraction scene at the racetrack bar is way worse than ANYTHING in Fear and Desire. The black man at the parking lot, who meets the only white man in the world who will be nice to him, is really kind of a silly scene. The Sharon character is very well performed, and im sure genre enthusiasts nut over it in general... But its really nothing more than that, a very good female fatale, more or less just like the others. Kubrick very successfully created something convenient, timely, entertaining and forgettable. This makes it seem like I hate the movie, far from it, I just think its probably his worst.
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Pzadvance, I agree entirely with your points concerning Killer’s Kiss striking visuals. As for the gym scenes that appear to be rear projection, maybe I’m giving Kubrick too much credit, but I definitely think this was intentional. It seems to me that Kubrick constantly plays with space in Killer’s Kiss so as to heighten this sense of loneliness and isolation that I’ve been trumpeting in the film. Obviously, there are the two shots of Albert at the gym that give this false sense of the character being separate from the environment. There’s also the beautiful shot of Gloria leaving Rapallo’s office after the fight, crossing a busy street at night, that has the same effect. In both settings, although the characters are amongst other people, they never fully fit in.pzadvance wrote:I had the exact same thought watching it, and I wonder if that wasn't an intentional bit of lighting trickery on Kubrick's part? A pretty interesting effect regardless.hearthesilence wrote:(BTW, I saw this for the first time on Criterion's BD and mistook the first shot of Albert, the fight manager, at the boxing gym as a rear projection. "Wow, this really is low budget - they just used stock footage instead of a set or a location!" Then later on, using the same setup, we see Albert still at the gym, this time standing in the 'background' before moving into the foreground to use the phone - the same position he was in during the earlier shot. The lighting was just different and the focus a bit sharper in the foreground. Anyway, thought that was funny...
There is another sort of optical illusion in the third scene, as Davey restlessly paces around his apartment just before the fight. We at one point in the background see a kitchenette with a standard kitchen knife hanging on the wall. Maybe it’s just me, but the first couple times I watched the film, I was tricked into thinking that this was not a kitchenette jutting into the foreground, but a full size kitchen extending into the background, complete with a large machete hanging on the wall. I don’t have the scene right in front of me, but I believe it’s not until Davey interacts with a cup or some object on the kitchenette that the true scale of the scenery becomes clear. It quite changes ones view of the lead character to believe he is a man who keeps a machete at the ready on his wall rather than an average household knife.
Kubrick reveals this interest in space in yet another way in that same scene. The camera deliberately follows Davey around the apartment, formally showing the viewer all four walls of the environment. The cramped apartment feels like safe refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city and violence of the boxing ring, because Kubrick right away allows the viewer to become well acquainted with the space.
This sort of visual metaphor is introduced in other, more subtle ways, also. Consider that Rapallo’s jealousy is aroused when he first mistakes Gloria and David as a couple. Gloria and David (who don’t yet know each other) both happen to exit the apartment building at the same time and, by chance, walk side-by-side to the street. It’s this invasion of personal space that causes Rapallo to say to Gloria, “You’re doing quite well for yourself,” in reference to Davey. “He just lives in the building,” (quoting from memory) replies Gloria.
Furthermore, consider all the uncomfortably cramped environments in which Kubrick chooses to place his characters: crowded streets, subways, train stations, dance halls, arenas, etc. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both Gloria and David make their living with work that forces them to smash up against strangers (a dancer and a boxer, respectively). You could, of course, also extend this argument into other parts of the film, such as the train station at the opening and closing, the mannequin factory and the "surreally empty NYC" streets, as you put it, psadvance. Maybe I'm reading too much into all of this, but I can't help but feel that most of these elements are part of a purposeful experiment by Kubrick to explore how people move through urban spaces. Or maybe in the first few examples I cited he was just interested in showing off his skills with the camera/lighting and I've over-analyzed everything else. I'm interested to hear what others think.
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I completely agree with all the praise for the interview, but an extra layer of unintentional entertainment comes with the French subtitles, which do a perfectly adequate job of rendering the sense of what he's saying, but miss the flavour by miles.Tribe wrote:The Sterling Hayden interview on this release is superb! Aside from the insight into his career and his regrets about outing commies in Hollywood, he talks just like one of his hard-boiled characters.
For instance, "I didn't know my ass from my elbow" is rendered as "J'y connaissais rien de rien" ("I knew nothing at all"), while "I couldn't sing worth a goddamn" is similarly diluted to "Je ne sais pas chanter" ("I didn't know how to sing"). Clearly, directly literal translations possibly wouldn't have worked either, but I wonder what French audiences made of it?