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 Post subject: Stanley Kubrick
PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 5:25 pm 
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Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999)

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The what must always precede the how. No matter how
carefully you have pre-planned a scene, when you actually
come to the time of shooting, and you have the actors on
the set, having learned their lines, dressed in the right clothes,
and you have the benefit of knowing what you have already
got on film, there is usually some adjustment that has to be
made to the scene in order to achieve the best result.

~ Stanley Kubrick
(from an interview with Michel Ciment in the book Kubrick, 1982)


Filmography

Flying Padre (short, 1951)

Day of the Fight (short, 1951)

Fear and Desire (1953)

The Seafarers (short, 1953)

Killer's Kiss (1955) MGM (R1) / MGM (R2 UK) included in Stanley Kubrick Collection with The Killing and Paths of Glory

The Killing (1956) MGM (R1) / MGM (R2 UK) included in Stanley Kubrick Collection with Killer's Kiss and Paths of Glory

Paths of Glory (1957) MGM (R1) / MGM (R2 UK) included in Stanley Kubrick Collection with Killer's Kiss and The Killing

Spartacus (1960) Criterion (R1) / Universal (R1) / Universal (R2 UK) also included in Historical Epics: Classic Cuts Collection

Lolita (1962) Warner (R1) / Warner (R2 UK) also included in The Stanley Kubrick Collection

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) Columbia (R1) / Columbia (R2 UK) also included in The Stanley Kubrick Collection

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Warner (R1) / Warner (R2 UK) also included in The Stanley Kubrick Collection

A Clockwork Orange (1971) Warner (R1) / Warner (R2 UK) also included in The Stanley Kubrick Collection / Warner (R4 AU)

Barry Lyndon (1975) Warner (R1) / Warner (R2 UK) also included in The Stanley Kubrick Collection

The Shining (1980) Warner (R1) / Warner (R2 UK) also included in The Stanley Kubrick Collection / Warner (R4 AU)

Full Metal Jacket (1987) Warner (R1) / Warner (R2 UK) also included in The Stanley Kubrick Collection

Eyes Wide Shut (1999) Warner (R1) / Warner (R2 UK) also included in The Stanley Kubrick Collection / Warner (R4 AU)


Forum Discussions

2001: A Space Odyssey

Day of the Fight

Dr. Strangelove: 40th Anniversary Edition

Eyes Wide Shut

Freudian based articles on Dr. Strangelove

The Killing

The Kubrick aspect ratio debate

Paths of Glory

Pepsi and Kubrick: The Ultimate Evil

The Seafarers

The Shining

Spartacus

Stanley Kubrick

The Stanley Kubrick Archives

The Stanley Kubrick Collection


Web Resources

Kubrick's Cinema Odyssey by Michael Chion - Lee Hill (Senses of Cinema, 2002)

The Kubrick Corner

Three Interviews with Stanley Kubrick - Michel Ciment (excerpted from Kubrick)

Kubrick Multimedia Film Guide - Patrick J. Larkin

The Kubrick Site - Roderick Munday's massive Kubrick Archive

Lolita: From Nabokov's Novel to Kubrick's Film to Lyne's - Constantine Santas (Senses of Cinema, 2000)

The Old Ultra-Violence - Vincent LoBrutto with David E. Williams (American Cinematographer, 1999)

Quest for Perfection - Ron Magid (American Cinematographer, 1999)

Stanley Kubrick - Keith Uhlich (Senses of Cinema, 2002)

Stanley Kubrick: 1928-1999 - The New York Times Kubrick Page

Stanley Kubrick 1928-99 Resident Phantoms - (Sight and Sound, 1999)

Stanley Kubrick Collection Official Authorized Site - Warner Bros

Strangelove Outtake: Notes from the War Room - Terry Southern (Now Dig This: The Unspeakable Writings of Terry Southern)

A Sword in the Bed - Stephen Pizzello (American Cinematographer, 1999)

Temporal Reconfigurations in Kubrick's 2001 - Colette Balmain (Enculturation, 2000)

Total Eclipse of the Heart: Thinking through Technology - Niall Lucy (Senses of Cinema, 2000)

What They Say About Stanley Kubrick - Peter Bogdanovich (The New York Times Magazine, 1999)


Books

A Cinema of Loneliness - Robert Phillip Kolker (Oxford University Press, 1980)

Kubrick: The Definitive Edition - Michel Ciment (Faber & Faber, 2001)

Filmguide to 2001: A Space Odyssey - Carolyn Geduld (Indiana University Press, 1973)

Kubrick: Inside a Film Artist's Maze - Thomas Allen Nelson (Indiana University Press, 2000)

The Making of Kubrick's 2001 - Jerome Agel, editor (Signet, 1970)

The Making of 2001: A Space Odyssey - Stephanie Schwam, editor (Modern Library, 2000)

The Philosophy of Stanley Kubrick - Jerold J. Abrams, editor (University Press of Kentucky, 2007)

Stanley Kubrick: A Biography - Vincent LoBrutto (Da Capo, 1999)

Stanley Kubrick Kinematograph Nr. 20 (Deutsches Filmmuseum Frankfurt am Main, 2004)

Stanley Kubrick: Interviews - Gene D. Phillips, editor (University Press of Mississippi, 2001)

Stanley Kubrick: A Film Odyssey - Gene D. Phillips (Popular Library, 1975)

Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures - Christiane Kubrick (Bulfinch, 2002)

The Stanley Kubrick Archives - Alison Castle, editor (Taschen, 2005)

The Wolf at the Door: Stanley Kubrick, History, and the Holocaust - Geoffrey Cocks (Peter Lang Publishing, 2004)
_______________________________________________________________________________________


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 5:25 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 4:40 pm
I've been listening to criticisms of Kubrick being cold and overly analytical for years. While not aspects of his work that I actually agree are there (sans Clockwork and Dr. Strangelove, of course), they're generally unsupported and easy to shrug off.

Lately, however, a colleague has been in my ear relentlessly about Kubrick's inflated reputation (of course he contradicts this by suggesting he's not that admired in serioius critical circles, but I digress) ever since I casually mentioned my respect for him. He proclaims his technical bravado calls attention to itself and distracts from the narrative (as opposed to complementing it, which is what I feel it does), and that he's more obsessed with geometry than the language of cinema. Of course the stock criticism that he's detached and stubbornly unsentimental is peppered throughout his arguments, as well.

He does little to support any of his arguments and thus I'm left with little material to counter, so I wanted to ask this forum's members there thoughts, criticisms, and general musings about Kubrick's work, and perhaps I'll gain a better perspective on the entire issue. Of course those that shamelessly adore his work are welcome too.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 7:19 pm 
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Titus wrote:
of course he contradicts this by suggesting he's not that admired in serioius critical circles

This is bogus. Pick up any poll of "serious" critics and look how high Kubrick ranks.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 8:03 pm 
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Kubrick suffers from being one of the first major directors high school kids discover when they're ready to graduate from Michael Bay, and the resulting fanboy effect. Oftentimes I think negative attitudes about his work are coming from negative attitudes about the people who love his work but who otherwise aren't broadly exposed to film. He's judged in part by his status among the average movie-going public as a film god.

And I'm sure some people dislike his work, for whatever reason, and feel they have to attack everyone who likes it because they're in the popular minority. But disliking Kubrick doesn't make one a more refined cineaste than the next guy any more than liking Tarkovsky (or Bay).


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:55 pm 
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I love this film and am of the belief Cruise/Kidman were chosen due to their empty vessel status (and love the discussion of Kubrick using it to take shots at Scientology).


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 10:23 pm 

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The films that are about characters (in part) abound in emotion, it's just not emphasized the way some films are. Barry Lyndon and Paths of Glory are among the most powerful films I've seen. The Shining doesn't neccesarily, but I would fault the substandard performances as much for that as Kubrick (though that blame must be directed at him as well, I suppose).

I think people often confuse the fact that his pictures aren't particularly optimistic and warm with him having little interest in any sort of sentiment, merely using his characters as pawns and nothing more. Outside of a few calculated exceptions, I don't find that the case. I occasionally here people try and suggest Ozu and Bresson are filmmakers that are able to extract emotion with subtlety and without any manipulation, but this is a copout (and a bit of a cheap shot) due to the extremely different nature of the filmmakers.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2005 9:09 am 
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I have always felt that Eyes Wide Shut was Kubrick's warmest, most intimate film. Look at the color scheme of this movie -- the opening party sequence at Victor Ziegler's place, the lights on the staircase as Bill and Alice enter... there is a real warmth to the way this scene is lit. I'd also make the same argument for the scenes shot in the Hartford's apartment. There are some fantastic shots utilizing blue and red lighting in the fore and background as they argue. I also think of the scene where Bill meets Nick Nightingale in the jazz club and the intimate, closed in feeling of that scene. Also, the way characters interact with each other -- especially Bill and Alice are packed with emotion as it is what isn't being said that counts.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2005 10:08 am 

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bunuelian wrote:
Kubrick suffers from being one of the first major directors high school kids discover when they're ready to graduate from Michael Bay, and the resulting fanboy effect. Oftentimes I think negative attitudes about his work are coming from negative attitudes about the people who love his work but who otherwise aren't broadly exposed to film. He's judged in part by his status among the average movie-going public as a film god.

Wish I could find the exact quote, but someone famous once said something like "In spite of the people who like him, Shakespeare is actually quite good." At the present moment this sentiment is probably more true of Kubrick than of Shakespeare. I think disdain for Kubrick's work is widespread now among both the intelligentsia and the aesthetically-challenged. I once heard a 30-year-old woman with pedestrian taste (Charlie's Angels is one of her favorites) tell someone else that one needn't bother with Kubrick, as he made movies that appeal primarily to teenage boys.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2005 11:25 am 

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Barry Lyndon is my personal favorite. I think, along with 2001, it's the picture that showcases his philosophies and views towards cinema and it's potential most perfectly. I think the voice-over contributes to the widespread opinion that it's simply a gorgeous commercial, which is a shame because the ineptitude and pedanticism of the narrator was obviously deliberate on Kubrick's part.

Of course, I'm also a sucker for costume dramas, which contributes to my adoration for the film :)


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:33 pm 
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Titus wrote:
I think the voice-over contributes to the widespread opinion that it's simply a gorgeous commercial, which is a shame because the ineptitude and pedanticism of the narrator was obviously deliberate on Kubrick's part.

No shit. Here I was settling into this long ass movie that I'd heard was something of a downer and instead was knocked out by quite likely the most dryly hysterical film I'll ever see.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 1:46 am 
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When the last post-holocaust cockroach dies, it's last thought will be "Kubrick's cold and distant".

Ignore people who say and write this. Better yet, move away from them and avoid them as if they have Scarlet Fever.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 1:47 pm 
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The Independent has an article about a discarded prologue that was going to accompany his movie (http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/film/news/article321643.ece) that was the summation of a series of interviews he conducted with 21 of the world's top scientists to speculate about their ideas on life in the universe and the impact its discovery would have on us. Apparently, the footage of all those interviews has been lost but someone tracked down the transcripts and it's going to be released in book form next month (http://www.elliottthompson.com/data/forthcoming.htm). 2001 has been my favorite Kubrick film for some time and I for one am excited to check out this book.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 2:19 pm 

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Actually, those transcripts have been printed before. See Jerome Agel's The Making of Kubrick's 2001, used copies of which are available at Amazon. In fact, one guys selling his for $4.75.

What isn't clear is whether this new book will have full transcriptions of all the interviews. I've read Agel's book, and I've always assumed that it was just the stuff that was edited into Kubrick's abandoned prologue. The full interviews might well be an interesting thing.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 4:18 pm 
Big fan of the former president
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The website for the new book seems to indicate that these are the full interviews.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:50 am 
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Just received in the mail today Matthew Modine's new book Full Metal Jacket Diary -- at first glance it does not disappoint as a treasure trove of material about working with Kubrick and his film Full Metal Jacket. The publisher's website and some sample photos in this review.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 1:59 pm 
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God has a hard-on for that book.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:11 pm 
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I just found Variety's 1968 review of 2001. I thought its wrongheadedness would be of interest:

Quote:
2001: A Space Odyssey

Reviewed at Loew's Capitol, N.Y., April 1, '68.

By ROBERT B. FREDERICK

Stanley Kubrick is alive and well and living in Outer Space. Those filmgoers who have wondered what happened to the man who gave screen birth to "Lolita" and "Dr. Strangelove" can stop worrying. He's taken up a new hobby--science-fiction--and his first effort comes close to running away with itself. One criticism that will be raised is that film cost too much for so "personal" (i.e. Kubrick) a film.

When Stanley Kubrick and sci-fi specialist Arthur C. Clarke first conceived the idea of making a Cinerama film, neither had any idea that it would run into a project of several years. Shooting actually began late December, 1965, in England and continued, if one counts added footage and retakes, until early this year. Much of the lengthy shooting time, of course, is attributable to the detailed special effects the story made necessary. Keir Dullea, for instance, completed another film ("The Fox") and did a Broadway play ("Dr Cook's Garden") between completion of his role in "2001" and its current release.

Was all this painstaking research and work worthwhile? There will be many filmgoers, fortunately for Metro, who'll think it was; there'll be others who won't see this in the finished handiwork of Kubrick and his staff. A major achievement in cinematography and special effects, "2001" lacks dramatic appeal to a large degree and only conveys suspense after the halfway mark. Despite the enormous technical staff involved in making the film, it is almost entirely one man's conception and Kubrick must receive all the praise - and take all the blame.

The plot, so-called, uses up almost two hours in exposition of scientific advances in space travel and communications, before anything happens. The surprisingly dull prolog deals with the "advancement of man," centering on a group of apes (the makeup is amateurish compared to that in "Planet of the Apes"). An important prop is also introduced but so sketchily that many viewers will scarcely note, and promptly forget it--a huge black monolith is shown briefly (to reappear light years later as the key to possible life on planets other than Earth).

The little humor is provided by introducing well-known commercial names which are presumably still operational during the space age: the Orbiter Hilton hotel, refreshments by Howard Johnson, picture phones by Bell, and Pan Am space ships (although one shown is carrying only a single passenger). A computer named Hal that can talk is, initially, good for a laugh but when it turns out to be the villain, this attitude quickly changes. Hal (voiced by Douglas Rain, although originally done by Martin Balsam) is one of the film's best effects and surprisingly acceptable, considering reaction to it is based on the use of a voice.

Dullea and Gary Lockwood, as the two principal astronauts, are not introduced until well along in the film. Their complete lack of emotion becomes rather implausible during scenes where they discover, and discuss, the villainy of the computer. Except for William Sylvester, as the scientist who reveals the project to investigate possibility of life on another planet, the other human roles are little more than walkons.

Kubrick and Clarke have kept dialog to a minimum, frequently inserting lengthy passages where everything is told visually. One inside joke is the remark by a femme Russian scientist that her husband is busy elsewhere doing underwater exploration (Clarke's real-life hobby). Scientific advances appear much further along than would seem possible for the 33 intervening years until 2001. The only earth shots shown are interiors transmitted over picture phones or closed-circuit TV but, incongruously, Earth citizens are shown dressed and acting 1968 while the scientists (even in their casual attire) wear stylized space-age garb.

Film ends on a confused note, never really tackling the "other life" situation and evidently leaving interpretation up to the individual viewer. To many this will smack of indecision or hasty scripting. Dullea, after being subjected to a wild celestial ride through a series of galaxies that create a psychedelic effort on both him and the audience, finds himself in a room decorated in a style familiar to Earth although the implication is that he's on Jupiter. After confronting himself in various advance stages of age, he finally succumbs to the power generated by the black monolith (still unexplained) which has reappeared. The ending shot blends a planet with an orb-shaped view of an embryo, possibly suggesting the rebirth of civilization in another universe.

There can be little doubt that the special effects created for "2001" are the equal of any the screen has come up with. A fantastic array of spaceships (close in design to those now in existence which helps credibility) and planetary shots have not only been painstakingly created by production designers Tony Masters, Harry Lange and Ernie Archer, and directed by Kubrick, but Geoffrey Unsworth and John Alcott's beautiful Super Panavision-Metrocolor camerawork covers any suggestion of miniature work (although this must have been considerable).

The Cinerama projection takes a bit of adjusting to, the curved look of tables and other squarish objects being a bit unreal but this passes as one becomes involved in the fantastic settings. The tremendous centrifuge which makes up the principal set (in which the two astronauts live and travel) reportedly cost $750,000 and looks every bit of it, being one of the most unusual sets ever dreamed up for a film.

Ray Lovejoy's editing, generally good, too often holds views to the point of losing interest while other scenes are chopped abruptly, sometimes with no explanation. This suggests some wholesale and rather hasty cutting decisions on the part of Kubrick. The 160-minute running time, still over­long, could be shortened sufficiently by some slicing in the lengthy introduction to make the intermission unnecessary. Music credits were not provided to trade reviewers although screen credits acknowledged such non-space age composers as Johann and Richard Strauss and Aram Khatchaturian.

The commercial future of "2001" will be followed with interest. With an initial print order of 103, Metro evidently intends to follow up its Washington (Tues.) and New York (Wed.) premieres with numerous openings, as suggested by the tremendous promotional campaign on the film already underway.

But "2001" is not a cinematic landmark. It compares with, but does not best, previous efforts at science fiction; lacking the humanity of "Forbidden Planet," the imagination of "Things to Come" and the simplicity of "Of Stars and Men," it actually belongs to the technically-slick group previously dominated by George Pal and the Japanese.


Last edited by Barmy on Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:53 pm 
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Keep in mind the cut they saw was 20 minutes longer than the final version. Editing can sometimes bring the magic.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 12:12 pm 
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I think the Variety review is very good. Unlike most reviews it gives you plot, but also analysis about the film, its meaning and comes to a judgement based on both. I think Kubrick is a good filmmaker and agree with some of the earlier comments, that negative reaction to him is based on his (supposed) fan-base as much as people's own reactions to the films.

There is not much point, in arguing about someone's reputation, because ultimately it isn't directed at the person, but their fans and how can you argue with a multitude of the pre-disposed? So generally, it comes down to a few putdowns directed at both.

In general I like Kubrick's films, especially Paths of Glory, Spartacus, The Shining etc. He has a god like distance from his characters, but their is nothing inherently wrong in this, unless one thinks him some kind of anti-christ. I don't think you can just shrug off this distance or coldness, whatever you want to call it, unless you want to separate words and pictures from their meanings and other sorts of nonsense. I mean you only have to look at how he photographs a scene or directs his actors to see his distance from them. Maybe though, I am seeing the films too much through the accepted criticism of them.

I think one interesting thing about Kubrick, is to look at Dr. Strangelove, 2001 and a Clockwork Orange as a "loose" trilogy. Beginning with the coldwar hysteria of the late 50's-60's to the optimism that until 1968 a re-birth of society was thought possible, concluding with the re-birth that took shape in the 70's Nixon... Vietnam. I wonder if his failed Napolean project would have continued this, but probably you could see Barry Lyndon as surveying the Wasteland of the present from the past instead of the future.

I think Kubrick is a pessimistic filmmaker, his films don't see the world as a place that can be changed without the aid of nuclear war or aliens, which to be condescending, probably explains his appeal to young men. Even if he is right, I reject his view. He is an artist in his detachment, but to accept that detachment or overlook it, is to be content with finding the aesthetic in misery and suffering. I would rather learn to hate the bomb, than love it, but maybe optimism is the same as pessimism?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:25 pm 
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Hmm, I think the Variety reviewer might have been on drugs when he viewed 2001. How else to explain:

Quote:
An important prop is also introduced but so sketchily that many viewers will scarcely note, and promptly forget it--a huge black monolith is shown briefly (to reappear light years later as the key to possible life on planets other than Earth).

How could you possibly "scarcely note" the monolith in the Dawn of Man episode? :shock:


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2005 12:58 pm 

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Yeah it kind of sticks out of the scenery as it were...

Anyway, my thoughts on Kubrick. He's a genius. He's one of the greatest of all-time, and although I agree that his films are often quite cold and calculated to a certain degree, they are nevertheless quite honest and revealing inmho, especially when it comes to human psychology. I think "The Shining" is at once eerily isolated and yet also perversely intimate. "Barry Lyndon" too shows I believe a great deal of affection for its protagonist, no matter how restrained and concealed it may be. "Full Metal Jacket" too has some wonderfully human moments, and neither Joker nor Pyle nor even Animal Mother are reduced to mere caricature as they might have been. Really, I think all of Kubrick's films even "2001", which may be his most emotionally desolate film, have quite human and emotionally resonant moments even if they are few and far between. Kubrick I think tries to veil his, or his film's own compassion and for the most part succeeds just as he did in his own real life succeed at shutting out the intrusive press and general public. If there's any unequivocal indication, however, that Kubrick had some small measure of humanism in his cinema it shows through in the wonderful denouement to "Paths of Glory".


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:00 pm 
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Just went through Kubrick's oeuvre once again and I have to say that I really love Lolita the most. I never thought much of it until now for some reason... it still feels like an undiscovered gem no matter how many times I watch it. I'm probably in the minority anyway.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2005 4:07 pm 
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Recently, I was talking with my film professor. He was at UCLA in the late 50s (with a young film student named Francis Ford Coppola). He was in a film society and had Kubrick and his producer Jim Harris over to talk about their latest film Paths of Glory. Everyone in the society loved the film for there were not (and are still not) that many anti-war films made, especially not in Hollywood. When they were talking with him, Kubrick remarked that it would have been possible for the French to take the Anthill.

This came as a shock to me. I assumed (and I hope I am not alone) that one the theme of the movie was the futility, expressed by the inability to take the Anthill. However, Kubrick seemed very detached from the source material.

When you do look at his work, there is a certain sense of detachment with the story. For example, The Shining often times does turn into a "look what I can do with a Steadicam" exercise. However, I do enjoy many of his films (Paths of Glory, Dr. Strangelove, 2001, A Clockwork Orange are masterpieces and The Killing, Lolita, and Full Metal Jacket are great films as well). Even Kubrick somewhat admitted he was not great at content, as he never did an original story after Killer's Kiss.

Was Kubrick a great filmmaker? Yes. However, I do not think that filmmakers should try to follow in his foot steps. Make films you believe in, not because you can make it look cool.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:55 pm 
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I don't get the impression of detachment from the story when watch the films (except possibly with 2001, which does not have a story in the conventional sense, and with Clockwork Orange). From everything I've read and seen on Kubrick, he felt a very consistent connection to the material with which he worked.
As for the issue of whether it may have been possible to take the anthill, I don't think that impacts the question of the futility of the war or war in general. In World War I, millions died for imperialism and few really understood how it had all come about. For several years the fronts were for all practical purposes stationary. They would continually move small distances back and forth as each side in turn took the upper hand in a particular battle. Thus, even if it had been possible to move one of the battle lines ahead maybe 50 yards, probably only temporarily, the slaughter depicted in the film was nothing if not futile.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 10:12 am 

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pzman84 wrote:
Make films you believe in, not because you can make it look cool.

I don't know how anyone can suggest that Kubrick just made films because he was good at creating striking imagery. He had a mastery of many stylistic aspects of the art, and to boot his films all have wonderful levels of complexity. To me, Kubrick is the most economical filmmaker in all of cinema history. He never wasted a shot, and at no point did he hold a frame or a beat so long as to be self-indulgent. Compare for example Tarantino's ridiculously self-indulgent dolly shot through the teahouse in "Kill Bill" to any of Kubrick's long tracking shots such as those in "The Shining". At no point does Kubrick hold the shot longer than he has to. Every movement of the camera begins somewhere and takes us to a new place, both in terms of narrative and depth.


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