Stanley Kubrick

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Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick - WB promo.jpg
Kubrick in 1971
Born (1928-07-26)July 26, 1928
The Bronx, New York City, U.S
Died March 7, 1999(1999-03-07) (aged 70)
St Albans, Hertfordshire, England
Cause of death
Heart attack
Occupation Film director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor
Years active 1951–1999
Spouse(s) Toba Etta Metz (1948–51; divorced)
Ruth Sobotka (1954–57; divorced)
Christiane Harlan (1958–99; his death)
Signature Stanley Kubrick Signature.png

Stanley Kubrick (/ˈkbrɪk/; July 26, 1928 – March 7, 1999) was an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and editor who did much of his work in the United Kingdom. Part of the New Hollywood film-making wave, he is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential directors of all time. His films, typically adaptations of novels or short stories, are noted for their "dazzling"[1] and unique cinematography, attention to detail in the service of realism, and the evocative use of music. Kubrick's films covered a variety of genres, including war, crime, literary adaptations, romantic and black comedies, horror, epic, and science fiction. Kubrick was also noted for being a demanding perfectionist, using painstaking care with scene staging, camera-work and coordinating extremely closely both with his actors and his behind-scenes collaborators.

Starting out as a photographer in New York City, he taught himself all aspects of film production and directing after graduating from high school. His earliest films were made on a shoestring budget, followed by one Hollywood blockbuster, Spartacus, after which he spent most of the rest of his career living and filming in the United Kingdom. His home at Childwickbury Manor in Hertfordshire (north of and near to London) became his workplace where he did his writing, research, editing and management of production details. This allowed him to have almost complete artistic control, but with the rare advantage of having financial support from major Hollywood studios.

Many of his films broke new ground in cinematography, including 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), a science-fiction film which director Steven Spielberg called his generation's "big bang", with innovative visual effects and scientific realism. For Barry Lyndon (1975), Kubrick obtained lenses developed by Zeiss for NASA in order to film scenes under natural candlelight and The Shining (1980) was among the first feature films to make use of a Steadicam for stabilized and fluid tracking shots. As with his earlier shorts, Kubrick was the cinematographer and editor on the first two of his thirteen feature films. He directed, produced and wrote all or part of the screenplays for nearly all his films.

While some of Kubrick's films were controversial and originally received mixed reviews, such as Paths of Glory (1957), Lolita (1962), and A Clockwork Orange (1971), most of his films were nominated for Oscars, Golden Globes or BAFTAs. Film historian Michel Ciment considers his films to be "among the most important contributions to world cinema in the twentieth century".

Early life[edit]

Kubrick as an infant with his father, Jack

Stanley Kubrick was born on July 26, 1928, in Lying-In Hospital at 307 2nd Avenue in The Bronx, New York City, the first of two children of Jacob Leonard Kubrick (May 21, 1902 – October 19, 1985), known as Jack or Jacques, and his wife Sadie Gertrude Kubrick (née Perveler; October 28, 1903 – April 23, 1985), known as Gert, both of whom were Jewish. His sister, Barbara Mary Kubrick, was born in May 1934.[2] Jack Kubrick, whose parents and paternal grandparents were of Polish, Austrian, and Romanian origin, was a doctor,[3] graduating from the New York Homeopathic Medical College in 1927, the same year he married Kubrick's mother, the child of Austrian immigrants.[4] Kubrick's great-grandfather, Hersh Kubrick (also spelled 'Kubrik' or 'Kubrike'), arrived at Ellis Island via Liverpool by ship on 27 December 1899 at the age of 47, leaving behind his wife and two grown-up children, one of whom being Stanley's grandfather Elias, to start a new life with a younger woman.[5] Elias Kubrick followed in 1902. [6] At Stanley's birth, the Kubricks lived in an apartment at 2160 Clinton Avenue in the Bronx.[7] Kubrick did not have a religious upbringing, although his parents had been married in a Jewish ceremony.[8] By the district standards of the West Bronx, the family were fairly wealthy, his father earning a good income from his work as a physician.[9]

Soon after the birth of his sister, Kubrick began schooling in Public School 3 in The Bronx, and moved to Public School 90 in June 1938. Although his IQ was discovered to be above average, his attendance was poor, and he missed 56 days in his first term alone, as many as he attended.[10] He displayed an interest in literature from a young age, and began reading Greek and Roman myths and the fables of the Grimm brothers which "instilled in him a lifelong affinity with Europe".[11] He spent most Saturdays during the summer months watching the New York Yankees, and would later photograph two boys watching the game in an assignment for Look magazine to emulate his own childhood excitement with baseball.[9] When Kubrick was twelve, his father taught him chess. The game remained a lifelong obsession and appeared in many scenes in his films. Kubrick explained that chess helped him develop "patience and discipline" in making decisions.[12] At the age of thirteen, Kubrick's father bought him a Graflex camera, triggering a fascination with still photography. He became friends with a neighbour, Marvin Taub, who shared his passion for photography. Taub had his own darkroom where he and the young Kubrick would spend many hours perusing over photographs and watching the chemicals "magically make images on photographic paper".[2] The two would indulge in many photographic "assignments", crawling the streets looking for interesting subjects to capture, and would also spend much time in local cinemas studying films. Freelance photographer Weegee (Arthur Fellig) was a considerable influence on the young Kubrick in his development as a photographer; he would later hire Fellig as the special stills photographer for Dr Strangelove.[13] As a teenager, Kubrick was also interested in jazz, and briefly attempted a career as a drummer,[14] and according to his English teacher, he was interested in literature from an early age.[15]

Kubrick attended William Howard Taft High School from 1941 to 1945 (one of his classmates was Edith Gormezano, later known as the singer Eydie Gorme).[16] He joined the school's photographic club which permitted him to photograph the school's events in their magazine,[2] although he was a poor student, with a meager 67 grade average.[17] Introverted and shy, Kubrick had a poor attendance record, and often skipped school to watch double-feature films.[18] He graduated in 1945, but his poor grades, combined with the demand for college admissions from soldiers returning from the Second World War, eliminated hope of higher education. His father was disappointed in his failure to achieve excellence in school, of which he felt Stanley fully capable. He encouraged him to read from his library at home while, at the same time, permitting him to take up photography as a serious hobby.[8] Later in life, Kubrick spoke disdainfully of his education and of education in general, maintaining that nothing about school interested him. His parents sent him to live with relatives for a year in Los Angeles in the hopes that it would help his academic growth.

Photographic career[edit]

Kubrick with showgirl Rosemary Williams in 1949

While still in high school, he was chosen as an official school photographer for a year. In 1946, since he was not able to gain admission to day session classes at colleges, he briefly attended evening classes at the City College of New York (CCNY).[19] Eventually, he sought jobs as a freelance photographer, and by graduation, he had sold a photographic series to Look magazine, having taken a photo to Helen O'Brian, head of the photographic department of Look, who purchased it without hesitation for £25 on the spot.[20] It was printed on 26 June 1945. Kubrick supplemented his income by playing chess "for quarters" in Washington Square Park and various Manhattan chess clubs.[21]

Kubrick photo of Chicago taken as photographer for Look magazine, 1949

In 1946, he became an apprentice photographer for Look and later a full-time staff photographer. Kubrick became known for his story-telling in photographs from the beginning through mini photo stories. His first, published on 16 April 1946 was entitled "A Short Story from a Movie Balcony" and staged a fracas between a man and a woman, who the man was making advances upon in the cinema. Kubrick, friends with both of the subjects, gave each of them separate orders, and the shock of the man is captured in one of the four photographs after he is slapped by the woman in the face, caught genuinely by surprise.[20] In 1948 he was sent to Portugal to document a travel piece, and covered a circus act in Sarasota, Florida.[22] Kubrick, a boxing enthusiast, eventually began photographing boxing matches for the magazine. His earliest, "Prizefighter", was published on 18 January 1949 and captured a boxing match and the events leading up to it, featuring Walter Cartier. On 2 April 1949 he published a photo essay, named "Chicago-City of Extremes" in Look, which displayed his talent early on for creating atmosphere with imagery, including a photograph (pictured) taken above a congested Chicago street at night. The following year, on 18 July 1950, the magazine published his photo essay, "Working Debutante - Betsy von Furstenberg", which featured a Pablo Picasso portrait of Angel F. de Soto in the background.[23]

During his Look magazine years, Kubrick married his high-school sweetheart Toba Metz on 28 May 1948. They lived together in a small apartment at 36 West 16th Street, off 6th Avenue in Greenwich Village.[24] During this time, Kubrick began frequenting film screenings at the Museum of Modern Art and the cinemas of New York City. He was inspired by the complex, fluid camerawork of the director Max Ophüls, whose films influenced Kubrick's later visual style, and by the director Elia Kazan, whom he described as America's "best director" at that time, with his ability of "performing miracles" with his actors.[25] Friends began to notice that Kubrick had become obsessed with the art of filmmaking—one friend, David Vaughn, observed that Kubrick would scrutinize the film at the cinema when it went silent, and would go back to reading his paper when people started talking.[20] He also spent many hours reading books on film theory and writing down notes. He was particularly fascinated with Sergei Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky and played the Prokofiev soundtrack to the film over and over constantly to the point that his sister broke it in fury.[26]

Film career[edit]

Short films[edit]

Kubrick at the age of 21

Kubrick shared a love of film with a school pal Alexander Singer, who after graduating from high school had the intention of directing a film version of Homer's The Iliad. It was through Singer that Kubrick learned that it could cost $40,000 to make a proper short film, money he could not afford, but he had $1500 in savings and managed to produce a few short documentaries fueled by encouragement from Singer, who worked in the offices of the newsreel production company, The March of Time.[26] He began learning all he could about filmmaking on his own, calling film suppliers, laboratories, and equipment rental houses.

Kubrick decided to make a short film documentary about a boxer, the same one he wrote a story about for Look a year earlier. He decided to contact Vincent Cartier, the brother and manager of his earlier boxing subject, Walter Cartier, with the plan of filming him during the day of a bout. He rented a camera and produced a 16-minute black-and-white documentary, Day of the Fight. Kubrick found the money independently to finance it. According to Paul Duncan the film was "remarkably accomplished for a first film", and was notable for using the reverse tracking shot to film a scene in which the brothers walk towards the camera, a device later to become one of Kubrick's characteristic camera movements.[27] Vincent later reflected on his observations of Kubrick during the filming, "Stanley was very stoic, impassive but imaginative type person with strong, imaginative thoughts. He commanded respect in a quiet, shy way. Whatever he wanted, you complied, he just captivated you. Anybody who worked with Stanley did just what Stanley wanted".[26] After a score was added by Singer's friend Gerald Fried, Kubrick had spent $3900 in making it, and sold it to RKO-Pathé for $4000, which was the most the company had ever paid for a short film at the time.[27] Kubrick described his first effort at filmmaking as having been valuable as he believed himself to have been forced to do most of the work,[28] and later declared that the "best education in film is to make one".[2]

Inspired by this early success, Kubrick quit his job at Look and visited professional filmmakers in New York City, asking many detailed questions on the technical aspects of film-making. He stated that he was given confidence during this period to become a filmmaker because of the number of lousy films which he had seen, remarking that "I don't know a goddamn thing about movies, but I know I can make a better film than that".[29] He began making Flying Padre (1951), a film which documents Reverend Fred Stadtmueller who travels some 4,000 miles to visit his eleven churches. The film was originally going to be called "Sky Pilot", a pun on the slang term for a priest.[30] During the course of the film he performs a burial service, confronts a boy bullying a girl, and makes an emergency flight to aid a sick mother and baby into an ambulance. Several of the views from and of the plane in Flying Padre are later echoed in 2001:A Space Odyssey in the footage of the spacecraft, and a series of close-ups of faces at the funeral in the film are clearly inspired by Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin and Ivan the Terrible.[27]

Flying Padre was followed by The Seafarers (1953), Kubrick's first color film, which was shot for the Seafarers International Union in June 1953. There are shots of ships, machinery, a canteen, and a union meeting. For the cafeteria scene in the film, Kubrick chose a long, sideways-shooting dolly shot to establish the life of the seafarer's community; this shot is an early demonstration of a signature technique that Kubrick would use in his feature films. The montage of speaker and audience echoes scenes from Eisenstein's Strike and October.[31] Day of the Fight, Flying Padre and The Seafarers constitute Kubrick's only surviving documentary works, although some historians believe he made others.[32] He also served as second unit director on an episode of the TV show, Omnibus, about Abraham Lincoln, clips of which are included in the documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001).

Early feature work[edit]

After raising $1000 showing his short films to friends and family, Kubrick found the finances to begin making his first feature film, Fear and Desire (1953), originally running with the title The Trap, written by his friend Howard Sackler. Kubrick's uncle, Martin Perveler, a Los Angeles businessman, invested a further $9000 on condition that he be credited as executive producer of the film.[33] Kubrick assembled several actors and a small crew totaling fourteen people (five actors, five crewman and four Mexicans to help transport the equipment) and flew to the San Gabriel Mountains in California for a five-week low-budget shoot.[33] Later renamed The Shape of Fear before finally being named Fear and Desire, it is an allegorical tale about a team of soldiers who survive a plane crash and are caught behind enemy lines in a fictional war. During the course of the film one of the soldiers becomes enchanted with a beautiful girl in the woods and binds her to a tree, noted for its close-ups of the face of the actress. To reduce production costs, Kubrick had intended to make it a silent picture, but in the end the adding of sounds, effects and music brought the production over-budget to around $53,000,[34] and had to be bailed out by producer Richard de Rochemont, on condition that he help in his production of a five-part television series about Abraham Lincoln on location in Hodgenville, Kentucky.[35] Upon release, Fear and Desire garnered some respectable reviews but was still a commercial failure. Critics such as the reviewer from The New York Times believed that Kubrick's professionalism as a photographer shone through in the picture, and that he "artistically caught glimpses of the grotesque attitudes of death, the wolfishness of hungry men as well as their bestiality, and in one scene, the wracking effect of lust on a pitifully juvenile soldier and the pinioned girl he is guarding". Columbia University scholar Mark Van Doren was particularly impressed with the tree girl footage, remarking that it would make movie history as a "beautiful, terrifying and weird" scene which illustrated Kubrick's immense talent and guaranteed his future success.[36] Kubrick, however, was later embarrassed by his amateur effort and tried to keep it out of circulation.[37] He called it a "bumbling, amateur film exercise ... a completely inept oddity, boring and pretentious", and also referred to it as "a lousy feature, very self-conscious, easily discernible as an intellectual effort, but very roughly, and poorly, and ineffectively made".[36]

Following Fear and Desire, Kubrick began working on ideas for a new boxing film. Due to the commercial failure of his first feature, Kubrick avoided asking for further investments, but began working on a film noir script with Howard O. Sackler. Originally under the title Kiss Me, Kill Me, and then The Nymph and the Maniac, Killer's Kiss (1955) is a 67-minute film noir film about a young heavyweight boxer's involvement with a woman being abused by her criminal boss. Like Fear and Desire, it was privately funded by Kubrick's family and friends, with some $40,000 put forward from Bronx pharmacist Morris Bousse.[31] Kubrick began shooting footage on Times Square, and frequently explored during the filming process, discovering new angles and ways to generate imagery, and experimenting with lighting. He initially decided on recording the sound on location but encountered difficulties with shadows from the microphone booms, restricting camera movement. His decision to drop the sound in favor of imagery was a costly one; and 12–14 weeks shooting the picture, he spent some seven months and $35,000 working on the sound.[38] Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail (1929) directly influenced the film with the painting laughing at a character, and Scorsese has in turn cited Kubrick's innovative shooting angles and atmospheric shots in Killer's Kiss as an influence on Raging Bull (1980).[39] Actress Irene Kane, the star of the film, observed: "Stanley's a fascinating character. He thinks movies should move, with a minimum of dialogue, and he's all for sex and sadism".[40] The film met with limited commercial success and barely made any money over the $75,000 that United Artists had paid for it.[39] The acting is considered by critics to be mediocre, and the plot a weak one, lacking originality,[41] a mistake that Kubrick never made again.[39] Despite this, the film historian Alexander Walker considers the film to be "oddly compelling".[42]

Hollywood success[edit]

Sterling Hayden whom Kubrick had seen in The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

While playing chess on Washington Square, Kubrick met producer James B. Harris, who was looking for a young new talent to produce for, having sold his film distribution company. Harris considered Kubrick to be "the most intelligent, most creative person I have ever come in contact with", and the two formed the Harris-Kubrick Pictures Corporation in 1955.[43] Harris purchased the rights to Lionel White novel Clean Break for $10,000, beating United Artists who were interested in the film as the next picture for Frank Sinatra, and who eventually settled for financing $200,000 towards the production.[44] Upon Kubrick's suggestion, they hired film noir novelist Jim Thompson to write the script for the film which would become The Killing (1956), about a meticulously planned racetrack robbery gone wrong, starring Sterling Hayden, whom Kubrick had been impressed with in The Asphalt Jungle (1950).[45] Kubrick and Harris moved to L.A. from New York and signed with the Jaffe Agency to shoot the picture which became Kubrick's first full-length feature film shot with a professional cast and crew. The Union in Hollywood stated that Kubrick would not be permitted to be both the director and cinematographer of the movie, so veteran cinematographer Lucien Ballard was hired for the shooting. The two men clashed during the shooting, and on one occasion Kubrick threatened to fire Ballard following a camera dispute, despite only being 27 years old at the time.[45] Hayden recalled that Kubrick was "cold and detached. Very mechanical, always confident. I've worked with few directors who are that good".[46] The Killing failed to secure a proper release across the United States, and it was only at the last minute that it was promoted as a second feature to Bandido! (1956), and failed to make money. Several critics, however, did notice the film, with the reviewer from Time comparing Kubrick's work to Orson Welles, and likening Kubrick's camera work to the "keen eye of a terrier stalking a pack of rats".[47][48] Kubrick was delighted to learn that a handful of critics compared his work to Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon (1950).[49] The film's non-linear narrative had a major influence on later directors, including Quentin Tarantino, and many contemporary critics regard this film as one of his best. Although Kubrick and Harris had thought that the positive reception from critics had made their presence known in Hollywood, Max Youngstein of United Artists still considered them to be "Not far from the bottom" of the pool of new talent at the time,[50] but Dore Schary of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was impressed with the film, and offered the duo $75,000 to write, direct and produce a film, which became Paths of Glory (1957).[50]

Kubrick's next film, Paths of Glory (1957), set during World War I, is based on Humphrey Cobb's 1935 antiwar novel, which Kubrick had read while waiting in his father's office. Schary of MGM was familiar with the novel but stated that the company would not finance another war picture after having just done the anti-war film, The Red Badge of Courage (1951). They agreed to work on Stefan Zweig's The Burning Secret, and Kubrick and novelist Calder Willingham began working on a script. However, Kubrick refused to forget the idea of making Paths of Glory, and secretly began drafting a script at night with Jim Thomson.[51] After Schary was fired by MGM in a major shake-up, Kubrick and Harris managed to interest Kirk Douglas in playing Colonel Dax. Douglas informed United Artists that he would not do The Vikings (1958) unless they agreed to make Paths of Glory and pay $850,000 to make it. Kubrick and Harris signed a five-film deal with Douglas's Bryna Productions and accepted a fee of $20,000 and a percentage of the profits in comparison to Douglas's salary of $350,000.[52] Production for the film moved to Munich, Germany in January 1957. It follows a French army unit ordered on an impossible mission, and follows with a war trial of Colonel Dax and his men for misconduct. For the battle scene, Kubrick meticulously lined up six cameras after one another along the boundary of no man's land, with each camera capturing a specific field and numbered, and gave each of the hundreds of extras a number for the zone in which they would die in.[53] Kubrick himself operated an Arriflex camera for the battle, zooming in on Douglas. Actor Adolphe Menjou found Kubrick to be extremely demanding during the filming, and grew angry after he was asked repeatedly to do the same scene 17 times.[54] Nonetheless, upon release, the film was his first significant commercial success, and established Kubrick as an up-and-coming young filmmaker. Critics praised the film's unsentimental, spare, and unvarnished combat scenes and its raw, black-and-white cinematography. Bosley Crowther of The New York Times wrote: "The close, hard eye of Mr Kubrick's sullen camera bores directly into the minds of scheming men and into the hearts of patient, frightened soldiers who have to accept orders to die", and Gavin Lambert of Sight and Sound believed that the film profoundly illustrated "the gulf between leaders and led fatally widened by the fact of war" and the "extended struggle for power, internal and external."[55] However, the Christmas release date was criticised,[56] and the subject was a controversial one in Europe; it was banned in France until 1974 for its "unflattering" depiction of the French military and censored by the Swiss Army until 1970.[55][57]

Marlon Brando rang up Kubrick, asking him to direct a film adaption of the Charles Neider western novel, The Authentic Death of Hendry Jones, featuring Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.[a] Brando was highly impressed with the director, remarking that "Stanley is unusually perceptive, and delicately attuned to people. He has an adroit intellect, and is a creative thinker—not a repeater, not a fact-gatherer. He digests what he learns and brings to a new project an original point of view and a reserved passion".[59] The two worked on a script for six months, begun by a then unknown Sam Peckinpah. Many disputes broke out over the project and in the end Kubrick distanced himself from what would become One-Eyed Jacks (1961). According to biographer John Baxter, Kubrick was furious with Brando's casting of France Nuyen, and when Kubrick had confessed to still "not knowing what the picture was about", Brando snapped "I'll tell you what it's about. It's about $300,000 that I've already paid Karl Malden".[60] Kubrick was then reported to have been fired and accepted a parting fee of $100,000,[59][61] although a 1960 Entertainment Weekly article claims he quit as director, and that Kubrick had been quoted as saying "Brando wanted to direct the movie."[62]

Kubrick directing Woody Strode and Kirk Douglas in the gladiator ring for Spartacus

In February 1959, Kubrick received a phone call from Kirk Douglas asking him to direct Spartacus (1960), based on the true life story of the historical figure and the events of the Third Servile War. Douglas had acquired the rights to the novel by Howard Fast and blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo began penning the script.[63] It was produced by Douglas, who also starred as rebellious slave Spartacus, and Laurence Olivier as his foe, the Roman general and politician Marcus Licinius Crassus. Douglas hired Kubrick for a reported fee of $150,000 to take over direction soon after he fired director Anthony Mann.[64] Kubrick had, at 31, already directed four feature films, and this became his largest by far, with a cast of over 10,000 and large budget of $6 million.[b][63] At the time this was the most expensive film ever made in America, and by the time the film was made, at 32 Kubrick become the youngest director in Hollywood history to helm on epic.[66] It was the first time that Kubrick filmed using anamorphic 35mm horizontal Super Technirama process to achieve ultra-high definition, which allowed him to capture large panoramic scenes, including one with 8,000 trained soldiers from Spain representing the Roman army.[c] Disputes broke out during the filming. Stills cameraman William Read Woodfield questioned the casting and acting abilities of some of the actors such as Timothy Carey,[68] and cinematographer Russell Metty disagreed with Kubrick's use of light, threatening to quit, but later muted his criticisms after winning the Oscar for Best Cinematography. [69] Kubrick wanted to shoot at a slow pace of two camera set-ups a day, but the studio insisted that he do 32; a compromise of eight had to be made.[70] Conflicts with Douglas also broke out over the screenplay, and Kubrick angered Douglas when he cut all but two of his lines from the opening 30 minutes.[71] Kubrick complained about not having full creative control over the artistic aspects, insisting on improvising extensively during the production.[72] Despite the on-set troubles, Spartacus was a critical and commercial success, earning $14.6 at the box office in its first run.[72] It established Kubrick as a major director; he received six Academy Award nominations and winning four, and ultimately convinced him that if so much could be made of such a problematic production, he could achieve anything.[73] Spartacus marked the end of the working relationship between Kubrick and Douglas.[d]

Collaboration with Peter Sellers[edit]

Sue Lyon, playing the role of Dolores "Lolita" Haze in Lolita

In 1962, Kubrick and Harris made the decision to film Lolita in England, due to clauses placed on the contract by Warner Brothers that gave them complete control over every aspect of the film, and the fact that the Eady plan permitted producers to write off the costs if 80% of the crew were English. Instead, they signed a $1 million deal with Eliot Hyman's Associated Artists, and a clause which gave them the artistic freedom that they desired.[75] Lolita, Kubrick's first attempt at black comedy, was an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Vladimir Nabokov, the story of a middle-aged college professor becoming infatuated with a 12-year-old girl. Stylistically, Lolita, starring Peter Sellers, James Mason, Shelley Winters, and Sue Lyon, was a transitional film for Kubrick, "marking the turning point from a naturalistic cinema ... to the surrealism of the later films", according to film critic Gene Youngblood.[76] Kubrick was deeply impressed by the chameleon-like range of actor Peter Sellers and gave him one of his first opportunities to wildly improvise during shooting while filming him with three cameras.[77] The two got on famously during production, displaying many similarities; both left school prematurely, played jazz drums, and shared a fascination with photography.[78] Sellers would later claim that "Kubrick is a god as far as I'm concerned".[79] Kubrick also gave the young Sue Lyon, playing Lolita, the opportunity to improvise, and as a result she made a "considerable contribution to many of the scenes".[80]

Lolita was shot over 88 days on a budget of $2 million at Elstree Studios, between October 1960 and March 1961.[81][82] It was Kubrick's first film to generate controversy because of its provocative story, even though he was forced to remove much of the erotic element of the relationship between Mason's Humbert and Lyon's Lolita which had been evident in the novel, to comply with the censors.[80] [83] Social historian Stephen E. Kercher, wrote that the film "demonstrated that its director possessed a keen, satiric insight into the social landscape and sexual hang-ups of cold war America". The film was not a major critical or commercial success, earning $3.7 million at the box office on its opening run,[81] but Kubrick and Harris had proved that they could adapt a highly controversial novel without interference from a studio and the moderate earnings allowed them to set up companies in Switzerland to take advantage of low taxes on their profits and give them financial security for life.[81]

Peter Sellers as President Merkin Muffley

Kubrick's next project was Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), another satirical black comedy. Because Kubrick came of age after World War II and the beginning of the Cold War period, he, like many others, was worried about the possibilities of nuclear war. He became preoccupied with it in the late 1950s, fearing that New York, where he lived, could be a likely target, and even considered moving to Australia, particularly Sydney or Melbourne. The novel Red Alert was recommended to Kubrick, and after reading it he saw in it the makings of a good film story about nuclear war. Before writing the screenplay as a satire, Kubrick studied over forty military and political research books and eventually reached the conclusion that "nobody really knew anything and the whole situation was absurd",[84] deciding that a "serious treatment" of the subject would not be believable, and that some of his most salient points would be fodder for comedy.[85] Kubrick hired noted black comedy and satirical writer Terry Southern to transform Red Alert into "an outrageous black comedy", loaded with sexual innuendo. [86] Peter Sellers agreed to play four roles in the film; "an RAF captain on secondment to Burpelson Air Force Base as adjutant to Sterling Hayden's crazed General Ripper; the inept President of the United States; his sinister German security adviser; and the Texan pilot of the rogue B52 bomber".[87]

Kubrick found that Dr. Strangelove would be impossible to make in the U.S. for various technical and political reasons, forcing him to move production to England, where it was shot in some 15 weeks, ending in April 1963, after which Kubrick spent eight months editing.[88] Dr. Strangelove, a $2 million production,[89] employed what became the "first important visual effects crew in the world",[90] and the War Room set created for the film by Ken Adam was considered by Steven Spielberg to be the greatest set that Adam had ever designed.[91] A custard pie scene was actually shot in the room over one week, striking down President Muffley, but in end Kubrick thought it was too farcical and inconsistent with the dark humour of the picture.[88] Upon release, the film stirred up much controversy and mixed opinions. Although Time, the Nation, Newsweek and Life, among many, gave it "positive, often ecstatic reviews", New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther worried that it was a "discredit and even contempt for our whole defense establishment ... the most shattering sick joke I've ever come across".[92] Robert Brustein of Out of This World in a February 1970 article called it a "Juvenalian satire that releases through comic poetry, those feelings of impotence and frustration that are consuming us all".[88] Kubrick stated that "A satirist is someone who has a very skeptical view of human nature, but who still has the optimism to make some sort of a joke out of it. However brutal that joke might be".[93]

An innovative, ground-breaking filmmaker[edit]

A model of the bedroom which appeared at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey
Orion III spaceplane model

Kubrick spent five years developing his next film, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), having been highly impressed with science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke's novel Childhood's End, about a superior race of alien beings who assist mankind in eliminating their old selves. After meeting him in New York City in April 1964, Kubrick made the suggestion to work on Clarke's 1948 short story The Sentinel, about a tetrahedron which is found on the Moon which alerts aliens of mankind.[94][95] That year, Clarke began writing the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the screenplay was written by Kubrick and Clarke in collaboration. The film's theme, the birthing of one intelligence by another, is developed in two parallel intersecting stories on two very different times scales. One depicts transitions between various stages of man, from ape to "star child", as man is reborn into a new existence, each step shepherded by an enigmatic alien intelligence seen only in its artifacts: a series of seemingly indestructible eons-old black monoliths. It also depicts human interaction with our own more directly created and controlled offspring intelligence. In space, the enemy is a supercomputer known as HAL who runs the spaceship, a character which novelist Clancy Sigal described as being "far, far more human, more humorous and conceivably decent than anything else that may emerge from this far-seeing enterprise".[96][e]

Kubrick spent a great deal of time researching the film, paying particular attention to accuracy and detail in what the future may look like, and was given permission by NASA to observe the spacecraft being used in the Ranger 9 mission for accuracy.[98] Filming commenced on 29 December 1965 with the excavation of the monolith on the moon,[99] and footage was shot in Namib desert in early 1967, with the ape scenes completed in the summer of that year. The special effects team continued working diligently until the end of the year to complete the film, taking the cost to $10.5 million.[99] 2001: A Space Odyssey was conceived as a Cinerama spectacle and was photographed in Super Panavision 70, giving the viewer a "dazzling mix of imagination and science" through ground-breaking effects, which earned Kubrick his only personal Oscar, an Academy Award for Visual Effects.[99][f] One of the scenes is so striking in film in which the viewer moves through space, with a vibrant mix of lighting, color and patterns, that Louise Sweeney of the Christian Science Monitor called the film the "ultimate trip". Its association with psychedelia further derives from the fact that this label later featured prominently in several posters advertising the film, though Kubrick had repudiated claims that he used LSD himself.[101]

Ape suit from 2001: A Space Odyssey

Upon release in 1968, 2001: A Space Odyssey was not an immediate hit among many critics, who faulted its lack of dialogue, slow pacing, and seemingly impenetrable storyline. [102] The film appeared to defy genre convention, much unlike any science-fiction movie before it, and clearly different from any of Kubrick's earlier films or stories.[103] Charles Champlin of The Los Angeles Times found the ending of the film to be "deliberate obscurantism", and Renata Adler of The New York Times, like a number of others, felt that the intellectual content of the film didn't match its effects. She wrote: "The movie is so completely absorbed in its own problems. Its use of color and space, its fanatical devotion to science-fiction detail, that is somewhere between hypnotic and immensely boring".[104] Despite the initial poor critical response, 2001: A Space Odyssey gradually gained popularity and earned $31 million worldwide by the end of 1972.[99] Today it is widely considered amongst the greatest and most influential films ever made, and is a staple on All Time Top 10 lists.[105][106] Baxter describes the film as "one of the most admired and discussed creations in the history of cinema",[107] and Steven Spielberg has referred to it as "the big bang of his film making generation".[108]

A Clockwork Orange star Malcolm McDowell in the 1970s

After completing 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick searched for a project that he could film quickly on a small budget. He settled on A Clockwork Orange (1971) at the end of 1969, an exploration of violence and experimental rehabilitation by law enforcement authorities, based around the character of Alex (portrayed by Malcolm McDowell). Kubrick had originally received a copy of Anthony Burgess's novel of the same name from Terry Southern while they were working on Dr. Strangelove, but had rejected it on the grounds that Nadsat,[g] a street language for young teenagers, was too difficult to comprehend. In 1969, the decision to make a film about the degeneration of youth was a more timely one; the New Hollywood movement was witnessing a great number of films centering around the sexuality and rebelliousness of young people, which no doubt influenced Kubrick in Baxter's opinion.[109]

A Clockwork Orange was shot over the winter of 1970-1 on a budget of £2 million.[110] Kubrick abandoned his use of CinemaScope in the filming, deciding that the 1:66:1 widescreen format was, in the words of Baxter, an "acceptable compromise between spectacle and intimacy", and "favoured his rigorously symmetrical framing", which "increased the beauty of his compositions".[111] The film heavily features "pop erotica" of the period; the house of one of the victims of the droogs, the exercise instructor Cat Lady, is full of erotic statuary and paintings, including a giant white plastic set of male genitals. Kubrick informed Ciment that the erotic decor used in the film was intended to give it a "slightly futuristic" look, the assumption being that "erotic art will eventually become popular art".[112] Whereas the novel had depicted the "droogs" (friends) in Alex's gang as "teenage juvenile delinquents who squash pets, smash windows and seduce pimply teenage girls", Kubrick wanted Alex and his gang in the film to function more as young adults, whose victims are also adults; McDowell, aged 28 at the time, was almost twice the age of the Alex in the novel. McDowell's role in Lindsay Anderson's if.... (1968) was crucial to his casting as Alex, as Kubrick had been impressed with his ability to "shift from schoolboy innocence to insolence and, if needed, violence".[113] So central was McDowell to the film and his vision, that Kubrick professed that he probably wouldn't have made the film if McDowell had been unavailable.[114]

An example of the erotica from A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Because of its depiction of teenage violence, the film became one of the most controversial films of the decade, and part of an ongoing debate about violence and its glorification in cinema. It received an X-rated certificate upon release, just before Christmas in 1971, though many critics saw much of the violence depicted in the film as satirical, and less violent than Straw Dogs which had been released a month earlier.[115] Kubrick personally pulled the film from release in the United Kingdom after receiving death threats following a series of copycat crimes based on the film; it was thus completely unavailable legally in the UK until after Kubrick's death, and not re-released until 2000.[116] The censor, John Trevelyan, himself considered A Clockwork Orange to be "perhaps the most brilliant piece of cinematic art I've ever seen, and believed it to present an "intellectual argument rather than a sadistic spectacle" in its depiction of violence, but acknowledged that many would not agree.[117] Kubrick disagreed with many of the scathing press reports in British media in the early 1970s that the film could transform a person into a criminal, and argued that "violent crime is invariably committed by people with a long record of anti-social behavior". He defended the depiction of violence in the film, arguing that "The violence in the story has to be given sufficient dramatic weight so that the moral dilemma it poses can be seen in the right context", otherwise the viewer would not reach a "meaningful conclusion about relative rights and wrongs". The State cannot turn even the most "vicious criminals into vegetables".[118] Biographer LoBrutto sees the film as more a "sociopolitical statement about the government's threat against personal freedom" than one which celebrates violence.[119] Robert Hughes, art critic for Time magazine, also sees beyond its violence, arguing that "No movie of the last decade (perhaps in the history of film) has made such exquisitely chilling predictions about the future role of cultural artefacts—paintings, buildings, sculpture, music— in society, or extrapolated them from so undeceived a view of our present culture".[120][121] Ignoring the negative media hype over the film, A Clockwork Orange received four Academy Award nominations, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Editing, and was named by the New York Film Critics Circle as the Best Film of 1971.[120] After William Friedkin won Best Director for The French Connection that year, he told the press: "Speaking personally, I think Stanley Kubrick is the best American film-maker of the year. In fact, not just this year, but the best, period".[120]

Period and horror filming[edit]

Ryan O'Neal, the lead actor of Barry Lyndon

Barry Lyndon (1975) is an adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's The Luck of Barry Lyndon (also known as Barry Lyndon), a picaresque novel about the adventures of an 18th-century Irish gambler and social climber. John Calley of Warner Bros agreed in 1972 to invest $2.5 million into the film, on condition that Kubrick approach major Hollywood stars, to ensure it of success.[122] Kubrick's first choice to play the character of Barry was Robert Redford, who was in England at the time shooting The Great Gatsby. When Redford opted to play a more heroic role in The Great Waldo Pepper instead, Ryan O'Neal was delighted to be offered the chance to work with Kubrick and was cast.[123] Most of the other cast members, including Steven Berkoff and Philip Stone, were actors Kubrick had previously worked with and trusted to perform well. The film was shot on location in Ardmore, County Waterford, Ireland beginning in the autumn of 1973, at a cost of $11 million with a cast and crew of 170,[124] Ireland still retaining many buildings from the 18th-century period which England lacked.[125] The production was problematic from the start, plagued with heavy rain and political strife involving Northern Ireland at the time.[126] After Kubrick received death threats from the IRA in the New Year of 1974, following their shooting of the scenes with English soldiers, he fled Ireland with his family on a ferry from Dún Laoghaire under an assumed identity, and filming resumed in England.[127][128]

William Hogarth's The Country Dance (c.1745) illustrates the type of interior scene that Kubrick sought to emulate with Barry Lyndon.

Baxter notes that Barry Lyndon was the film which made Kubrick notorious for paying meticulous attention to detail, often demanding 20 or 30 retakes of the same scene to perfect his art.[129] Often considered to be his most authentic-looking picture,[130] the cinematography and lighting techniques that Kubrick and cinematographer John Alcott used in Barry Lyndon were highly innovative. Most notably, interior scenes were shot with a specially adapted high-speed f/0.7 Zeiss camera lens originally developed for NASA to be used in satellite photography. The lenses allowed many scenes to be lit only with candlelight, creating two-dimensional, diffused-light images reminiscent of 18th-century paintings.[131] Cinematographer Allen Daviau says that it gives the audience a way of seeing the characters and scenes as they would have been seen by people at the time.[132] Many of the fight scenes were shot with a hand-held camera to produce a "sense of documentary realism and immediacy".[133] Writer George Lewis referred to many of the scenes in the film as looking like actual European paintings of the 1700s and 1800s. The effect was accentuated, notes Ciment, by Kubrick's use of "slow reverse zoom which, moving out from a single character, enlarges the field of vision until its powerful scrutiny takes possession of the whole decor".[134] Kubrick told Ciment, "I created a picture file of thousands of drawings and paintings for every type of reference that we could have wanted. I think I destroyed every art book you could buy in a bookshop."[135]

Although Barry Lyndon found a great audience in France, it was a box office failure, grossing just $9.5 million in the American market, not even close to the $30 million Warner Bros. needed to generate a profit.[136] Kubrick later said: "The important thing in films is not so much to make successes as not to make failures, because each failure limits your future opportunities to make the films you want to make."[124] The pace and length of Barry Lyndon at three hours put off many American critics and audiences, but the film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won four, including Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design and Best Musical Score, more than any other Kubrick film. As with most of Kubrick's films, Barry Lyndon's reputation has grown through the years, particularly among filmmakers and critics. Numerous polls, such as Village Voice (1999), Sight & Sound (2002), and Time (2005), have rated it as one of the greatest films ever made.[137][138][139]

Jack Nicholson in 1981

The Shining, released in 1980, was adapted from the novel of the same name by bestselling horror writer Stephen King. The Shining was not the only horror film that Kubrick had been linked to; he had turned down the directing of both The Exorcist (1973) and Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), despite once claiming in 1966 to a friend that he had long desired to "make the world's scariest movie, involving a series of episodes that would play upon the nightmare fears of the audience".[140] While Kubrick admitted he had always been interested in the subject of ESP and paranormal experiences, he only became interested in filming The Shining after he had read King's novel.[141] The film stars Jack Nicholson as a writer who takes a job as a winter caretaker of a large and isolated hotel in the Rocky Mountains. He spends the winter there with his wife, played by Shelley Duvall, and their young son, who displays paranormal abilities. During their stay, they confront both Jack's descent into madness and apparent supernatural horrors lurking in the hotel. Kubrick stated while preparing the film that "There's something inherently wrong with the human personality. There's an evil side to it. One of the things that horror stories can do is to show us the archetypes of the unconscious; we can see the dark side without having to confront it directly.[142]

Several of the interiors of Ahwahnee Hotel were used as templates for the sets of the Overlook Hotel

During the making of the film Kubrick, gave his actors freedom to extend the script, and even improvise on occasion, and Nicholson notes that they were given new script pages or revisions on almost a daily basis. On the set, Nicholson always appeared in character, and if Kubrick felt confident, after they considered how a scene could be shot, that he knew his lines well enough, he might encourage him, as he did Peter Sellers, to improvise.[143] As a result, Nicholson's 'Here's Johnny!' line was improvised.[144] Scriptwriter Diane Johnson stated that Nicholson was "very much crazier from the outset" than the character in the book, and surpassed Kubrick's expectations.[145] Kubrick made extensive use of the newly invented Steadicam, a weight-balanced camera support, which allowed for smooth hand-held camera movement in scenes where a conventional camera track was impractical. According to Garrett Brown, Steadicam's inventor, it was the first picture to utilize its full potential. Kubrick's perfectionist style required dozens of takes of certain scenes, and Nicholson's scene with the ghostly bartender was shot thirty-six times, for example.[146] The aerial shots of the Overlook Hotel were shot at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon. The lodge requested that he not use room 217 as in the novel as they were concerned about guests fearing it, so he changed the number to 237 instead.[147] The interiors of the hotel were shot at Elstree Studios in England between May 1978 and April 1979.[147]

Upon release in May 1980, The Shining opened to strong box office takings, earning $1 million on the first weekend and earning $30.9 million in American alone by the end of the year.[147] Original critical response was poor, but among horror movie fans, The Shining is now a cult classic.[148] The film's financial success renewed Warner Brothers' faith in Kubrick's ability to make profitable films after the commercial failure in the US of Barry Lyndon.

Later work[edit]

R. Lee Ermey who portrayed the tyrannical Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket

Kubrick met Michael Herr through mutual friend David Cornwell (novelist John le Carré) in 1980, and became interested in his book Dispatches, about the Vietnam War. [149] Herr had recently written Martin Sheen's narration for Apocalypse Now (1979). He also became interested in Gustav Hasford's Vietnam War novel The Short-Timers. With the vision in mind to shoot what would become Full Metal Jacket (1987), Kubrick began working with both men separately on a script, and over the next few years would share hundreds of telephone conversations. He eventually found Hasford's novel to be "brutally honest" and decided to shoot a film which closely follows the novel.[149] All of the film was shot at a cost of $17 million within a 30-mile radius of his house between August 1985 and September 1986, later than scheduled as Kubrick shut down production for five months following a near-fatal accident with a jeep involving Lee Ermey.[150] A derelict gasworks in Beckton in the London Docklands area posed as the ruined city of Huế,[151] which makes the film visually very different from other Vietnam War films. Instead of a tropical jungle, the second half of the picture depicts urban warfare.[152] Kubrick explained he made the film look realistic by using natural light, and achieved a "newsreel effect" by making the Steadicam shots less steady.[153] Reviewers and commentators thought this contributed to the bleakness and seriousness of the film.[154] Music for the film was provided by Kubrick's daughter Vivian, under the pseudonym of Abigail Mead, which Paul Duncan refers to as "discordant" and "very effective" in creating the "unsettled, contemplative atmosphere".[155] According to critic Michel Ciment, the film contained some of Kubrick's trademark characteristics, such as his selection of ironic music, portrayals of men being dehumanized, and attention to extreme detail to achieve realism. At the beginning of the film, as new and expressionless recruits have their hair cut down to their scalp, the song "Goodbye Sweetheart, Hello Vietnam" is playing in the background; in a later scene where United States Marines patrol the ruins of an abandoned and totally destroyed city, the theme song to the Mickey Mouse Club is heard as a sardonic counterpoint.[156] The film opened strongly in June 1987, taking over $30 million in the first fifty days alone,[157] but critically it was overshadowed by the success of Oliver Stone's Platoon, released a year earlier.[155] According to one review, notes co-star Matthew Modine, "The first half of FMJ is brilliant. Then the film degenerates into a masterpiece."[158]

The mask from Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Kubrick's final film was Eyes Wide Shut (1999), starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman as a wealthy Manhattan couple on a sexual odyssey. The story is based on Arthur Schnitzler's 1926 Freudian novella Traumnovelle (Dream Story in English), which Kubrick relocated from turn-of-the-century Vienna to New York City in the 1990s. Kubrick said of the novel: "A difficult book to describe -what good book isn't. It explores the sexual ambivalence of a happy marriage and tries to equate the importance of sexual dreams and might-have-beens with reality. All of Schnitzler's work is psychologically brilliant". [159] The film's theme has been described by Nicholson as delving into questions of the "dangers of married life", and the "silent desperations of keeping an ongoing relationship alive". Screenwriter Michael Herr notes that although the film outwardly presents "sex and thrills" as its subject, its ending conveys a message valuing "marriage and fidelity". The "core theme" of the film, writes Webster, is that of "monogamous fidelity".[160]

Although Kubrick was almost seventy, he worked relentlessly for 15 months in order to get the film out by its planned release date of July 16, 1999. He began working on a script with Frederic Raphael,[133] and worked 18 hours a day, all the while maintaining complete confidentiality about the film. Principal photography began on 7 November 1996 and ended in February 1998. [161] Press releases were sent to the media, stating briefly that "Stanley Kubrick's next film will be Eyes Wide Shut, a story of jealousy and sexual obsession".[162] Eyes Wide Shut, like Lolita and A Clockwork Orange before it, faced censorship before release. Kubrick sent an unfinished preview copy to the stars and producers a few months before release, but his sudden death on March 7, 1999 came a few days after he finished editing. He never saw the final version released to the public, [163] but he did see the preview of the film with Warner Brothers, Cruise and Kidman and had reportedly told Warner executive Julian Senior that it was "my best film ever".[164]

A.I. Artificial Intelligence and unrealized projects[edit]

A.I. Artificial Intelligence[edit]

Steven Spielberg, who Kubrick approached in 1995 to direct A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Kubrick collaborated with Brian Aldiss on an expansion of his short story "Super-Toys Last All Summer Long" into a three-act film. It was a futuristic fairy-tale about a robot that resembles and behaves as a child, and his efforts to become a 'real boy' in a manner similar to Pinocchio. Kubrick approached Spielberg in 1995 with the AI script with the possibility of Steven Spielberg directing it and Kubrick producing it.[155] Kubrick reportedly held long telephone discussions with Spielberg regarding the film, and, according to Spielberg, at one point stated that the subject matter was closer to Spielberg's sensibilities than his.[165] Spielberg was busy at the time though shooting the Jurassic Park sequel.

In 1999, following Kubrick's death, Spielberg took the various drafts and notes left by Kubrick and his writers and composed a new screenplay based on an earlier 90-page story treatment by Ian Watson written under Kubrick's supervision and according to Kubrick's specifications. In association with what remained of Kubrick's production unit, he directed the movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence.[166] which was produced by Kubrick's longtime producer (and brother-in-law) Jan Harlan. Sets, costumes and art direction were based on work by conceptual artist, Chris Baker, who had also done much of his work under Kubrick's supervision.

Although Spielberg was able to function autonomously in Kubrick's absence, he said he felt "inhibited to honor him," and followed Kubrick's visual schema with as much fidelity as he could, writes author Joseph McBride. Spielberg, who once referred to Kubrick as "the greatest master I ever served," now with production underway, admitted, "I felt like I was being coached by a ghost".[167] The film was released in June 2001. It contains a posthumous production credit for Stanley Kubrick at the beginning and the brief dedication "For Stanley Kubrick" at the end. John Williams' score contains many allusions to pieces heard in other Kubrick films.[168]

Kubrick both developed and was offered several film ideas which never saw completion. The most notable of these were an epic biopic of Napoleon and a Holocaust-themed film entitled Aryan Papers. Kubrick had done much research on Napoleon and it was well into pre-production, when the studio suddenly pulled the plug after another big-budget biopic about Napoleon entitled Waterloo failed financially. Work on Aryan Papers, based on Louis Begley's debut novel Wartimes Lies, depressed Kubrick enormously, and he eventually decided that Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List (1993) covered much of the same material.[155]

Napoleon[edit]

The script from Kubrick's unrealized project, Napoleon

Following 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick originally planned to make a film about the life of the French emperor Napoleon. Fascinated by his life and own "self-destruction",[169] Kubrick spent a great deal of time planning the film's development, and had conducted about two years of extensive research into Napoleon's life and had access to Napoleon's personal memoirs and commentaries. He drafted a screenplay in 1961, and envisaged making a "grandiose" epic, with up to 40,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry. He had intended hiring the armed forces of an entire country to make the film, as he considered Napoleonic battles to be "so beautiful, like vast lethal ballets," with an "aesthetic brilliance that doesn't require a military mind to appreciate", and wanted them to be replicated authentically on screen.[170] Kubrick had sent research teams to scout for locations across Europe, and sent screenwriter and director Andrew Birkin, one of his young assistants on 2001, to the Isle of Elba, Austerlitz and Waterloo, taking thousands of pictures for his later perusal. Kubrick approached numerous stars to play leading roles, including Audrey Hepburn for Empress Josephine, a part which she could not accept due to semi-retirement.[171] British actors David Hemmings and Ian Holm were considered for the lead role of Napoleon, before Jack Nicholson was cast.[172] The film was well into pre-production and ready to begin filming in 1969 when MGM cancelled the project. Numerous reasons have been cited for the abandonment of the project, including its projected cost, a change of ownership at MGM,[169] and the poor reception the Soviet version received. In 2011, Taschen published the book, Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made, a large volume compilation of literature and source documents from Kubrick, such as scene photo ideas and copies of letters Kubrick wrote and received. In March 2013, Steven Spielberg, who previously collaborated with Kubrick on A.I. Artificial Intelligence and is a passionate admirer of his work, announced that he would be developing Napoleon as a TV miniseries based on Kubrick's original screenplay.

Other projects[edit]

In the 1950s Kubrick and Harris developed a sitcom starring Ernie Kovacs and a film adaption of the book I Stole $16,000,000 but nothing came of them.[55] Tony Frewin, an assistant who worked with the director for a long period of time, revealed in a March 2013 Atlantic article: "He [Kubrick] was limitlessly interested in anything to do with Nazis and desperately wanted to make a film on the subject." The article then elaborates upon Frewin's statement and discusses another World War II film that was never realized—a film based on the life story of Dietrich Schulz-Koehn, a Nazi officer who used the pen name "Dr. Jazz" to write reviews of German music scenes during the Nazi era. Kubrick had been given a copy of the Mike Zwerin book Swing Under the Nazis after he had finished production on Full Metal Jacket, the front cover of which featured a photograph of Schulz-Koehn. A screenplay was never completed and Kubrick's film adaptation plan was never initiated (the unfinished Aryan Papers was a factor in the abandonment of the project).[173]

Kubrick was unable to direct a film of Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum as Eco had given his publisher instructions to never sell the film rights to any of his books after his dissatisfaction with the film version of The Name of the Rose.[174] Also, when the film rights to Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings were sold to United Artists, the Beatles approached Kubrick to direct them in a film based on the books, but Kubrick was unwilling to produce a film based on a very popular book.[175] Director Peter Jackson has reported that Tolkien was against the involvement of the Beatles.[176] According to biographer John Baxter, Kubrick had also shown an interest in directing a pornographic film based on a satirical novel written by Terry Southern, entitled Blue Movie, about a director who makes Hollywood's first big budget porn film. However, Baxter claims that Kubrick concluded that he didn't have the patience or temperament to become involved in the porn industry, and Southern stated that Kubrick was "too ultra conservative" towards sexuality to have seriously gone ahead with it, but liked the idea.[177]

Career influences[edit]

As a young man Kubrick was fascinated by the films of Sergei Eisenstein and would watch films like Battleship Potemkin (1925) (pictured) endlessly

Kubrick stated that "anyone who has ever been privileged to direct a film knows that, although it can be like trying to write War and Peace in a bumper car at an amusement park, when you finally get it right, there are not many joys in life that can equal that feeling."[178] As a young man, Kubrick was fascinated by the films of Soviet filmmakers such as Eisenstein and Pudovkin.[179] Kubrick read Pudovkin's seminal theoretical work, Film Technique, which argues that editing makes film a unique art form, and it needs to be employed to manipulate the medium to its fullest. Kubrick recommended this work to others for years to come. Thomas Nelson describes this book as "the greatest influence of any single written work on the evolution of [Kubrick's] private aesthetics". Kubrick also found the ideas of Constantin Stanislavski to be essential to his understanding the basics of directing, and gave himself a crash course to learn his methods.[180]

Kubrick's family and many critics felt that his Jewish ancestry may have contributed to his worldview and aspects of his films. After his death, both his daughter and wife stated that although he was not religious, "he did not deny his Jewishness, not at all". His daughter noted that he wanted to make a film about the Holocaust, to have been called Aryan Papers, having spent years researching the subject.[181] Most of his friends and early photography and film collaborators were Jewish, and his first two marriages were to daughters of recent Jewish immigrants from Europe. British screenwriter Frederic Raphael, who worked closely with Kubrick in his final years, believes that the originality of Kubrick's films was partly because he "had a (Jewish?) respect for scholars". He said that it was "absurd to try to understand Stanley Kubrick without reckoning on Jewishness as a fundamental aspect of his mentality".[182]

Director Max Ophüls was a major influence on Kubrick; pictured is his 1953 film Madame de

Walker notes that Kubrick was influenced by the tracking and "fluid camera" styles of director Max Ophüls, and used them in many of his films, including Paths of Glory and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick noted how in Ophuls' films "the camera went through every wall and every floor".[183] He once named Ophüls' Le Plaisir as his favorite film. According to film historian John Wakeman, Ophüls himself learned the technique from director Anatole Litvak in the 1930s, when he was his assistant, and whose work was "replete with the camera trackings, pans and swoops which later became the trademark of Max Ophuls".[184] Geoffrey Cocks believes that Kubrick was also influenced by Ophüls' stories of thwarted love and a preoccupation with predatory men, while Herr notes that Kubrick was deeply inspired by G. W. Pabst, who earlier tried but was unable to adapt Schnitzler's Traumnovelle, the basis of Eyes Wide Shut.[185] Film critic Robert Kolker sees the influence of Welles' moving camera shots on Kubrick's style. LoBrutto notes that Kubrick identified with Welles and influenced the making of The Killing, with its "multiple points of view, extreme angles, and deep focus".[186][187] Kubrick also cited David Lynch's Eraserhead (1977) as one of his favorite films and used it as a creative reference during the directing of The Shining.[188]

Directing techniques[edit]

Themes and stories[edit]

HAL 9000, the computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey

Kubrick's films typically involve expressions of an inner struggle, examined from different perspectives.[178] He was very careful not to present his own views of the meaning of his films and leave them open to interpretation. He explained in a 1960 interview with Robert Emmett Ginna: "One of the things I always find extremely difficult, when a picture's finished, is when a writer or a film reviewer asks, 'Now, what is it that you were trying to say in that picture?' And without being thought too presumptuous for using this analogy, I like to remember what T. S. Eliot said to someone who had asked him—I believe it was The Waste Land—what he meant by the poem. He replied, 'I meant what I said'. If I could have said it any differently, I would have".[189] Kubrick likened the understanding of his films to popular music, in that whatever the background or intellect of the individual, a Beatles record, for instance, can both be appreciated by the Alabama truck driver and the young Cambridge intellectual in the way that his films can because their "emotions and subconscious are far more similar than their intellects". He believed that the subconscious emotional reaction evoked by audiences was far more powerful in the film medium than in any other traditional verbal form, and was one of the reasons why he often relied on long periods in his films without dialogue, placing emphasis on images and sound.[189] In a Time magazine interview in 1975, Kubrick further stated: "The essence of a dramatic form is to let an idea come over people without it being plainly stated. When you say something directly, it is simply not as potent as it is when you allow people to discover it for themselves."[29] He also said "Realism is probably the best way to dramatise argument and ideas. Fantasy may deal best with themes which lie primarily in the unconscious".[190]

Kubrick's production notes from The Killing

Diane Johnson, who co-wrote the screenplay for The Shining with Kubrick, notes that he "always said that it was better to adapt a book rather than write an original screenplay, and that you should choose a work that isn't a masterpiece so you can improve on it. Which is what he's always done, except with Lolita".[191] When deciding on a subject for a film, there were a number of aspects that he looked for, and he always made films which would "appeal to every sort of viewer, whatever their expectation of film".[192] According to his co-producer Jan Harlan, Kubrick mostly "wanted to make films about things that mattered, that not only had form, but substance".[193] Kubrick himself believed that audiences quite often were attracted to "enigmas and allegories" and did not like films in which everything was spelled out clearly.[194]

Although none of his features display graphic sex scenes, sexuality in Kubrick's films is usually depicted outside matrimonial relationships in hostile situations. Baxter states that Kubrick explores the "furtive and violent side alleys of the sexual experience: voyeurism, domination, bondage and rape" in his films.[120] He further points out that films like A Clockwork Orange are "powerfully homoerotic", from Alex walking about his parents' flat in his Y-fronts, one eye being "made up with doll-like false eyelashes", to his innocent acceptance of the sexual advances of his post-corrective adviser Deltroid (Aubrey Morris).[120] British critic Adrian Turner notes that Kubrick's films appear to be "preoccupied with questions of universal and inherited evil", and Malcolm McDowell referred to his humour as "black as coal", questioning his outlook on humanity.[195] Although a few of his pictures were obvious satires and black comedies, such as Lolita and Dr. Strangelove, many of his other films also contained less visible elements of satire or irony. His films are unpredictable, examining "the duality and contradictions that exist in all of us".[196] Ciment notes how Kubrick often tried to confound audience expectations by establishing radically different moods from one film to the next, remarking that he was almost "obsessed with contradicting himself, with making each work a critique of the previous one".[197] Kubrick stated himself that "there is no deliberate pattern to the stories that I have chosen to make into films. About the only factor at work each time is that I try not to repeat myself".[198] As a result, Kubrick was often misunderstood by critics, and only once did he have unanimously positive reviews—for Paths of Glory.[199]

Writing and staging scenes[edit]

The tunnel used in the making of A Clockwork Orange

Film author Patrick Webster considers Kubrick's methods of writing and developing scenes to fit with the classical auteur theory of directing, allowing collaboration and improvisation with the actors during filming. [200] Malcolm McDowell recalled Kubrick's collaborative emphasis during their discussions and his willingness to allow him to improvise a scene, stating that "there was a script and we followed it, but when it didn't work he knew it, and we had to keep rehearsing endlessly until we were bored with it."[201] Once Kubrick was confident in the overall staging of a scene, and felt the actors were prepared, he would then develop the visual aspects, including camera and lighting placement. Walker believes that Kubrick was one of "very few film directors competent to instruct their lighting photographers in the precise effect they want."[202] Biographer John Baxter believes that although American, Kubrick was heavily influenced by his ancestry and always possessed a European perspective to filmmaking, particularly the Austro-Hungarian empire and his admiration for Johann Ophuls and Richard Strauss.[203]

Gilbert Adair, writing in a review for Full Metal Jacket, commented that "Kubrick's approach to language has always been of a reductive and uncompromisingly deterministic nature. He appears to view it as the exclusive product of environmental conditioning, only very marginally influenced by concepts of subjectivity and interiority, by all whims, shades and modulations of personal expression".[204] Johnson notes that although Kubrick was a "visual filmmaker," he also loved words and was like a writer in his approach, very sensitive to the story itself, which he found unique.[205] Before shooting began, Kubrick tried to have the script as complete as possible, but still allowed himself enough space to make changes during the actual filming, finding it more "more profitable to avoid locking up any ideas about staging or camera or even dialogue prior to rehearsals" as he put it.[202] Kubrick told Robert Emmett Ginna: "I think you have to view the entire problem of putting the story you want to tell up there on that light square. It begins with the selection of the property; it continues through the creation of the story, the sets, the costumes, the photography and the acting. And when the picture is shot, it's only partially finished. I think the cutting is just a continuation of directing a movie. I think the use of music effects, opticals and finally main titles are all part of telling the story. And I think the fragmentation of these jobs, by different people, is a very bad thing".[130] Kubrick also said: "I think that the best plot is no apparent plot. I like a slow start, the start that gets under the audience's skin and involves them so that they can appreciate grace notes and soft tones and don't have to be pounded over the head with plot points and suspense tools."[124]

Directing[edit]

"They work with Stanley and go through hells that nothing in their careers could have prepared them for, they think they must have been mad to get involved, they think that they'd die before they would ever work with him again, that fixated maniac; and when it's all behind them and the profound fatigue of so much intensity has worn off, they'd do anything in the world to work for him again. For the rest of their professional lives they long to work with someone who cared the way Stanley did, someone they could learn from. They look for someone to respect the way they'd come to respect him, but they can never find anybody ... I've heard this story so many times."

— Michael Herr, screenwriter for Full Metal Jacket

Kubrick was noted for requiring multiple takes during filming. His high take ratio was considered by some critics as "irrational," although he firmly believed that actors were at their best during the actual filming, as opposed to rehearsals, due to the sense of intense excitement that it generates.[206] He explained: "When you make a movie, it takes a few days just to get used to the crew, because it is like getting undressed in front of fifty people. Once you're accustomed to them, the presence of even one other person on set is discordant and tends to produce self-consciousness in the actors, and certainly in itself".[207] He also told biographer Michel Clement: "It's invariably because the actors don't know their lines, or don't know them well enough. An actor can only do one thing at a time, and when he learned his lines only well enough to say them while he's thinking about them, he will always have trouble as soon as he has to work on the emotions of the scene or find camera marks. In a strong emotional scene, it is always best to be able to shoot in complete takes to allow the actor a continuity of emotion, and it is rare for most actors to reach their peak more than once or twice. There are, occasionally, scenes which benefit from extra takes, but even then, I'm not sure that the early takes aren't just glorified rehearsals with the adding adrenaline of film running through the camera.[128] Nicole Kidman explains that the large number of takes he often required stopped actors from consciously thinking about technique, thereby helping them enter a "deeper place."[208] Many actors, however, found the large number of takes to be extremely demanding, and Jack Nicholson remarked that Kubrick would often demand up to 50 takes of a scene.[209] During an interview, Ryan O'Neal recalled Kubrick's directing style: "God, he works you hard. He moves you, pushes you, helps you, gets cross with you, but above all he teaches you the value of a good director. Stanley brought out aspects of my personality and acting instincts that had been dormant ... My strong suspicion [was] that I was involved in something great".[210] He further added that working with Kubrick was "a stunning experience" and that he never recovered from working with somebody of such magnificence.[211]

Kubrick stated: "Actors are essentially emotion-producing instruments, and some are always tuned and ready while others will reach a fantastic pitch on one take and never equal it again, no matter how hard they try.[212] He would often devote his personal breaks to having lengthy discussions with actors. Among those who valued his attention was Tony Curtis, star of Spartacus, who said Kubrick was his favorite director, adding, "his greatest effectiveness was his one-on-one relationship with actors."[74] He further added, "Kubrick had his own approach to film-making. He wanted to see the actor's faces. He didn't want cameras always in a wide shot twenty-five feet away, he wanted close-ups, he wanted to keep the camera moving. That was his style."[66] Similarly, Malcolm McDowell recalls the long discussions he had with Kubrick to help him develop his character in A Clockwork Orange (1971) noting that on his sets, he felt entirely uninhibited and free, saying "This is why Stanley is such a great director."[209] Kubrick also allowed actors at times to improvize and to "break the rules", particularly with Peter Sellers in Lolita, which became a turning point in his career as it allowed him to work creatively during the actual shooting, as opposed to the preproduction stage.[213] Costume designer Marit Allen noted that Kubrick's directing style combined "slow interminable rehearsals" and "a kind of malicious humour". Kubrick would "accept anything from anyone, providing they knew what was at stake and did their best, and at the same time he was very demanding with everyone."[214]

Cinematography[edit]

Model of the War Room from Dr Strangelove

Kubrick credited the ease with which he photographed scenes to his early years as a photographer.[215] He rarely added camera instructions in the script, preferring to handle that after a scene is created, as the visual part of film-making came easiest to him.[216] Even in deciding which props and settings would be used, Kubrick paid meticulous attention to detail and the tried to collect as much background material as possible, functioning rather like a detective as he stated.[217] Cinematographer John Alcott, who worked closely with Kubrick on four of his films, and won an Oscar for Best Cinematography on Barry Lyndon remarked that Kubrick "questions everything",[218] and was involved in the technical aspects of film-making including camera placement, scene composition, choice of lens, and even operating the camera which would usually be left to the cinematographer. Alcott considered Kubrick to be the "nearest thing to genius I've ever worked with, with all the problems of a genius".[219]

Kubrick's camera, possibly used in Barry Lyndon

Among Kubrick's notable innovations in cinematography are his use of special effects, as in 2001, where he used both slit-scan photography and front-screen projection, which won Kubrick his only Oscar for special effects. Some reviewers have described and illustrated with video clips, Kubrick's use of "one-point perspective", which leads the viewer's eye towards a central vanishing point. The technique relies on creating a complex visual symmetry using parallel lines in a scene which all converge on that single point, leading away from the viewer. Combined with camera motion it could produce an effect that one writer describes as "hypnotic and thrilling."[220] The Shining was among the first half-dozen features to use the then-revolutionary Steadicam (after the 1976 films Bound for Glory, Marathon Man and Rocky). Kubrick used it to its fullest potential, which gave the audience smooth, stabilized, motion-tracking by the camera. Kubrick described Steadicam as being like a "magic carpet", allowing "fast, flowing, camera movements" in the maze in The Shining which would otherwise would have been impossible to accomplish.[221]

Kubrick was among the first directors to use video assist during filming. At the time he began using it in 1966, it was considered cutting-edge technology, requiring him to build his own system. Having it in place during the filming of 2001, he was able to view a video of a take immediately after it was filmed.[222] On some films, such as Barry Lyndon, he used custom made zoom lenses, which allowed him to start a scene with a close-up and slowly zoom out to capture the full panorama of scenery and to film long takes under changing outdoor lighting conditions by making aperture adjustments while the cameras rolled. LoBrutto notes that Kubrick's technical knowledge about lenses "dazzled the manufacturer's engineers, who found him to be unprecedented among contemporary filmmakers."[223] For Barry Lyndon he also used a specially adapted high-speed (f/0.7) Zeiss camera lens, originally developed for NASA, to shoot numerous scenes lit only with candlelight. Actor Steven Berkoff recalls that Kubrick wanted scenes to be shot using "pure candlelight," and in doing so Kubrick "made a unique contribution to the art of filmmaking going back to painting ... You almost posed like for portraits."[224] LoBrutto notes that cinematographers all over the world wanted to know about Kubrick's "magic lens" and that he became a "legend" among cameramen around the world.[225]

Editing and music[edit]

György Ligeti, whose music Kubrick used in 2001, The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut

Kubrick spent extensive hours editing, often working seven days a week, and more and more hours a day as he got closer to deadlines.[226] For Kubrick, written dialogue was one element to be put in balance with mise en scène (set arrangements), music, and especially, editing. Inspired by Pudovkin's treatise on film editing, Kubrick realized that one could create a performance in the editing room and often "re-direct" a film, and he remarked: "I love editing. I think I like it more than any other phase of filmmaking ... Editing is the only unique aspect of filmmaking which does not resemble any other art form—a point so important it cannot be overstressed ... It can make or break a film".[226] Biographer John Baxter stated that "Instead of finding the intellectual spine of a film in the script before starting work, Kubrick felt his way towards the final version of a film by shooting each scene from many angles and demanding scores of takes on each line. Then over months ... he arranged and rearranged the tens of thousands of scraps of film to fit a vision that really only began to emerge during editing".[227]

Kubrick's attention to music was an aspect of what many referred to as his "perfectionism" and extreme attention to minute details, which his wife Christine attributed to his addiction to it. In his last six films, Kubrick usually chose music from existing sources, especially classical compositions. He preferred selecting recorded music over having it composed for a film, believing that no hired composer could do as well as the public domain classical composers. He also felt that building scenes from images great music often created the "most memorable scenes" in the best films.[228] In one instance, for a scene in Barry Lyndon which was written into the screenplay as merely, "Barry duels with Lord Bullingdon," he spent forty-two working days in the editing phase. During that period, he listened to what LoBrutto describes as "every available recording of seventeenth-and eighteenth- century music, acquiring thousands of records to find Handel's sarabande used to score the scene."[229] Jack Nicholson likewise observed his attention to music for his films, stating that Kubrick "listened constantly to music until he discovered something he felt was right or that excited him."[199]

Kubrick is credited with introducing Hungarian composer György Ligeti to a broad Western audience by including his music in 2001, The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut. According to Baxter, the music in 2001 was "at the forefront of Kubrick's mind" when he conceived the film.[230] During earlier screening he played music by Mendelssohn[h] and Vaughan Williams, and Kubrick and writer Clarke had listened to Carl Orff's transcription of Carmina Burana, consisting of 13th century sacred and secular songs.[230] In the film, Kubrick employed the new style of micropolyphony, which used sustained dissonant chords that shift slowly over time, a style which he originated. Its inclusion in the film became a "boon for the relatively unknown composer" partly because it was introduced alongside background by notable composers, Johann Strauss and Richard Strauss.[232]

Personal life[edit]

Kubrick married his high-school sweetheart Toba Metz, a keen caricaturist, on 29 May 1948, when he was nineteen years of age. They had attended Taft High School together and had lived in the same apartment block on Shakespeare Avenue.[20] The couple lived together in Greenwich Village and divorced three years later in 1951. He met his second wife, the Austrian-born dancer and theatrical designer Ruth Sobotka, in 1952. They lived together in New York's East Village beginning in 1952, got married in January 1955 and moved to Hollywood in July 1955, where she played a brief part as a ballet dancer in Kubrick's film, Killer's Kiss (1955). The following year she was art director for his film, The Killing (1956). They divorced in 1957.[233]

During the production of Paths of Glory (1957) in Munich, Kubrick met and romanced the German actress Christiane Harlan, who played a small though memorable role. Kubrick married Harlan in 1958, and the couple remained together 40 years, until his death in 1999. Besides his stepdaughter, they had two daughters together; Anya Renata (born 6 April 1959, died July 7 2009 (age 50)), and Vivian Vanessa (born 5 August 1960).[234] In 1959 they settled into a home in Beverly Hills with Harlan's daughter, Katherina, age six.[235] They also lived in New York, during which time Christiane studied art at the Art Students League of New York, later becoming an independent artist.[236] The couple moved to the United Kingdom in the early 1960s to make Lolita because of easier financing via the Eady Levy, since at least 85% of the film was shot in the UK, and freedom from censorship and interference from Hollywood studios. When Kubrick hired Peter Sellers to star in his next film, Dr. Strangelove, Sellers was unable to leave the UK, so Kubrick made Britain his permanent home thereafter. The move was quite convenient to Kubrick, since he shunned the Hollywood system and its publicity machine, and he and Christiane had become alarmed with the increase in violence in New York.[237]

Kubrick's Childwickbury Manor in Hertfordshire, England

In 1965 the Kubricks bought Abbots Mead from Simon Cowell's father on Barnet Lane, just south of the Elstree/Borehamwood studio complex in England. Kubrick worked almost exclusively from this home for 14 years where, with some exceptions, he researched, invented special effects techniques, designed ultra-low light lenses for specially modified cameras, pre-produced, edited, post-produced, advertised, distributed and carefully managed all aspects of four of his films. In 1978, Kubrick moved into Childwickbury Manor in Hertfordshire, a mainly 18th century stately home, which was once owned by a wealthy racehorse owner, about 48 km (30 mi) north of London and a 10-minute drive from his previous home at Abbotts Mead. His new home became a workplace for Kubrick and his wife, "a perfect family factory" as Christiane called it,[238] and Kubrick converted the stables into extra production rooms besides ones within the home that he used for editing and storage.[239]

A workaholic, Kubrick rarely took a vacation and left England during the forty years before he died.[240] Biographer Vincent LoBrutto notes that Kubrick's confined way of living and desire for privacy has led to spurious stories about his reclusiveness, similar to those of Greta Garbo, Howard Hughes, and J. D. Salinger.[241] Michael Herr, Kubrick's co-screenwriter on Full Metal Jacket, who knew him well, considers his "reclusiveness" to be myth: "[H]e was in fact a complete failure as a recluse, unless you believe that a recluse is simply someone who seldom leaves his house. Stanley saw a lot of people ... he was one of the most gregarious men I ever knew, and it didn't change anything that most of this conviviality went on over the phone." [242] Marisa Berenson, who starred in Barry Lyndon, said "There was great tenderness in him and he was passionate about his work. What was striking was his enormous intelligence, but he also had a great sense of humor. He was a very shy person and self-protective, but he was filled with the thing that drove him twenty-four hours of the day."[243] In his personal life he was particularly fond of machines and technical equipment, to the point that his wife Christiane Harlan once stated that "Stanley would be happy with eight tape recorders and one pair of pants".[244] Although Kubrick had obtained a pilot's license in August 1947, some have claimed that he later developed a fear of flying, stemming from an incident in the early 1950s when a colleague had been killed in a plane crash and Kubrick had been sent the charred remains of his camera and notebooks which, according to Duncan, traumatized him for life. [72][i]

Death[edit]

On March 7, 1999, four days after screening a final cut of Eyes Wide Shut for his family and the stars, Kubrick died in his sleep at the age of 70, after suffering a massive heart attack. His funeral was held on March 12 at his home estate with only close friends and family in attendance, totaling approximately 100 people. The media were kept a mile away outside the entrance gate.[245]

Alexander Walker, who attended the funeral, describes it as a "family farewell, ... almost like an English picnic," with cellists, clarinetists and singers providing song and music from many of his favorite classical compositions. Although Kaddish, the Jewish prayer of mourning, was recited, the funeral had no religious overtones, and few of his obituaries mentioned his Jewish background.[246]

Among those who gave eulogies were Terry Semel, Jan Harlan, Steven Spielberg, Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise. He was buried next to his favorite tree in Childwickbury Manor, Hertfordshire, England. In her book dedicated to Kubrick, his wife Christiane included one of his favorite quotes by Oscar Wilde: "The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young.[247]

Legacy[edit]

Kubrick is one of the most influential film directors in the history of cinema.[248][249] Leading directors, including Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Woody Allen, Terry Gilliam, the Coen brothers, Ridley Scott, and George A. Romero, have cited Kubrick as a source of inspiration, and in the case of Spielberg, collaboration. On the DVD of Eyes Wide Shut, Steven Spielberg comments that Kubrick that "tells a story is antithetical to the way we are accustomed to receiving stories" and that "nobody could shoot a picture better in history". Writing in the introduction to a recent edition of Michel Ciment's Kubrick, film director Martin Scorsese notes that most of Kubrick's films were misunderstood and under-appreciated when first released. Then came a dawning recognition that they were masterful works unlike any other films. Perhaps most notably, Orson Welles, one of Kubrick's greatest personal influences and all-time favorite directors, famously said that: "Among those whom I would call 'younger generation' Kubrick appears to me to be a giant."[250]

Kubrick continues to be cited as a major influence by many directors, including Christopher Nolan,[251]Todd Field,[252] David Fincher, Guillermo del Toro, David Lynch, Lars Von Trier, Michael Mann, and Gaspar Noé. Many filmmakers imitate Kubrick's inventive and unique use of camera movement and framing, as well as his use of music, notably Frank Darabont.[253] Paul Thomas Anderson, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, stated "it's so hard to do anything that doesn't owe some kind of debt to what Stanley Kubrick did with music in movies. Inevitably, you're going to end up doing something that he's probably already done before. It can all seem like we're falling behind whatever he came up with."[254]

In 2000 BAFTA renamed their Britannia lifetime achievement award the "Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award".[255] Kubrick is among filmmakers such as D. W. Griffith, Laurence Olivier, Cecil B. DeMille, and Irving Thalberg, all of whom have had annual awards named after them. Kubrick won this award in 1999, and subsequent recipients have included George Lucas, Warren Beatty, Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, and Daniel Day-Lewis. A number of people who worked with Kubrick on his films created the 2001 documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, produced and directed by Kubrick's brother-in-law, Jan Harlan, who had executive produced Kubrick's last four films.[256] The film's chapters each cover one of Kubrick's films and Kubrick's childhood is explored in the introductory section.

Entrance to Kubrick museum exhibit at LACMA

In 2009, an exhibition of paintings and photos inspired by Kubrick's films was held in Dublin, Ireland, entitled 'Stanley Kubrick: Taming Light'.[257] On October 30, 2012, an exhibition devoted to Kubrick opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and concluded in June 2013. Exhibits include a wide collection of documents, photographs and on-set material assembled from 800 boxes of personal archives that were stored in Kubrick's home-workplace in the U.K.[258] A number of celebrities attended and spoke at the museum's pre-opening gala, including Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Jack Nicholson,[259] while Kubrick's widow, Christiane, appeared at the pre-gala press review.[260] In October 2013, the Brazil Sao Paulo International Film Festival paid tribute to Kubrick, staging an exhibit of his work and a retrospective of his films. The exhibit is also scheduled to open at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in late 2014.[261]

Kubrick is widely referenced in popular culture, and the TV series The Simpsons is said to contain more references to Kubrick films than any other pop culture phenomenon.[262] When the Director's Guild of Great Britain gave Kubrick a lifetime achievement award, they included a cut-together sequence of all the homages from the show.[263] Pop singer Lady Gaga's concert shows have included the use of dialogue, costumes, and music from A Clockwork Orange.[264] Several films have been made related to Kubrick's life, including the mockumentary film Dark Side of the Moon (2002), which is a parody of the pervasive conspiracy theory that Kubrick had been involved with the faked footage of the NASA moon landings during the filming of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Colour Me Kubrick (2005), starring John Malkovich as Alan Conway, a con artist who had assumed Kubrick's identity in the 1990s,[265] Both films were authorized by Kubrick's family. In the 2004 film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, Kubrick was portrayed by Stanley Tucci, and documents their filming of Dr. Strangelove, rather than Lolita.[266]

Filmography and awards[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ This is disputed by Carlo Fiore, who has claimed that Brando had not heard of Kubrick initially and that it was he who arranged a dinner meeting with Kubrick.[58]
  2. ^ Spartacus eventually cost a reported $12 million to produce and earned only $14.6 million.[65]
  3. ^ The battle scenes of Spartacus were shot over six weeks on location in Spain in the summer of 1959. Biographer John Baxter has criticised some of the battle scenes, describing them as "awkwardly directed, with some clumsy stunt action and a plethora of improbable horse falls".[67]
  4. ^ According to biographer Baxter, Douglas continued to resent Kubrick's domination during production, remarking, "He'll be a fine director some day, if he falls flat on his face just once. It might teach him how to compromise.[65] Co-star Tony Curtis, in his autobiography, called Kubrick his favorite director, and praised his individual relationships with actors.[74]
  5. ^ Several commentators have speculated that HAL is a slur on IBM, with the letters alphabetically falling before it, and point out that Kubrick inspected the IBM 7090 during Dr Strangelove. However, both Kubrick and Clarke have denied this, and insist that HAL simply means "Heuristically Programmed Algorithmic Computer".[97]
  6. ^ Biographer John Baxter quotes Ken Adam as saying that Kubrick wasn't actually responsible for most of the effects, and that Wally Veevers was the man behind about 85% of them in film. However, Baxter notes that none of the film's technical team resented Kubrick taking sole credit, as "it was Kubrick's vision which appeared on the screen".[100]
  7. ^ The name is derived from the Russian suffix for "teen"
  8. ^ Baxter states that Kubrick had originally intended using the scherzo from Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream to accompany the shuttle docking at the space station but changed his mind after hearing Johann Strauss's Blue Danube waltz.[231]
  9. ^ Duncan notes that during the filming of Spartacus in Spain, Kubrick had suffered a nervous breakdown after the flight and was "terribly ill" during the filming there, and his return flight would be his last one.[72] Matthew Modine, star of Full Metal Jacket, however, has stated that the stories about his fear of flying were "fabricated", and that Kubrick simply preferred spending most of his time in England, where his films were produced and where he lived.[158]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Coyle 1980, p. 8.
  2. ^ a b c d Duncan 2003, p. 15.
  3. ^ Howard 1999, p. 14.
  4. ^ Kirkland, Bruce (June 4, 2011). "The legend of Kubrick lives on". The Toronto Sun. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  5. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 15.
  6. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 16.
  7. ^ LoBrutto 1999, p. 6.
  8. ^ a b Cocks 2004, pp. 22–25, 30.
  9. ^ a b Baxter 1997, p. 19.
  10. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 17.
  11. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 18.
  12. ^ Walker 1972, p. 11.
  13. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 22.
  14. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 26.
  15. ^ LoBrutto 1999, p. 23.
  16. ^ Gates, Anita (August 12, 2013). "Eydie Gorme, Voice of Sophisticated Pop, Dies at 84". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  17. ^ Newsweek 1972, p. 31.
  18. ^ LoBrutto 1999, p. 15.
  19. ^ LoBrutto 1999, p. 33.
  20. ^ a b c d Duncan 2003, p. 19.
  21. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 32.
  22. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 30.
  23. ^ Duncan 2003, pp. 16-7.
  24. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 31.
  25. ^ Ciment 1980, p. 36.
  26. ^ a b c Duncan 2003, p. 23.
  27. ^ a b c Duncan 2003, p. 25.
  28. ^ King, Molloy & Tzioumakis 2013, p. 156.
  29. ^ a b Duncan 2003, p. 13.
  30. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 39.
  31. ^ a b Duncan 2003, p. 28.
  32. ^ Thuss 2002, p. 110.
  33. ^ a b Duncan 2003, p. 26.
  34. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 50.
  35. ^ Duncan 2003, pp. 26-7.
  36. ^ a b Duncan 2003, p. 27.
  37. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 56.
  38. ^ Duncan 2003, p. 30.
  39. ^ a b c Duncan 2003, p. 32.
  40. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 63.
  41. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 69.
  42. ^ Walker 1972, p. 55.
  43. ^ Duncan 2003, p. 37.
  44. ^ Duncan 2003, pp. 37-8.
  45. ^ a b Duncan 2003, p. 38.
  46. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 81.
  47. ^ Duncan 2003, p. 43.
  48. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 82.
  49. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 100.
  50. ^ a b Duncan 2003, p. 42.
  51. ^ Duncan 2003, p. 46.
  52. ^ Duncan 2003, p. 47.
  53. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 98.
  54. ^ Duncan 2003, p. 52.
  55. ^ a b c Duncan 2003, p. 50.
  56. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 104.
  57. ^ Anonymous (October 1, 2013). [Archive copy at the Wayback Machine "path of glory ou les sentiers de la gloire"]. eklablog.com. 
  58. ^ Baxter 1997, pp. 109-110.
  59. ^ a b Duncan 2003, p. 53.
  60. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 119.
  61. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 120.
  62. ^ Ginna, Robert Emmett (1960). "The Odyssey Begins". Entertainment Weekly. 
  63. ^ a b Duncan 2003, p. 59.
  64. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 130.
  65. ^ a b Baxter 1997, p. 151.
  66. ^ a b Baxter 1997, p. 2.
  67. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 140.
  68. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 99.
  69. ^ Duncan 2003, p. 61.
  70. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 3.
  71. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 135.
  72. ^ a b c d Duncan 2003, p. 62.
  73. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 149.
  74. ^ a b LoBrutto 1999, p. 193.
  75. ^ Duncan 2003, p. 76.
  76. ^ "Lolita". Criterion.com. Retrieved August 11, 2014. 
  77. ^ LoBrutto 1999, pp. 204–205.
  78. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 154.
  79. ^ Baxter 1997, p. 185.
  80. ^ a b Duncan 2003, p. 77.
  81. ^ a b c Duncan 2003, p. 80.
  82. ^ Baxter 1997, pp. 157, 161.
  83. ^ LoBrutto 1999, p. 225.
  84. ^ Duncan 2003, p. 87.
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