Masters of Cinema : Stanley Kubrick

                                One of the most consistently fascinating filmmakers in the latter half of the 20th century, director Stanley Kubrick saw his seminal work praised and damned with equal energy, though oftentimes found that his film’s reputations grew over time. He had a directing career spanning over 40 years, during which he completed only thirteen full-length features. However, those features are some of the most esteemed, and controversial  films ever made.
  •  Stanley Kubrick was born in New York(July 26, 1928), and was considered intelligent despite poor grades at school. Jack Kubrick introduced Chess to his son, which he took passionately and became a skilled player.
  • Jack Kubrick's decision to give his son a camera for his thirteenth birthday changed Stanley into an avid photographer. He would often make trips around New York taking photographs which he would develop in a friend's darkroom.
  • He earned money by selling photographs to Look Magazine. After graduation he became their full-time staff photographer. In the 1950's Kubrick began making short subject documentary films for the theatrical newsreel The March of Time.
  • He then moved to directing feature films in 1953 with his film Fear and Desire. Filming this movie was not a happy experience. Despite mixed reviews for the film itself, Kubrick received good notices for his obvious directorial talents.
  • In that same decade Kubrick directed Killer's Kiss, The Killing, and the acclaimed World War I film Paths of Glory. Kubrick's next film was the Roman epic Spartacus (1960). Kubrick took this project after the original director, was fired. Although the film was a success both commerically and critically, Kubrick was frustrated with his lack of creative control due to the constraints of the Hollywood system. The film won four Academy Awards. 
  •  Kubrick's next project was to direct Marlon Brando in One-Eyed Jacks (1961), but negotiations broke down and Brando himself ended up directing the film himself.
  • Starting with Lolita (1962), he independently produced all his films from his adopted home of England, UK.
  • Trade Mark: His films often tell about the dark side of human nature, especially dehumanization. One of his signature shots was "The Glare" - a character's emotional meltdown is depicted by a close-up shot of the actor with his head tilted slightly down, but with his eyes looking up - usually directly into the camera.Almost always uses previously composed music. His films often tackle Controversial Social themes. Very strong visual style with heavy emphasis on symbolism.
  • Kubrick was convinced that nuclear war would break out between the Russians and Americans as late as 1962. He conducted extensive research on bomb shelters in preparation for the impending war, and even began scouting locations for its placement. After just a few short years, however, he abandoned his fear and his plans for sitting out the apocalypse and made Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) instead. This is how the film got its peculiarly descriptive caption.
  • Kubrick was forced to ban his own film from Britain when A Clockwork Orange (1971) garnered him death-threats.
  • In the 5th edition of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, 9 of Kubrick's films are listed.Kubrick only directed 13 in his career. Ranked #4 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Greatest directors ever!" 
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is hailed by many as the best ever made; an instant cult favorite, it has set the standard and tone for many science fiction films that followed. 
  • Kubrick had started pre-production on Full Metal Jacket (1987) in 1980, a full seven years before it was theatrically released. Wartime Lies" was abandoned when Steven Spielberg announced he would direct Schindler's List (1993), which covered much of the same material. 
  • Refused to talk about his movies on set as he was directing them and never watched them when they were completed. He rarely gave interviews. However he was loved by his family and friends.
  • Kubrick was infamous for his perfectionism, often requiring his actors to perform countless takes before he accepted their work and moved on. 1.3 million feet of film was shot for The Shining (1980) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999) which was in production for more than two years.
  • He was considered to be a well-read man with an extreme attention to detail. For his aborted film project on Napoléon Bonaparte, he had one of his assistants go to various bookstores to acquire every book he could find on the French emperor, and he returned with well in excess of 100. Kubrick read them all and astonished his associates.
  • Special effects technology had matured rapidly in the meantime, and Kubrick immediately began active work on Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001), but tragically suffered a fatal heart attack in his sleep on March 7th, 1999. After Kubrick's death, Spielberg revealed that the two of them were friends that frequently communicated discretely about the art of filmmaking.  Based on this relationship, Spielberg took over as the film's director and completed the last Kubrick project, AI.
  • How much of Kubrick's vision remains in the finished project -- and what he would think of the film as eventually released -- will be the final great unanswerable mysteries in the life of this talented and private filmmaker.
Kubrick's Quotes : 

"I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children anything, and by using fear as the basic motivation. Fear of getting failing grades, fear of not staying with your class, etc. Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker."

" I've never achieved spectacular success with a film. My reputation has grown slowly. I suppose you could say that I'm a successful filmmaker - in that a number of people speak well of me. But none of my films have received unanimously positive reviews, and none have done blockbuster business."

"Anyone who has ever been privileged to direct a film also knows that, although it can be like trying to write 'War and Peace' in a bumper car in an amusement park, when you finally get it right, there are not many joys in life that can equal the feeling."

                                           Love him or hate him, Stanley Kubrick is the influential director in the movie history. Kubrick is the true perfectionist.


Kumaran said...

Stanley Kubrick - No words to describe his visions.
One of my very favorite and most innovative film maker i ever found in years.
great thanks for your post about the genius.
all the best.

Deepak Karthik said...

personally, i don't like his movies, clockwork orange is the worst film i have ever seen, psychopath !
you described your views nicely !

vinay said...

Kubrick is one of my favorite directors. :)
And he was such a man that you either like him or hate him, there was no middle option about him and his films. :P
So Deepak, I can understand it buddy, many of my friends hate him too. :)