APRIL 1999 | VOL. 3, NO. 4


FEATURES | Tribute to Stanley Kubrick

ALSO | Analyze This

LAST | Oscar Fervor
LAST | Shakespeare In Love


At a Glance

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Shining, The (1980)

Barry Lyndon (1975)

Clockwork Orange, A (1971)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Lolita (1962)

Spartacus (1960)

Paths of Glory (1957)

Killing, The (1956)

Killer's Kiss (1955)

Fear and Desire (1953)

Seafarers, The (1952)

Flying Padre (1951)

Day of the Fight (1950)



  In Memorium: Stanley Kubrick 1928-1999


On a sad note, the passing of a legend...

There was an interesting book called "The Making of Kubrick's 2001." It was an account of the logistics of filming, at the time (1968), a science fiction film with a ballooning budget. Such books were unusual, a book about the making of a movie? In 1968? Yet, of as much interest in the book was the discussion of symbolism in the film. What does the monolith mean? Hey, did you notice that the doorways on the Discovery spaceship are shaped liked coffins? Hundreds of interpretations from viewers on what it all meant to them, as if the film was a big, expensive $10 million Rorschach test.

Stanley Kubrick had so much confidence in his ability to communicate visually that the first spoken words in "2001: A Space Odyssey" occurred thirty minutes into the film. Above all, Kubrick was about realizing on film what he envisioned. This meant that he had director's cut. This meant that he understood every step of the film making progress, and it was said that if he hadn't been a director he would have been the most sought after cinematographer in the world. This meant that he would do 50 takes of a scene of a person crossing the street until he got what he wanted. This meant that he chose prerecorded music, so that he could hear and pick exactly what he wanted. This meant that he was a secret and private individual, a strong force behind the camera, but virtually nonexistent in front of it. He rarely did interviews, shunned promoting his films, and was an American living in voluntary exile in England. Perhaps it gave him the distance, the objectivity, the environment so he could create.

Yet, he understood the business of filmmaking. Despite the number of takes of a scene he would bring films in on time and under budget. He understood that he had to in order to exercise director's cut. He was accused of being emotionally detached in his films, of not caring about his characters and what happened to them. But perhaps it was because he was dealing with large issues, such as how war dehumanizes people, how technology makes us indecisive and complacent, how hypocrisy runs rampant in society. Maybe people's hopes, dreams, and problems get swallowed up in that, and maybe that was Kubrick's point. Kubrick was an auteur in the classic sense that Truffaut meant it, the principal author of a work.

When Kubrick was at the top of his form he was virtually incomparable. And even in films that didn't quite hit the mark there were always great scenes or passages that elevated the experience of the audience. Kubrick's aim was always high. He inspired people of great talent and others with almost none to strive for the highest potential of what you could be.

In the new world of film where marketing budgets frequently exceed the cost of making a film Kubrick was an anachronism. And "Eyes Wide Shut," his last film, which will be released in July, will mark the passing of an era.

TIM CLIFTON is Renaissance Online Magazine's staff movie reviewer.

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