148. STANLEY KUBRICK answers a question
Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) was a filmmaker responsible for classic movies such as Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining and Full Metal Jacket.
Growing up in the Bronx in New York, Kubrick was terrible at school and often skipped class to go to the movie theatre. He soon developed an interest in photography, teaching himself how to use the camera his father gave him as a gift. Similarly, Kubrick didn’t have any formal education in directing and taught himself all aspects of filmmaking. Kubrick on making his first short film, Day of the Fight in 1951:
“I was cameraman, director, editor, assistant editor, sound effects man—you name it, I did it. It was invaluable experience, because being forced to do everything myself I gained a sound and comprehensive grasp of all the technical aspects of filmmaking.”
By the age of 31, Kubrick had already worked as a photojournalist at Look magazine for five years (check out some of his amazing photos) and directed four feature films. In 1960, he was hired to direct the most-expensive film ever made at the time, Spartacus. Kubrick butted heads with Kirk Douglas, the leading-man and producer, over the film’s direction and the bad experience made Kubrick vow that he would have complete creative control on all of his future films.
Kubrick is often described as an eccentric thanks to the stories about his obsessive attention to detail, treatment of actors, personality quirks and reclusiveness. But these anecdotes are overshadowed by his ground-breaking movies, technical expertise and the opinions of those close to him, who described him as a warm, loving and gregarious genius of a man.
The quote used in the comic is taken from a 1968 Playboy interview Kubrick did soon after the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey. You can read the context of the question in this Brain Pickings article.
– Watch this awesome 11-minute tribute video to Kubrick (NSFW).
– The recent documentary Room 237 claims that the visual effects Kubrick pioneered in 1968 for 2001: A Space Odyssey was just a dress rehearsal for his most ambitious ‘film’: the 1969 Apollo moon landing. The film argues that Kubrick was in cahoots with the United States Government and faked the moon landing. Kubrick was so guilt-ridden he left clues in his next movie, The Shining, which gave away his involvement. I don’t believe the claim, but it’s a fascinating documentary and it makes a pretty convincing argument.
– It’s recently been announced that Steven Spielberg will be turning Kubrick’s unrealised movie Napoleon, often referred to as ‘the best film never made’, into a TV miniseries.
– Spielberg and Scorsese on Kubrick.
– Thanks to Anthony and Max for submitting this quote.