Stanley Kubrick: Early Life • Stanley Kubrick was born in New York in 1928. His father was a successful physician and the family lived in typical middle-class. • By his own admission, Kubrick was "a lonely child," and a "misfit in high school." His parents wanted him to become a doctor but he graduated with a 70% average which fell short of the grades needed for medical college.
Stanley Kubrick: Early Life • As a boy, he would go to the movie theatre twice a week to view the double features. • At the age of 13, his father bought him a still camera and he became fascinated by photography. He soon became an excellent amateur photographer, selling his pictures to magazines while he was in high school.
Stanley Kubrick: Early Career • After high school, he went to work for LOOK magazine, taking photos for $50 a week. • Using his knowledge of photography, in 1951 (age 23) he borrowed money from his father to direct a 16-minute documentary about boxing, called Day of the Fight. He made two more short documentaries, Flying Padre and The Seafarers while taking film classes at Columbia University to learn more about filmmaking.
Stanley Kubrick: Emerging Talent • He went on direct a couple of low-budget black/white features. On both, he performed his own camerawork, sound, and editing: Fear and Desire (1953) – a war drama; and A Kiss Before Dying (1955)– a crime noir. • After selling both for a small profit, Kubrick then teamed with producer James Harris and directed another crime noir, The Killing (1956), about a group of small-time crooks who rob a race track. It was this films that critics marked Kubrick as a upcoming talenteddirector with a unique visual style.
Stanley Kubrick: First Success • Finally, in Paths of Glory (1957), Kubrick was able to showcase his abilities with a higher budget. Based on a novel, the anti-war film starred Kirk Douglas, and examined the atrocities of WWI like no other film before. Paths of Glory Clip • It was initially banned in France and Germany and became the first of nearly all of Kubrick’s films that would be deemed controversial.
Stanley Kubrick: Big Break The success of Path’s of Glory led to Kubrick’s “big break” in Hollywood. Kirk Douglas helped in getting him hired for the high-budget Hollywood epic, Spartacus (1960.)
Stanley Kubrick: Big Break • Spartacus earned six Academy Award nominations, mainly in more technical categories, and took home four. • Though considered a major talent at the age of 32, Kubrick himself was not satisfied because the star, Kirk Douglas, was also the movie's producer, and Kubrick did not have absolute control of the production. He vowed never to make another film unless he was assured of total artistic freedom. • Kubrick left the U.S. for England in search of greater independence and control of his films. It was there that he worked for the remainder of his career, developing and producing meticulously crafted, yet markedly different films.
Stanley Kubrick: Controversial Films • His next film was Lolita (1962), an adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's controversial novel about a middle-aged man who develops an infatuation with a promiscuous 14-year-old girl. Lolita clip • Though the film was forced to be “watered down” by censorship rules, it earned several Oscar nominations and awards. It also established Kubrick as a director who created extremely controversial films.
Stanley Kubrick: Controversial Films • Kubrick’s next film ventured into political satire comedy: Dr. Strangelove (1964). • The story pokes satirical humor toward a very serious topic (especially at the time, during the Cold War): world destruction through nuclear bombs. Dr. Strangelove Clip
Stanley Kubrick: Controversial Films • Though many critics felt Dr. Strangelove was anti-American, the film was a hit with the younger generation, and today many think it is the best political satire of the 20th Century. • With the financial successes of Lolita and Dr. Strangelove , Kubrick earned the freedom to choose his own subjects and, more importantly, to exert total control over the filmmaking process. *A status virtually no other director had ever attained.
Stanley Kubrick: 2001: Masterpiece • Kubrick’s next project was an adaptation of Arthur C. Clark’s science fiction novel, 2001: A Space Odyssey. • Kubrick spent five years making the film, and was completed in 1969. A stark look at human evolution, technology and alien life, 2001 was a visually hypnotic film that contained little dialogue and few explicit explanations. However, it applied also groundbreaking special effects became the standard for science fiction films. 2001 clip
Stanley Kubrick: 2001: Masterpiece • Though 2001 received mixed reviews following its initial release, it’s positive attributes grew over time - as many Kubrick films had a tendency to do - into becoming what many considered to be the finest science fiction movies ever made, and arguably one of the best in any genre.
Stanley Kubrick: Anti-Establishment Maverick • Further cementing his anti-establishment reputation, Kubrick followed up A Clockwork Orange (1971), adapted from the novel by Anthony Burgess. • The story is set in the near future and follows an immoral punk who leads his gang on a series of ultra-violent assaults until he is captured by authorities and subjected to nasty behavior-modification therapy.
Stanley Kubrick: Anti-Establishment Maverick • With an initial X-rating, A Clockwork Orange opened to controversy due several acts of onscreen violence, including a brutal rape scene . • The film depicts extreme brutality in a highly stylized manner: unpredictable camera techniques, a strange made-up language that disrupts the narrative flow, and a classical music by Beethoven that disorients the viewer. (The hero also sings and dances to “Singing in the Rain” while beating a married couple senseless.) Clockwork Orange clip
Stanley Kubrick: Anti-Establishment Maverick • Many wanted the film banned from theaters. • British newspapers ran a series of "copycat" crimes allegedly inspired by the film, and blamed Kubrick for instigating violence • Kubrick and his family received death threats. • Still, A Clockwork Orange was a financial success and went on to be nominated for “Best Picture” by the Academy Awards.
Stanley Kubrick: Epic GenreInventor • Kubrick next directed epic period piece, Barry Lyndon (1975), a bold attempt to bring modern techniques to a story set in the 18th century. • Kubrick invented a new type of camera that used a deep focus lens designed by NASA. This allowed him to shoot with only natural candlelight, and made the film appear just like an 18th-Century painting and gave a dreamlike quality. It was the first time a film ever used only natural light.
Stanley Kubrick: Horror & War • Kubrick next adapted Stephen King's novel, The Shining (1980), a slow-moving, but hypnotic horror film. Next came the Vietnam War film, Full Metal Jacket (1987), another adaptation. Both employ Kubrick’s unique style (depth of field focus; high angles; slow- and fast-motion.) The Shining Clip Full Metal Jacket Clip • Neither film receive great critical praise, however, both won great financial success due to public popularity and they still remain cult classics today
Stanley Kubrick: Last Film • Kubrick’s last film was Eyes Wide Shut (1999), sexual psychodrama about a Manhattan doctor who gets drawn into a ritualistic sexual underworld after his admits to having fantasies about another man. • Kubrick died before its release. This film was also met with much controversy, especially when Warner Brothers digitally altered an orgy scene in order to receive an R-rating instead of the dreaded NC-17 tag.
Stanley Kubrick:Personality Traits • Though he did not attend college, Kubrick applied himself to the avid study of a wide range of books that would contribute to his intellectual development and knowledge of the world. • Beside photography, he loved to play chess, which fed his enthusiasm for abstract speculation, and his view of life as a game in which one wrong move could be fatal---a theme found in most of his films.
Stanley Kubrick:Personality Traits • Lived most of his adult life as a quiet recluse at a farm in England. • Obsessive about his work, meticulous toward detail, and took years of research to develop a movie. • During filming, he would go over every little detail (props; camera angles; design), and then take a high number takes for each scene to find the “perfect one.” • Individualist with full artistic freedom --- one of the few directors in history who were granted “final cut” of their films.
Stanley Kubrick:Style as a Filmmaker • His unconventional style of storytelling seemed to lack an emotional sense, which some critics considered as a problem. • All of his films (except the first two) were adaptations of novels or short stories. He co-wrote the screenplays for 11 of his films, always working with another screenwriter or even the novelist. • The themes in his films reflect a dark and pessimistic view of human beings, often examining their flaws and propensity for violence and sexual perversity.
Stanley Kubrick: Academy Awards • Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, and Barry Lyndon were all nominated for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. • 2001: A Space Odyssey received numerous technical awards, including best visual effects, which Kubrick (as director of special effects on the film) won. *This was Kubrick's only Oscar win.
Stanley Kubrick: Oscar Nominations (Major Awards) Best Adapted Screenplay - Full Metal Jacket Best Picture - Barry LyndonBest Director - Barry Lyndon Best Adapted Screenplay - Barry Lyndon Best Picture - A Clockwork OrangeBest Director - A Clockwork OrangeBest Adapted Screenplay - A Clockwork Orange Best Picture - Dr. StrangeloveBest Director - Dr. StrangeloveBest Adapted Screenplay - Dr. Strangelove Best Director - 2001: A Space OdysseyBest Adapted Screenplay - 2001: A Space Odyssey Best Special Effects Win - 2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick:Legacy and Influence • Many filmmakers (Spielberg; Sorsese; Coen Brothers) admit imitating Kubrick's inventive and unique use of camera movement and framing in their own films. • Others admit owing a debt to what Kubrick innovated with juxtaposing music and visual.
Stanley Kubrick: Legacy and Influence • Few American directors were able to work within the studio system of the American film industry with the independence that Stanley Kubrick achieved. By steadily building a reputation as a filmmaker of international importance, he gained full artistic control over his films, guiding the production of each of them from the earliest stages of planning and scripting through post-production. Kubrick was able to capitalize on the wide artistic freedom that the major studios have accorded him because he learned the business of filmmaking from the ground up.