January 2, 2017


Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) b. Bronx, NY, USA.

Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick was born in 1928 in New York City. Jack Kubrick’s decision to give his son a camera for his thirteenth birthday would prove to be a wise move: Kubrick became an avid photographer, and would often make trips around New York taking photographs which he would develop in a friend’s darkroom. After selling an unsolicited photograph to Look Magazine, Kubrick began to associate with their staff photographers, and at the age of seventeen was offered a job as an apprentice photographer. In the next few years, Kubrick had regular assignments for "Look", and would become a voracious moviegoer. In 1950 Kubrick sank his savings into making the documentary Day of the Fight (1950). This was followed by several short commissioned documentaries Flying Padre (1951), and The Seafarers (1952), but by attracting investors and hustling chess games in Central Park, Kubrick was able to make Fear and Desire (1953) in California. Despite mixed reviews for the film itself, Kubrick received good notices for his obvious directorial talents. Kubrick’s next two films Killer’s Kiss (1955) and The Killing (1956), brought him to the attention of Hollywood, and in 1957 directed Kirk Douglas in Paths of Glory (1957). Douglas later called upon Kubrick to take over the production of Spartacus (1960), by some accounts hoping that Kubrick would be daunted by the scale of the project and would thus be accommodating. This was not the case, however: Kubrick took charge of the project, imposing his ideas and standards on the film. Disenchanted with Hollywood and after another failed marriage, Kubrick moved permanently to England, from where he would make all of his subsequent films. Kubrick’s first UK film was Lolita (1962), which was carefully constructed and guided so as to not offend the censorship boards which at the time had the power to severely damage the commercial success of a film. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) was a big risk for Kubrick; before this, "nuclear" was not considered a subject for comedy. Originally written as a drama, Kubrick decided that too many of the ideas he had written were just too funny to be taken seriously. The film’s critical and commercial success allowed Kubrick the financial and artistic freedom to work on any project he desired. The next film completed was a collaboration with sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is hailed by many as the best ever made; an instant cult favourite, it has set the standard and tone for many science fiction films that followed. Kubrick followed this with Clockwork Orange, A (1971), which rivalled Lolita (1962) for the controversy it generated – this time not for only for its portrayal of sex, but also of violence. Barry Lyndon (1975) would prove a turning point in both his professional and private lives. His unrelenting demands of commitment and perfection of cast and crew had by now become legendary. Next Kubrick made an adaptation of a Stephen King novel: Shining, The (1980). Kubrick’s subsequent work has been well spaced: it was seven years before Full Metal Jacket (1987) was released. Seen by one critic as the dark side to the humanist story of Platoon (1986), Full Metal Jacket (1987) continued Kubrick’s legacy of solid critical acclaim, and profit at the box office. The 1990s has seen Kubrick collaborate with Brian Adliss on Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001), and begin filming Eyes Wide Shut (1999) with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman under unprecedented security and privacy.

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