Frequently Asked Questions.
While working as a still photographer for Look magazine in 1949, Kubrick shot a photo essay of a local New York boxer named Walter Cartier. He was fascinated with the art of filmmaking, and a year later decided to make a short documentary about the fighter, which Kubrick financed himself, entitled The Day of the Fight. He sold the film to RKO-Pathe for their documentary series This Is America, and made a $100 profit.
Day of the Fight (1950), about a middleweight boxers preparations for a fight.
Flying Padre (1951), about two days in the life of a priest who flew a single-engine plane around New Mexico to serve his parishioners.
The Seafarers (1953), an industrial film commissioned by the Seafarers International Union, about men who made a living working at sea, notable for being Kubricks first color film.
Fear and Desire (1952), a 68-minute allegorical film set during a fictitious war (loosely based on the Korean War). The story concerned four soldiers (including one played by future director Paul Mazursky [Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1985)]) trapped behind enemy lines and their attempts to escape and stay alive, only to find, in a surrealistic manner, that they have been fighting themselves all along.
Only Kubricks first two feature films, Fear and Desire and Killers Kiss, were based on original stories that he created (the former with Howard O. Sackler). When he teamed up with producer James B. Harris in the early 1950s, they began looking for literary properties to adapt, since that was Harris specialty and at that time it was easier for young filmmakers to get a film made based on an existing work.
Kubrick had always been a voracious reader and the success of his next few films convinced him that he was better at adapting stories that interested him rather than inventing his own material (although of course he made significant contributions to the finished screenplay on all of his films).
The Killing -- novel Clean Break by Lionel White.
Paths of Glory -- novel by Humphrey Cobb.
Spartacus -- novel by Howard Fast.
Lolita -- novel by Vladimir Nabokov.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb -- novel Red Alert by Peter George.
2001: A Space Odyssey -- short story The Sentinel by Arthur C. Clarke.
A Clockwork Orange -- novel by Anthony Burgess.
Barry Lyndon -- novel The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq., of the Kingdom of Ireland by William Makepeace Thackeray.
The Shining -- novel by Stephen King.
Full Metal Jacket -- novel The Short Timers by Gustav Hasford.
Eyes Wide Shut -- novella Traumnovelle by Arthur Schnitzler.
See Bibliography for more information.
There are three main reasons:
He was something of a perfectionist, and insisted that every element in a scene, down to the smallest detail, feel "right" to him before moving on.
Kubrick enjoyed having as many choices as possible in the editing of a film, and the more takes he had, the more choices he had.
By pushing actors beyond their normal limits, he usually could get them to do things within a scene that they normally would never think of, which often added layers of depth and meaning that otherwise would be missing.
Based on total time spent on principal photography (including reshoots), Eyes Wide Shut was Kubricks longest shoot, spanning a year and two months, from November 1996 to January 1998.
Barry Lyndon, with seven. The film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Costumes, and Best Adapted Musical Score.
Yes, just one, in 1968 for Special Visual Effects on 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Spartacus and Barry Lyndon, each with four. Spartacus won for Best Supporting Actor (Peter Ustinov), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, and Best Costumes. Barry Lyndon won for Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Costumes and Best Adapted Musical Score.
To date, The Shining has grossed approximately $65 million in U.S. theaters. 2001: A Space Odyssey is a close second at $56.7 million, with Eyes Wide Shut right behind at $55.6 million.
Kubrick himself often trimmed his films up to and even after they were released. He cut out a climactic cream-pie fight from Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb before the film was released and shot an entirely new ending.
He cut out 19 minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey after its New York premiere to speed up the pacing of certain scenes.
A year after its release, Kubrick trimmed some frames out of A Clockwork Orange to get the rating changed from an X to an R.
And he cut out an epilogue scene from The Shining after it had been playing in New York theaters for five days. Also, he cut another 20 minutes from this film for its international release.
However, since Kubrick made all these cuts himself, and since he had the right of final cut on almost all of his films, none of the cut footage mentioned above has been made available for any video or rerelease versions of any of the films. The international video version of The Shining does restore the 20 minutes cut from the theatrical release.
A.I. was a project that Kubrick began working on in the early 1990s. It was based on a short story titled Supertoys Last All Summer Long, by Brian Aldiss.
Kubrick worked with various writers on scripts for the project: namely Brian Aldiss, Bob Shaw, Ian Watson, and Sara Maitland.
Reportedly, the story is set in a future when most of the Earth is covered in water (similar to Waterworld ), and concerns the quest of a synthetic boy to become human (similar to Bicentennial Man ), with the tale covering over a thousand years.
Its also known that Kubrick worked with visual artist Chris Baker producing storyboards for the project.
Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan ) has chosen to direct A.I. as his next project. He is writing the script, slated to commence shooting in July with a summer 2001 release date in mind.
In addition to A.I., other notable projects Kubrick was known to have worked on or seriously considered in the years before his death were The Aryan Papers, a Holocaust-set story based on the novel Wartime Lies by Louis Begley, and Napoleon, an epic biographical film that Kubrick worked on throughout the late 1960s and early 70s, and continued to consider up until his death. At one time he considered having Jack Nicholson play the role of Napoleon.
In the early 1950s, Kubrick worked as a second unit director on the TV series Omnibus (1953-57), shooting footage for a series of episodes about the life of Abraham Lincoln. This was to help out the producer, Richard de Rochemont, who had helped Kubrick in the financing of his first feature film, Fear and Desire.
Between Paths of Glory and Spartacus, Kubrick worked with Marlon Brando for six months on the script for what would become Brandos directorial debut, the Western film One-Eyed Jacks.
We have listed a number of good resources in our bibliography section. Click here to read more.
It was widely rumoured that Kubrick appeared in the coffee-shop scene in Eyes Wide Shut, but this is not so. He never appeared in any of his films. However, his voice can be heard on the soundtrack of Full Metal Jacket as Murphy, an off-screen officer on a walkie-talkie, during the fighting in Hue City..
Kubrick only collaborated on one documentary. The Making of the Shining (1980), which was directed by his daughter Vivian. Many TV programs have looked at Kubrick and his work, but without his cooperation. Jan Harlan, Kubricks associate producer and brother-in-law, is currently producing a full-length documentary for Warner Bros. release next year.
In an interview, Kubrick once stated, "However good our best film composers may be, they are not a Beethoven, a Mozart or a Brahms. Why use music which is less good when there is such a multitude of great music available from the past and from our own time?"
Actually, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange and Barry Lyndon were the only films in which he primarily used classical music (The Shining contained a few classical pieces combined with an original score by Wendy Carlos).
On 2001, he originally hired composer Alex North, with whom he had worked on Spartacus, to write a symphonic score, but then changed his mind shortly before the film was released, preferring to use the classical pieces he had inserted as "temp tracks" during editing.
In A Clockwork Orange, classical music, particularly Beethovens Ninth Symphony, played an integral part of the story.
And on Barry Lyndon, Kubrick insisted that all music heard in the film be true to the time period of the story, namely the late 1700s, except for the Schubert trio, which he found particularly apt.
Kubrick first moved to England in 1960 to shoot Lolita because England was cheaper and because of the British governments EADY Plan that encouraged filmmaking.
Kubrick enjoyed England and thought highly of the British technicians. His next film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, was also made in England, and by this time he and his family had grown accustomed to living there.
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