skip navigation
Overview for Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick


TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (5)

Recent DVDs

A.I.:... Director Steven Spielberg's A.I. propels you into a future of astounding... more info $9.95was $14.99 Buy Now

Also Known As: Died: March 6, 1999
Born: July 26, 1928 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Bronx, New York, USA Profession: Director ... director producer screenwriter photographer


5. It took Kubrick¿s death for the film to get off the ground and it was eventually released in the following millennium. The film starred child actor Haley Joel Osment as a young android who sets off on a journey in a dystopian future in order to discover if he is anything more than just a robot. Hailed by most critics, who cited that Kubrick would have been pleased with the results, "A.I." benefited from the infusion of the director¿s bleak outlook and Spielberg¿s bright optimism ¿ all of which helped put a cap on Kubrick¿s brilliant cinematic career.nstead to inject stark humor into the script after seeing the inherent comedy in the idea of mutual assured destruction. Peter Sellers again was the star and this time played three distinct roles: a British attaché to a crazed American general (Sterling Hayden); the mild-mannered President of the United States, who tries to call off the attack while battling a gung-ho general (George C. Scott); and the titular Dr. Strangelove, a wheelchair-bound former Nazi scientist who routinely calls the president Mein Führer and struggles with a hand that wants to give the Nazi salute. With such classic moments as Seller¿s president breaking up a fight and declaring "Gentlemen, you can¿t fight in here. This is the war room," to the Air Force captain played by Slim Pickens waving his cowboy hat and riding to mankind¿s doom atop a falling nuclear bomb, "Dr. Strangelove" marked a true achievement for the director, who created what many considered to have been the best political satire of the 20th century.

Despite some moral backlash, the successes of "Lolita" and "Strangelove" earned Kubrick the freedom to choose his own subjects and, more importantly, to exert total control over the filmmaking process. The first product of this license was the science-fiction classic "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968). Having set out to make what he called the "proverbial good science fiction movie," Kubrick spent five years making "2001," which started with a collaboration with science fiction author, Arthur C. Clarke, who wrote his novel of the same name while penning the script with the director. A stark and often esoteric look at human evolution, technology and alien life, "2001" was a visually hypnotic film that contained little dialogue and few explicit explanations, but was chock full of filmic metaphors and groundbreaking special effects that remained industry standards for the next decade. Though it received mixed reviews following its initial release, "2001" 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. Featuring such memorable moments as a senior astronaut (Keir Dullea) killing the wayward Hal 9000, to that same character transforming from a human into an extraterrestrial life form, "2001" was without a doubt Kubrick¿s finest achievement.

Further cementing his anti-establishment reputation, Kubrick followed "2001" with "A Clockwork Orange" (1971), adapted from the novel by Anthony Burgess. Depicting a disturbing future set in totalitarian England, the film followed Alex (Malcolm McDowell), a Beethoven-loving amoral punk who leads his gang of droogs on a series of ultra-violent assaults until he is captured by authorities and subjected to nasty behavior-modification therapy. With an initial X-rating, "A Clockwork Orange" opened to come degree of controversy due several acts of onscreen violence, including a brutal rape scene that was made notorious by Alex singing "Singin¿ in the Rain" while beating a man and woman senseless. Forced to recut portions of the film, the director nonetheless displayed a highly visceral visual style punctuated by a camera that moved with an audacity unrivaled in contemporary cinema. Meanwhile, the film received high praise from critics and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Kubrick next directed "Barry Lyndon" (1975), a bold attempt to bring modern techniques to bear upon a narrative set in the 18th century. Kubrick spent as much technical effort and expertise recreating the lighting and imagery of William Makepeace Thackeray's novel, as he had done inventing a future in his two previous films. Although a commercial failure, "Barry Lyndon" fit logically into the Kubrick canon, a dour fable of humanity trapped in the same determinism that had colored his previous work. And much like his previous work, the film earned a greater appreciation long after its release, with some critics citing it as one of his finest films.

Notoriously taking a long time to make a movie, Kubrick next adapted Stephen King's horror novel "The Shining" (1980), a slow-moving, but hypnotic horror film about struggling writer Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), who serves as the winter caretaker to the remote Overlook Hotel, only to go mad and try to kill his naïve wife (Shelley Duvall) and telepathic son (Danny Lloyd). Thanks to Nicholson¿s manic performance, which included the famous line "Here¿s Johnny!" as he chops down a bathroom door with an axe to kill his wife, "The Shining" was the recipient of diametrically opposed reviews from critics and audiences. A financial success at the time of release, it eventually earned a better reputation over time. Meanwhile, Stephen King took issue with Kubrick¿s take on his material, saying that he actually hated the adaptation despite some memorable visuals because of the director¿s apprehension with tackling the novel¿s supernatural elements. Eventually, King¿s opinions about the film mellowed years later.

Kubrick waited seven years to release his next movie, "Full Metal Jacket" (1987), an adaptation of Gustav Hasford's Vietnam war novel The Short-Timers (1979) that was essentially two movies in one. The first section focused on Private Joker (Matthew Modine), who arrives at Marine basic training on Parris Island where the recruits endure a barrage of insults from their gunnery sergeant (R. Lee Ermey), leading to the mental disintegration and eventual suicide of a slow-witted grunt (Vincent D¿Onofrio). The second part followed Joker to the jungles of Vietnam, where he serves as a combat correspondent and comes across his fellow recruits, all of whom have turned jaded from seeing the horrors of war. Though compelling and well-acted, "Full Metal Jacket" paled in comparison to the tropical splendor of Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" (1979) and the emotional reality on display in Oliver Stone¿s "Platoon" (1986). More than 10 years passed until Kubrick allowed his next film "Eyes Wide Shut" (1999), starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, to see the light of day. True to form, the pedantic filmmaker labored excessively, assigning great importance to each and every image the camera would record and endlessly reshooting scenes until achieving the exact look he desired in this sexual psychodrama about a Manhattan doctor (Tom Cruise) who gets drawn into a ritualistic sexual underworld after his wife (Nicole Kidman) admits to having fantasies about another man.

On March 7, 1999, just four days after screening a final cut of "Eyes Wide Shut" for friends and family prior to its release, Stanley Kubrick died from a heart attack in his sleep. He was 70. Naturally, the director managed to court controversy even after his death when Warner Bros. took control of "Eyes Wide Shut" and digitally altered an orgy scene in order to receive an R-rating instead of the dreaded NC-17 tag. Some critics decried the studios decision to alter Kubrick¿s vision of the film, though it was eventually restored upon its release on DVD. Meanwhile, director Steven Spielberg directed "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" (2001), which Kubrick began developing as far back as the early 1970s. Throughout the ensuing decades, Kubrick had extended conversations with Spielberg about the project and eventually gave his blessing for him to direct it in 199

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute