Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Films of Stanley Kubrick: An Introduction

I would rank Stanley Kubrick as one of my three favorite directors of all time – right alongside Martin Scorsese and Alfred Hitchcock. His impact on film is immeasurable – his influence can be seen in countless other films. His reputation is based mainly on only 11 films – starting with 1956s The Killing and ending with 1999s Eyes Wide Shut. Kubrick took his time between films – it was common to see him take four or five years off between films, and between his second to last film, Full Metal Jacket, and his final one, that wait was over a decade. He was a perfectionist – often insisting on upwards of 100 takes for every shot in his movie. He wanted what he wanted, and he got it.

Although I rank Kubrick that highly, and have seen a number of his films five times or more, I realized it had been a few years since I revisited any of his work. Sometimes, I get so caught up in the new films hitting theaters or DVD or Netflix, that I don’t go back and revisit the films I have already seen often enough, But over the past few months, I have been hungry to revisit numerous Kubrick films – and decided that it was time to dust off this director retrospective series that has sat dormant for a few months since I finished looking at the work of Jim Jarmusch. Also although it has been available for a few years now, I still haven’t had a chance to see Kubrick’s long suppressed debut feature, Fear & Desire (1953), or his three documentary shorts he made leading up to that film.

So, this series will cover the 16 films – 13 features, and three shorts – of Kubrick’s career. As well, I plan to revisit some of the film connected to Kubrick, and his films, even though he didn’t direct them. After The Shining, I will almost certainly go back and watch last year’s brilliant documentary Room 237. After I have seen all of Kubrick’s film, I will probably revisit the documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001) and Steven Spielberg’s brilliant A.I.: Artificial Intelligence – that he took over for from Kubrick – and the film I have always believed to worthy of Kubrick, even though Spielberg made it his own. All of those will depend on availability and time constraints however. For now, well start with the three shorts and go from there.

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