WE MOURN THE PASSING OF THE GRAND
"He died before
he could witness the century he had already made famous with
2001: A Space Odyssey. Stanley wanted us to see his movies absolutely
envisioned them. He never gave an inch on that. He dared us to
courage of his convictions, and when we take that dare, we're
directly to his world, and we're inside his vision. And in the
of movies, there has been nothing like that vision ever. It was
a vision of
hope and wonder, of grace and of mystery. It was a gift to us,
and now it's
a legacy. We will be challenged and nourished by that for as
long as we keep
the courage to take his dare, and I hope that will be long after
our thanks and good-byes."
- Steven Spielberg
during the 71st Academy Awards
March 10, 1999
I spoke with my friend Robert Rehme, President
of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences - and was
told there will be a brief segment on Oscar Broadcast dedicated
to Stanley Kubrick. However, no posthumous award. It is against
- Arnold Leibovit
Stanley Kubrick by Arnold Leibovit
"The Grand Master of Filmmaking"
The sudden shocking news of the death of Stanley
Kubrick has left the film community breathless. Mr. Kubrick has
been a seminal influence in all of our lives. His movies are
benchmarks in cinema and often referred as the apex of our medium.
A little known fact about Stanley Kubrick
was how often he took the time to personally respond to letters
he received from around the world and from people he never knew
or met. I doubt there are many well known figures in filmmaking
today that can boast that claim. It says something extraordinary
about the man!!
For instance - Stanley Kubrick was kind enough
to allow me access to a print of 2001:A
Space Odyssey while doing my film tribute The
Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal. Taking the time to write
a note to me about its use and George Pal as an influence for
him with such films as The
Time Machine, Conquest of Space, War of the Worlds and others
was something I will always cherish. Roger Mayer, current President
of Turner Entertainment, was a top Exec at MGM at the time. Roger,
a big supporter of my George Pal efforts, arranged the communique
which prompted the positive response from Kubrick. Happily I
was able to use a pristine MGM print for the sequence in my tribute
to Pal. Thank you Stanley (and Roger!)
Kubrick's attention to detail, his thoroughness
in studying a subject, grasping the very essence of it for the
cinema - before, during and after a project is both awe-inspiring
and amazing! Arthur C. Clarke once remarked that two
hours talking with Stanley gave him a headache - not in a disparaging
way but just to point out how much more Kubrick knew about a
subject than he did. Kubrick's attention to detail was really
his great gift. Just look at the movies he made and it comes
through in every single frame.
Although often criticized for the time and
labor he took to devise his projects and shoot his scenes, it
is this very nature that defined a Kubrick movie. They were not
simply slices of boloney like so much junk Hollywood throws out.
He took the time, the care, the administrative effort to make
things right and strived not to be interferred with so he could
make it right.
Because of this Kubrick turned out one resonant image or sound
or effect after another. Afterall, being a director - a filmmaker
- a term that Stanley Kubrick surely defined - is choices. And
making the appropriate ones at the appropriate time is what it's
all about. No one but no one did it better than Stanley Kubrick.
I defy anyone hearing a musical theme from a Kubrick movie for
instance and not be instantly struck by the visual image Kubrick
conceived for that music in their heads. Often the two are indistinguishable
from the other. One might even remark - "isn't that the
way it's supposed to be." I think Kubrick got it right because
of the choices he made. He defined the medium he was working
in and created memorable resonant icons of music and images that
are simply unforgettable!
As a side note - I also know I am not the
only one who holds the opinion that somehow Hollywood turned
away from Kubrick because he refused to mingle in the Hollywood
scene and live in England. It is a sin that no Oscar was awarded
Stanley Kubrick as director while he was alive! I am certain
much will be made of this. Perhaps a nomination for "Eyes
Wide Shut" next year?
In July we can look forward to EWS
but it is most unfortunate we will see no more films from this
As we head into the coming milennium - so
close to his brilliantly visualized 2001 - it will be timely
to reflect upon this cinema genius. Much will be made about it
in the media. Probably re-releasing the film no doubt. All in all a testament
to the name Kubrick. A name that will ring out as one of the
great media influences of the 20th Century! His film legacy will
last long after all of us have passed on. A master. An original
It is unlikely we shall see another Stanley
Kubrick anytime soon. He will never be forgotten!!
As Steven Spielberg said in a press release
"He copied no one while all of us were
scrambling to imitate him. He created more than just movies.
He gave us complete environmental experiences..."
STANLEY KUBRICK BIOGRAPHY FOLLOWS
ARTICLES & RELEASES
Film World Honors Kubrick
Updated 3:00 AM ET May 17, 1999
By Nick Madigan
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Stanley Kubrick called
himself a "demented perfectionist," and there were
few who disagreed Sunday during a tribute to the late director
of gems like "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "A Clockwork
"His eccentricities were the ones of
an artist protecting his vision," said movie critic Richard
Schickel. "Other men broke under the strain of Stanley's
heedless pursuit of perfection.I suppose that, in the end, he
Sitting among the audience at the Directors
Guild of America were actors who worked for Kubrick, including
Jack Nicholson ("The Shining) and Keir Dullea ("2001");
and admirers like Steven Spielberg, Warren Beatty and Curtis
Warner Bros. co-chairman Terry Semel recalled
the "hundreds and hundreds of phone calls and thousands
of faxes" he received from Kubrick during their 30-year
collaboration. "I guess you could say he was unrelenting,"
Semel said, and the crowd laughed knowingly.
Semel said he spoke with Kubrick by phone
early on the day Kubrick died in his sleep -- March 7, in Harpenden,
England -- and that the director had been jubilant about his
latest film, "Eyes Wide Shut."
"He clearly went to bed with a smile
on his face," Semel surmised.
Vincent D'Onofrio, whose first film was "Full
Metal Jacket," remembered asking one day on the set why
there was a van full of people nearby.
"'Those are the London film execs,"'
Kubrick replied. "'They're not allowed to get out."'
During the making of "Dr. Strangelove,"
production designer Ken Adam said he drove Kubrick to the set
every day in his Jaguar E-type, "but Stanley insisted I
not drive above 30 miles an hour."
Adam described the Bronx-born director as
"a kind patriarch," revealing that Kubrick had once
spent hours helping him set up the lights for a scene in "The
Spy Who Loved Me."
Spielberg met Kubrick -- "a schlumpy-looking
man in ill-fitting clothes" -- on the London set of "The
Shining" in 1980. "'Saw your last movie, '1941,"'
Kubrick said to him. "'It was great, but it wasn't funny.
You should have sold it as a drama.' "
More recently, Spielberg said, "We were
actually going to do a picture together that he was going to
produce and that I was going to direct; I have 900 pieces of
fax paper on that project."
During a reception following the tribute,
Spielberg said he often sent Kubrick the first cuts of his movies,
even before the studios had seen them, but that Kubrick did not
reciprocate. "How come?" Spielberg asked him around
the time of "Full Metal Jacket."
"'Because that's who I am, and that's
who you are,"' Kubrick replied.
Beatty said Kubrick "navigated the currents
of idealism and the vulgarities of the marketplace better than
"Most of us were so shocked by his death
because we figured if anyone had it wired to live to 110 or 125,
it was Stanley," Beatty said.
Warners Hopes To Open 'Eyes' With Clips
Updated 3:00 AM ET May 17, 1999
By Susanne Ault
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Getting a jump on the
summer movie blitz, Warner Bros. is offering never-before-seen
clips of Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut" to media
outlets Monday, two months before pic's summer release July 16.
The hush-hush approach to the Tom Cruise-Nicole
Kidman sizzler's storyline hasn't changed much, however, and
no date has been confirmed for the release of the "Eyes"
But what has been set in stone is a 60-second
commercial spot for "Eyes," featuring the new clips
and set to air on NBC Thursday during "ER's" season-ender.
As for the content of the fresh footage, WB
senior publicity vice-president Nancy Kirkpatrick would only
say, "As always, Mr. Kubrick's film will speak for itself."
A MUST READ FOR
FOR ALL STANLEY KUBRICK FANS!!!!
LATEST RELEASE - UPDATED APRIL 2,
Two very different depictions of Stanley Kubrick
that appeared in the British Press. The Sara Maitland article
posted in "The Independent" is a previously unknown
Kubrick collaborator giving a detailed account of working on
A.I. in 1995. It may raise a few eyebrows. Then there appears
the following article in "The Guardian" in the Saturday
Review section. An article from another previously unknown Kubrick
collaborator, Candia McWilliam, who like Maitland is a British
short story writer, giving a detailed account of working with
Kubrick on "Eyes Wide Shut" in 1994.
These are wonderfully fascinating and all
at once rivetting and touching to read. This is not just a great
insight into the intensity of Kubrick's working methods but also
a beautifully written elegy. The Maitland article though sometimes
harsh resolves with that great sense of loss and regret for what
was never to be. One thing is clear. There was real genius at
- ARNOLD LEIBOVIT
Sci-Fi Station first learned of these articles
from Richard Fitzgerald - a Kubrick fan. Thanks for hunting this
down Richard! Credit also to Dave in England for his getting
"The Guardian" article scanned. Also thanks to John
Riggi and Scott Jones for forwarding the article to us, which
originally appeared in "The Independent."
You may wish to view Dave's very fine collection
of Stanley Kubrick images and articles:
Both Candia McWilliam and Sara Maitland articles
as they appeared in England follow.
The Guardian - March 13 1999
"There was an atmosphere nicely poised between a seance
Novelist Candia McWiIIiam on a rich, strange experience working
Stanley Kubrick on his last film, "Eyes Wide Shut."
Another great spirit gone, and this one, Stanley Kubrick,
protection offered to Iris Murdoch by the loving articulacy of
Bayley. Bayley's practical achievement for his wife, aside from
artistic achievement, was to protect her, by the appearance of
transparency, from speculation about her circumstances.
This has not been the case with Stanley Kubrick. Not that
without such love from his family, which is exceptionally close,
he had chosen to keep silence, in a society that is deafeningly
Now he is being punished for it.
With a man of reputation dead, there's a rush for the scraps
uncomfortably aware that a piece like this is, strictly, part
indecorum. But such stuff has been written about him these last
days that eventually, when asked, by one of the few people who
had had anything to do with him, to write something, I decided
would. The danger is that, like a cannibal eating the heart of
warrior to give himself courage, one is putting oneself first,
attempting to absorb something of the departed hero.
With Stanley, this wasn't possible. He had made himself into
being almost wholly absorptive, not reflexive. Not that he wasn't
reflective; he gave most of his time to serious thought. He took
in: he didn't waste time by generating dazzle. Not, again, that
couldn't, but he conserved every bit of energy that came.
Kubrick telephoned me one morning in 1994. It wasn't a complete
surprise because, with the unfailing manners he always showed
had asked my publishers first if he might have my telephone number.
Most gossip columnists, most geeks in search of a free quote,
He wondered if I might be interested in working with him and
I said I
didn't suppose l'd be very good at film. I continued in this
vein. But we talked for a long time on the telephone and quite
forgot to be anyone other than my truest self in apposition to
intelligence that was taking time to talk to me. I was won over.
long after that, a grey car of real, not showy, invisibility
collect me. It was driven by Emiio from Monte Casino, who like
everyone who worked with Stanley, used the word "we"
of the entire
family and included me at once in a world of long loyalties,
family ties and utter devotion to the man and his work - including
particular bending of time zones that Stanley needed to make
of his time on earth.
His sudden death, so much younger than his own father who
died in his
late nineties, proves he was right. Perhaps his body knew he
completed this last film, "Eyes Wide Shut," and simply
went to sleep for
good. The film, which is complete, was shown in New York to its
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman and the executives of Warner Brothers,
the week before Stanley died. Tony Frewin, who has been Stanley's
assistant for 35 years, whose father and son also worked for
told me that the film is absolutely finished. No other hand than
Kubrick's will cut nor polish it. It is his. Apart of it was
nearly - and how wide a gulf is 'nearly' in films - mine, for
the film he asked me to write and over which we worked in the
of 1994, with Emilio coming to get me and taking me to the house
Hertfordshire where Stanley would be waiting.
I read, in one of the many inaccurate reports this week has
that he was a great bear of a man. I am big, but even had I not
Stanley was delicate, little, even, with small hands and silky
hair. He, who was a mage of appearance, who could wring suggestion
from the merest milk-glass framed within the camera's eye, had
resigned from the timewasting presentation of himself. He was
self-disrespectful, but there was no sense of vanity. I heard
this week that that he was "arrogant"; only a vain
person could say
that of him. He had proper pride. He did not indulge in the false
modesty and writhing caringness of those who choose to waste
themselves in sucking up to the Zeitgeist.
We would sit opposite one another among machines in a darkish
There was a plate of biscuits we didn't eat, and once or twice
smoked, with distance, a cigarette that felt quite amateurish.
was an atmosphere poised nicely between a seance and a chess
the purest flirtation, of the sort you have with a beloved character
in a book, with no question of the vulgar imposition of the physical.
It was among the closest intellectual contact I've known.
construction of Stanley's brain was, to me who am solitary and
words and my eyes, like that of no other I have met. He was not
distractible, nor was he narrow. He was a master of extraction;
could pull from one what he needed to make his own ideas complete.
was, if the word, has meaning in a debased time, a genius. He
from one what he needed, but I didn't feel depleted. because
undivertable energy and strange openness refreshed my mind.
James Kirkup was right to say in his obituary in the Independent,
"for Kubrick the film-maker the sense of language did not
exist; and I
suspect that's one of the reasons my script failed him, but it
unforgettably fascinating for me to learn from him. He took the
of using a quantity of his remaining time to teach me from scratch
a script can be made.
A novelist can marshal and deploy, boss and organise, millions,
none of them complains, for they are his companions in loneliness.
film-maker has to accommodate the innumerable imperfections of
temperaments of others. Unless you assert your supremacy, the
between intervening personalities will ensure nothing gets done.
could not bear the idea of contact with other people to the degree
that Stanley, in his professional life, had it. It is no wonder
he told me that actors were machines for transmitting emotion.
If you create films, rather than plays, novels, poems, that
mimetic of what is most real about the human condition, you are
to need to find some solution to the gluiness of that condition
you make the films. Stanley found control, confidence, and discretion.
Instead of, like many directors, cultivating "profile",
he relayed the
third dimension. He is one of the few great artists who can manifest
He was baffled by what he I think saw as my unworldliness.
He asked me
once if I had ever been out to a party when I was younger. Quite
he had Tony bring me an enormous fax machine so that we could
touch at all times. It was like a piece of Stanley, whom it was
impossible to consider without machines - ticking, whizzing,
imparting, tallying - in the bedroom. He was bothered by how
went to bed, but considerate of an oddball who didn't stay up
I took him garden roses, which he gave to his wife, who is
of exciting, unpastoral, figurative works. He did not know the
names, but to look at them with him was to see through his eyes,
gift his film gives us; he looked not with the eyes, but with
mind. We sat in the big kitchen with his big yellow English dogs
agreed that life was hell and people wicked, and returned again
twists of the film, that deals with the blackest compulsions
It was like a game of visualisation. By the end of each time
we would be feeling out a mutual maze, practically beyond words,
our heads. I feared privately that my slight gift was too indirect
him to lean upon and so I wrote increasingly in a way not my
producing in the end a rank impersonation about which he was
kind. It was rotten, and I think often of how it should have
I been older then, and of how generous, tactful, encouraging
was this man who gave me such a lot of his time.
He also gave me a video of Full Metal Jacket. Emilio drove
Stanley rang to see how l was enjoying it. I told him it was
and that I could only watch it in bursts. The appalling thing
wasn't trying to be cheap or flip. It was true. He laughed, and
spoke of other things. That egoless behaviour would be uncommon
celebrity chef, leave alone one of the greatest film directors
Stanley Kubrick, whose funeral was quiet, whose guide perfection,
amused by the definition of oblivion offered by Ambrose Bierce
Devil's Dictionary: "Oblivion (noun): fame's eternal dumping
The master recognised the difference between the grand illusion
film and the great illusion of fame. He would not peddle aversion
himself through interview or photo session to our Hello-drugged
inattentive eyes. He gave us his work. I asked him what geniuses
known. Peter Sellers, he said, and Nabokov. One other I can't
And he went on to describe Madame Nabokov, with a little ruby-inlaid
pistol in her hand-bag. I don't know whether it was true or untrue,
but he'd spoken me a frame of film.
Candia McWilliam's latest book is the collection of short
Wait Till I Tell You, published by Bloomsbury, £14.99,
copyright The Guardian.
The Independent: "My Year With Stanley"
By Sara Maitland on her working with Stanley Kubrick on "A.I."
One morning in 1995 the telephone rang. I answered and a gruff
"This is Stanley Kubrick. Would you like to write a film
script for me?"
Assuming this was a joking friend, I replied, 'And this is Marilyn
I've been dead 30 years." He laughed. It really was Stanley
This slightly surreal episode was the beginning of one of
the most exciting,
frustrating, confusing and educational periods of my professional
life. For a
brief time I was Stanley Kubrick's scriptwriter.
Why you? I am asked with unflattering amazement. Without undue
I was rather a sound choice. He wanted me to work on the long-promised
"Kubrick's Al film," although he always called it "Pinocchio".
He was fascinated
by Artificial Intelligence. He wanted to effect a cultural change.
If robots are
made by us and act like us, why are they not our children? He
about Blade Runner, that if it was that difficult to determine
who was a replicant
- why did it matter? Why do they have to be hunted down? He believed
computers will become truly intelligent, including emotionally
potentially a more environmentally adaptable form of human being:
our future. The film was intended to make us love them.
By the time I came to the project it had become enormous,
unfocused. Kubrick needed some through-line of fairy tale, of
plot. He was creating a new myth and needed someone who was at
myth and how it works. At the same time, the technology and the
scale - which
spanned at least three millennia - were overwhelming the story.
It needed a
writer who dealt with the little, the nuances of interrelationship,
of the minute
movements of human hearts and especially since maternity was
theme, of women's hearts. Kubrick had encountered my short stories
recognised that that is what I do. I write about the underbelly
emotions in the framework of myth and fairy story.
He did not want an experienced scriptwriter. He wanted a storyteller.
told him I had never seen a film script, he was delighted. He
wanted a running
text, not a script: filming it was his job. He boasted that there
was no sentence
in the English language which he could not make into film. We
played a game
in which I had to come up with unfilmable sentences. "She
her anger" was one that gave him pause.
He wanted sentences to film. Sadly I could not deliver for
him. He wanted to
make this film, really wanted to; I wanted to write it. So why
didn't it work? I am
not sure now that it was makeable: he had played with it too
long so that it had
to be perfect and at that scale nothing is going to be perfect.
Perhaps he could
turn anything into film, but this presupposed an infinity of
time and resources..,
and even then it may not be possible to invent a myth in that
It didn't work between him and me because I was not the right
sort of writer. I
have to write out ideas to be confident of them; he had to be
ideas very quickly before he wanted time spent on them. I need
silence and time; he wanted engagement and immediacy (and obedience).
had the wrong size of ego: too large to hand my creative skills
over to him
passively too small to believe I could sometimes know better
But it also did not work because he was impossible to work
for. This is part of
the Kubrick myth. It was also true. He had more energy than anyone
ever met. He dedicated himself to the project and he expected
around him to do so too. While his energy was directed at our
work he would
ring up repeatedly at ridiculous hours, wanting total attention,
now. He was
completely involved and did not understand that anyone might
work in a
different way. Once, when we were stuck, I managed to say that
I and the story
needed some space. How long? he asked. A month, I suggested.
at me and said, "I couldn't." Then he laughed and,
in an unusual moment, told
me everyone who had ever written for him had asked for the same
he had come to realise he just could not leave his project with
for that long. We finally negotiated 10 days. We parted and I
barely an hour away By the time I got there there were three
him on my answer machine: all of them demanding an immediate
There was no apology, no mention of our recent agreement.
He was famously arrogant. I asked him once how he imagined
would look in a few thousand years. "However I make them
look in this film,"
he said. I felt envious, not aggrieved, by this. I admired his
sense of his own
power. Because he was arrogant, he got the films made.
He was also supposed to be paranoid, and sometimes I did wonder.
compact, bearded, often wearing a boiler suit he did not look
who abhorred physical contact, but at our first meeting he conspicuously
avoided even the customary handshake; I never saw him touch another
person. He loathed journalists, especially British journalists.
In a conversation
I mentioned a friend of mine was a journalist. "Do you know
journalists?" he demanded. "Yes." "If I'd
known that," he said calmly "I'd have
had a non-contact clause in your contract."
He was profoundly secretive. There was a silencing clause
in my contract - I
could not talk about the film. I now suspect that lots of other
writers worked on
this project: but he would never say who or what or why they
had stopped, or
even if they had stopped. I would like to meet other people who
tried to write
this story with him; and discuss what film we all thought we
towards. The idea of our getting together would have appalled
him. Once I left
a message about the script with his PA and got a tremendous ticking
about work I could talk only to him.
But does this constitute paranoia in any clinical sense? He
was busy and he
was reclusive; he protected his privacy Inside his protective
cordon he was
warm and friendly and his large household was relaxed and friendly
rather unromantically between Luton and St Albans, in the house
built for the founder of Maples furniture store: an Edwardian
pomposity set in
large grounds. His "office" was the old billiards room,
unaltered with the scoreboard still on the wall and replicas
of the original
heavy velvet curtains. Only the billiard table itself had been
replaced at one end of the room by a desk and at the other by
awe-inspiring and, to me, mysterious, bank of film-stuff: TV
and electronic wizardry.
On a couple of occasions we went from there through a warren
quarters to the enormous kitchen-cum-sitting-and-dining-room.
central kitchen-island each of the half-dozen dogs had a recessed
bed. It was
very like my kitchen would be if I was rich and famous. The whole
including the staff, seemed to drift through these informal lunchtimes.
chatty fun, normal.
He was one of the best talkers I have ever met, flamboyant
with his ideas,
interested in yours, widely read, fiercely intelligent and demanding;
seriously funny on a good day But in the end he was interested
in the film, not
in me. He was savagely impatient. He could be rude when thwarted,
minor matters. Eventually it became clear that I wasn't giving
him what he
wanted. I began to feel bullied instead of excited, less and
less able to wheel
as he wanted, less and less eager to do so. I started to grumble
to my friends,
while feeling a failure.
One day he handed me a book called Viennese Novelettes by
must read "Rhapsody", it was a wonderful story, it
would make a wonderful
film. So I read it and it didn't grab me. That was the end. It
had grabbed him. (I
now know it had grabbed him 20 years ago, but he spoke as though
only read it the night before.) It is the basis of Eyes Wide
was on hold. The cheque for completion of my contract arrived
and I never
heard from him again.
That sort of thing makes people angry. This week someone said
was a great director but a "failed human being". I
recognise the feeling, but
know for me that is a defensive reflex: it means he failed to
love me or, rather,
my work. Kubrick made some great films, marked as his, in an
old-fashioned way He had a long-lasting marriage and his numerous
liked him. He adored his grandchildren; they were perhaps the
topic he ever mentioned. I wouldn't mind being that sort of failure.
I thought I was angry, until I heard he had died. Then I realised
that I hadn't
really quite given up hope that when he had finished this little
film, he would
come back to the big one; he would ring up again one day and
let me work
with him - and even though it would be horrible and frustrating
again, I would
I am proud that I worked for him. He made me interested in
flim writing - I
know I want to do so again. And l am sad; I think we have lost
Cruise, Kidman attend Kubrick's funeral in
(Last updated 7:39 PM ET March 12 - Reuters/Variety)
By Matthew Green
CHILDWICK GREEN, England (Reuters) - Screen stars Nicole Kidman
and Tom Cruise joined Stanley Kubrick's family at his English
mansion Friday to pay their last respects to the controversial
American film director.
Fellow director Steven Spielberg also was among a select group
of mourners who attended a secretive funeral service in the tranquil
surroundings of Childwickbury Manor in Hertfordshire, just north
The world's media was kept well away from the manor but did
see Cruise, unshaven and wearing his trademark sunglasses, and
his wife, Kidman, holding hands as they raced past in a chauffeur-driven
The couple star in "Eyes Wide Shut," the last film
made by Kubrick, a man whose uncompromising portrait of violence
won him acclaim and criticism.
Previews of the erotic thriller were released in the United
States this week, showing the Cruise and Kidman in a steamy sex
Spielberg, momentarily silhouetted by a thousand camera flashes,
followed in a black Mercedes, dressed in a dark suit and sunglasses.
A gentle drizzle was falling as other guests drove through
the gates of the red-brick house where Kubrick died Sunday, at
the age of 70.
Kubrick, whose films included "2001: A Space Odyssey,"
"A Clockwork Orange," "Dr. Strangelove" and
"Full Metal Jacket," was acclaimed for his direction,
but his perfectionism often drove actors to distraction.
The director lived a reclusive life, and security was tight
at his home, surrounded by a high hedge and red signs warning
that trespassers would be prosecuted.
Residents in picturesque houses near Kubrick's centuries-old
mansion said they rarely saw the director who had been their
neighbor for 20 years.
"We've lived here a long time, and we've only seen him
three or four times," said one woman.
A local man told reporters: "He was a very good lord
of the manor."
(March 11, 1999 Reuters/Variety) By Dan Cox
and Michael Fleming
LAS VEGAS (Variety) - With an eye-opening 90-second teaser
that featured more explicit nude footage of Nicole Kidman than
the entire Broadway run of "The Blue Room," Warner
Bros. unveiled the first glimpse of Stanley Kubrick's final film
"Eyes Wide Shut" on Wednesday.
The footage, which consisted of a passionate makeout scene
between Kidman and husband Tom Cruise in full monty regalia,
was shown to movie theater owners during their annual ShoWest
The event was presided over by WB co-chairman Terry Semel,
who nearly broke down while introducing the Kubrick trailer.
"Last Tuesday, (fellow co-chairman) Bob Daly, Nicole, Tom
and I had the extraordinary pleasure of seeing Stanley's final
cut in New York City," Semel said. "We were blown away."
Semel described it as the exploration of sexual obsession
of a married couple. Though word of the screening led to speculation
that the film might have difficulty at ratings time, Semel assured
the exhibitors, "This will clearly be a film that will be
rated R, with a great story and performances that are truly electrifying."
Semel, who'd spoken with Kubrick hours before the director's
death on Sunday, got emotional when he spoke of the sudden death.
Ever the perfectionist, Kubrick prepared the teaser just for
ShoWest and gave Semel explicit direction on exactly how to introduce
Combined Newswire Press Releases as of March
By Arthur Spiegelman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The death of Stanley
Kubrick robbed the film world Sunday of one of its towering masters
and came just as he completed his latest opus, "Eyes Wide
Shut," a star-studded project shrouded in secrecy.
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, who starred
in "Eyes Wide Shut," said they were "devastated"
and famed director Steven Spielberg called Kubrick "the
grand master of filmmaking."
Stanley Kubrick, was one of the few directors
in film history who could rightfully be called a genius. The
iconoclast behind such classics of modern cinema as "2001:
A Space Odyssey" and "A Clockwork Orange" was
In keeping with Kubrick's famously reclusive
reputation, few details of his death were released, but he reportedly
died of a heart attack in his sleep at his home in Hertfordshire,
25 miles northwest of London.
Police said there were no suspicious circumstances
surrounding Kubrick's death,and his family said there would be
no further comment.
The death of the legendary filmmaker comes
just a few months before the release of "Eyes Wide Shut,"
his zealously guarded psychosexual thriller starring Tom Cruise
and Nicole Kidman.
The film, his first since 1987's "Full
Metal Jacket," was shown to Warner Bros. execs for the first
time just last week in New York. As always, Kubrick maintained
complete control over his work, whisking the print back to London
as soon as the screening ended.
In a statement, Cruise and Kidman, who gave
up more than a year of their busy lives for the chance to work
with Kubrick, said, "He was like family to us, and we are
shocked and devastated. We did see the movie, and it was completed
except for final looping and mixing. We are thankful to have
had the opportunity to share this experience with him. He was
a true genius, a dear friend, and we will greatly miss him."
Steven Spielberg called Kubrick "the
grandmaster of filmmaking. He copied no one,while all of us were
scrambling to imitate him. He created more than just movies.
He gave us complete environmental experiences that got more,
not less, intense the more you watched his pictures."
Kubrick's perfectionist style was much in
evidence during the filming of what would be his final opus,
"Eyes Wide Shut." He obsessed over every shot, reportedly
having his stars do dozens of takes for each scene, and calling
them back to the London set (he never worked far from home after
1961) for reshoots months after filming had supposedly ended.
The fate of "Eyes Wide Shut," which
is due in theaters on July 16, remains unclear, although a spokeswoman
for Warner Bros. insists it will be released as planned. Studio
heads Terry Semel and Robert Daly said in a statement that they
are "deeply saddened by the loss" of Kubrick, whom
they called "a towering figure in the world of film and
a deeply loved and respected member of the Warner family for
nearly three decades" The two say Eyes Wide Shut is "a
fitting close to a tremendous career. It is a tribute to a remarkable
and unforgettable man. We will miss him very much."
The Bronx-born Kubrick created such film classics as "2001:
A Space Odyssey," (1968) "Lolita" (1962), "A
Clockwork Orange" (1971) and "Dr. Strangelove"
While his films had dark, pessimistic overtones,
Kubrick made everything from comedies -- most notably "Dr
Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb"
-- to science fiction, "2001," to costume dramas, like
"Barry Lyndon" (1975). His World War I drama, "Paths
of Glory" (1957), is considered one of the classics of the
genre. "He was in the pantheon of great film making. He
did so many things so well and raised the bar for film from special
effects to the use of music, said Daily Variety film expert and
critic Leonard Klady.
When he died, the reclusive Kubrick was in
post-production on "Eyes Wide Shut" his long-awaited
latest film which, like his other projects, was filmed over a
long period of time and amidst great secrecy. The drama's initial
shoot lasted a grueling 15 months from November 1996 through
Jan. 31. Then Kubrick announced last April he was bringing back
key cast members for reshoots.
was known to control every aspect of his films, dictating what
color ink should be used to write on materials sent to him. "He
was truly consumed with every aspect of production," Klady
Spielberg said Kubrick's reputation as a recluse
was undeserved and that really he was a "great communicator."
"When we spoke on the phone, our conversations lasted for
hours. He was constantly in contact with hundreds of people all
over the world."
Jack Nicholson, who worked with Kubrick on
"The Shining," once said of the filmmaker, "He
gives new meaning to the word 'meticulous.'" But it was
this care and exactitude that made his filmmaking, as sporadic
as it was, so unique and daring.
Brooklyn-born Kubrick began his career as a photographer for
LOOK magazine in the late '40s, making his directorial debut
with the 16-minute documentary "Day of the Fight,"
about boxer Walter Cartier, in 1951.
"I was aware I didn't know anything about
making films," Kubrick once said, "but I believed I
couldn't make them any worse than the majority of films I was
seeing. Bad films gave me the courage to try making a movie."
Kubrick's feature film debut came in 1953
with the war drama "Fear and Desire," which he also
produced, edited, and served as director of photography. Kubrick
made the picture for only $100,000, and its take on the morality
of war was a theme he would return to again and again.
returned to the front lines with the 1957 anti-war film "Paths
of Glory," which starred Kirk Douglas as a soldier during
World War I sent on a suicide mission. The brutally realistic
film was not only a gripping indictment of the injustice of war,
but it cemented Kubrick's reputation as a bold new talent behind
In 1960, Kubrick took over the helm of the
behemoth that was "Spartacus" from Anthony Mann, at
the time the most expensive film ever made. The director was
praised for his efforts, not only for the jaw-dropping scope
of the Kirk Douglas Roman slave epic but for its dramatic structure
and studied performances.
But "Spartacus" was to be his last studio
film, and when Kubrick made 1961's Lolita in London, he decided
to stay there, signing a unique pact with Warner Bros. that gave
him complete control over every aspect of his pictures.
"I like being away from the Hollywood
phoniness," Kubrick told Newsweek in 1987. "When I
lived there people would ask how's it going, and you knew that
what they hoped to hear was that you were behind schedule or
had trouble with a star."
Kubrick's interpretation of Vladimir Nabokov's
controversial novel about a middle-aged man obsessed with a 12-year-old
nymphet received mixed reviews, as would many of his
pictures. Kubrick later complained that censors did not allow
him to delve too deeply into the more salacious aspects of Humbert
Humbert's relationship with "Lolita," who was aged
two years for the film.
But the ironic humor on display in Lolita
was out in force on Kubrick's next effort, "Dr. Strangelove
or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" (1963).
The nuclear war satire, made at the height of the cold war and
originally conceived as a serious meditation on nuclear holocaust,
cemented Kubrick's reputation as an emotionally detached director,
who was not concerned with giving his audience a warm and fuzzy
With the success of "Lolita" and
"Dr. Strangelove," Kubrick was given free rein over
his projects, and soon chose to bring Arthur C. Clarke's short
story The Sentinel to the screen. "2001: A Space Odyssey"
(1968), which was more than three years in the making, was so
unlike anything that had come before it that one critic called
it "the world's most expensive underground movie."
But while the seminal sci-fi film's technical
brilliance was hailed, its dense story line and minimal dialogue
originally left many critics cold, although within a few years
they started to come around. Spielberg called it "the Big
Bang that inspired my generation's race to space."
was followed by the nightmarish "A Clockwork Orange"
(1971), in which violence-prone anti-hero Malcolm McDowell makes
his way through a futuristic society gone bad. Reaction to the
film, with its bold camera work and cynical message, was sharply
divided (Anthony Burgess, on whose book the film was based, publicly
criticized the work), and Kubrick removed it from release in
Britain after it was blamed for inspiring copycat violence.
who didn't always have kind words for Kubrick ("Extraordinary.
Yes. Brilliant, yes. But as a human being - that's the test he
doesn't do too well"), said he was "deeply saddened
by his death" and called him one of the "heavyweights
of my life."
In the costume drama "Barry Lyndon,"
released in 1975 and starring Ryan O'Neal, Kubrick again explored
morality and innovative camera work (he used special photographic
equipment for the candlelit scenes), but the film, based on William
Thackery's 19th century novel, was a commercial disappointment.
His fortunes changed in 1980 with the adaptation of
Stephen King's "The Shining," starring Jack Nicholson
as a writer who moves with his family to an isolated hotel. While
many complained that the movie failed to capture the terror of
the book, it's still trademark Kubrick, with his shots of the
immense hotel capturing the sense of claustrophobia and Nicholson's
over-the-top performance ("Here's Johnny!") bringing
the audience with him as he descends into madness.
It was to be seven years before Kubrick's
next effort, 1987's "Full Metal Jacket." The film,
again a chilling look at how war dehumanizes and corrupts men,
begins onParris Island, where the recruits are put through the
hell of basic training. It then moves to Southeast Asia, although
since Kubrick wasn't about to leave home, London had to fill
in, not always to the best effect.
already known as a hard-driving director, didn't change his image
on "Full Metal Jacket." He was known to be hard on
actors, and one story from the set of his Vietnam War drama,
"Full Metal Jacket" had it that when he asked actors
who wanted to volunteer to die early in the movie, almost the
entire cast raised their hands.
One volunteer who was selected found that
he then had to lie around playing a corpse in the mud for three
months. Still, actors, directors, producers, movie fans and critics
all respected Kubrick's vision and ability to tell a story on
Kubrick never intended "Eyes Wide Shut"
to be his final film, and was reportedly interested in two projects:
AI, a film about artificial intelligence that was billed as one
of the most technically challenging project ever attempted; and
a biopic on Napoleon.
And while Kubrick, who never won an Academy
Award for Best Director, may have lived his life out of the public
eye, he was far from out of touch, telling Newsweek, "The
general picture is that I'm a recluse surrounded by high walls
and computers who wears a football helmet while driving at 30
miles an hour and has a helicopter spray his garden."
1997, upon accepting (on videotape) the D.W. Griffith award from
the Directors Guild of America, Kubrick said, "Anyone who
has ever been privileged to direct a film also knows that, although
it can be like trying to write War and Peace in a bumper car
in an amusement park, when you finally get it right, there are
not many joys in life that can equal the feeling."
Kubrick is survived by his wife, Christiane,
and three daughters, Katharine, Anya and Vivian.