Nationality: American. Born: New York, 26 July 1928. Education: Attended New York City public schools; attended evening classes at City College of the City University of New York, 1945. Family: Married 1) Toba Metz, 1947 (divorced, 1952); 2) dancer Ruth Sobotka, 1952 (divorced), one daughter; 3) actress Suzanne Christiane Harlan, 1958, two daughters. Career: Apprentice photographer, Look magazine, New York, 1946; made first film, 1950; formed Harris-Kubrick Productions with James Harris, 1955 (dissolved 1962); worked on One-eyed Jacks with Marlon Brando, 1958; planned film on Napoléon, 1969; moved to England, 1974. Awards: Best Direction, New York Film Critics Award, and Best Written American Comedy (screenplay) Award (with Peter George and Terry Southern), Writers Guild of America, for Dr. Strangelove , 1964; Oscar for Special Visual Effects, for 2001 , 1968; Best Direction, New York Film Critics, for A Clockwork Orange , 1971; Best Direction, British Academy Award, for Barry Lyndon , 1975; D.W. Griffith Award, Directors Guild of America, 1997; Life Achievement Award, Venice Film Festival, 1997; Special Prize, National Society of Italian Film Critics, for Eyes Wide Shut , 1999. Died: 7 March 1999.
Day of the Fight (doc) (+ pr, sc, ph, ed); Flying Padre (doc) (+ sc, ph)
The Seafarers (+ ph); Fear and Desire (+ pr, co-sc, ph, ed)
Killer's Kiss (+ co-pr, co-sc, ph, ed)
The Killing (+ co-pr, sc)
Paths of Glory (+ co-pr, co-sc)
Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (+ pr, co-sc)
2001: A Space Odyssey (+ pr, co-sc, special effects designer)
A Clockwork Orange (+ pr, sc)
Barry Lyndon (+ pr, sc)
The Shining (+ pr, co-sc)
Full Metal Jacket (+ pr, co-sc)
Eyes Wide Shut (+ pr, co-sc)
Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange , New York, 1972.
Full Metal Jacket , New York and London, 1987.
Eyes Wide Shut , New York, 1999.
"Bonjour, Monsieur Kubrick," interview with Raymond Haine, in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), July 1957.
"Words and Movies," in Sight and Sound (London), Winter 1961.
"How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cinema," in Films and Filming (London), June 1963.
"Kubrick Reveals All," in Cinéaste (New York), Summer 1968.
"A Talk with Stanley Kubrick," with Maurice Rapf, in Action (Los Angeles), January/February 1969.
"What Directors Are Saying," in Action (Los Angeles), January/February and November/December 1971.
"Kubrick," an interview with Gene Phillips, in Film Comment (New York), Winter 1971/72.
Interview with Phillip Strick and Penelope Houston, in Sight and Sound (London), Spring 1972.
Interview with Michel Ciment, in Positif (Paris), June 1972.
"Something More," an interview with Gordon Gow, in Films and Filming (London), October 1975.
"Stanley Kubrick's Vietnam," an interview with Francis Clines, in New York Times , 21 June 1987.
Austen, David, The Cinema of Stanley Kubrick , London, 1969.
Agel, Jerome, The Making of Kubrick's 2001 , New York, 1970.
Kagan, Norman, The Cinema of Stanley Kubrick , New York, 1972, revised edition, 1993.
Walker, Alexander, Stanley Kubrick Directs , New York, 1972.
Devries, Daniel, The Films of Stanley Kubrick , Grand Rapids, Michi-gan, 1973.
Phillips, Gene, Stanley Kubrick: A Film Odyssey , New York, 1977.
Ciment, Michael, Kubrick , Paris, 1980, revised edition, 1987, New York, 1984.
Kolker, Robert Philip, A Cinema of Loneliness: Penn, Kubrick, Coppola, Scorsese, Altman , Oxford, 1980, revised edition, 1988.
Coyle, Wallace, Stanley Kubrick: A Guide to References and Resources , Boston, 1980.
Nelson, Thomas, Kubrick: Inside a Film Artist's Maze , Bloomington, Indiana, 1982.
Hummel, Christoph, editor, Stanley Kubrick , Munich, 1984.
Brunetta, Gian Piero, Stanley Kubrick: Tempo, spazio, storia e mondi possibili , Parma, 1985.
Magistrale, Anthony, et al., The Shining Reader , New York, 1991.
Falsetto, Mario, Stanley Kubrick: A Narrative and Stylistic Analysis , Westport, Connecticut, 1994.
Corliss, Richard, Lolita , London, 1994.
Falsetto, Mario, editor, Perspectives on Stanley Kubrick , New York, 1996.
Baxter, John, Stanley Kubrick: A Biography , New York, 1997.
LoBrutto, Vincent, Stanley Kubrick: A Biography , New York, 1997.
Walker, Alexander, Stanley Kubrick: Director , New York, 1999.
Raphael, Frederic, Eyes Wide Open: A Memoir of Stanley Kubrick , New York, 1999.
Philips, Gene, editor, Stanley Kubrick: Interviews , Jackson, Missis-sippi, 2000.
"Twenty-nine and Running: The Director with Hollywood by the Horns," in Newsweek (New York), 2 December 1957.
Noble, Robin, "Killers, Kisses, and Lolita ," in Films and Filming (London), December 1960.
Burgess, Jackson, "The Antimilitarism of Stanley Kubrick," in Film Quarterly (Berkeley), Fall 1964.
"Stanley Kubrick," in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), December 1964/January 1965.
Bernstein, Jeremy, "Profiles: How about a Little Game?," in New Yorker , 12 November 1966.
Ciment, Michel, "L'Odyssee de Stanley Kubrick," in Positif (Paris), October 1968.
Houston, Penelope, "Kubrick Country," in Saturday Review (New York), 25 December 1971.
Deer, Harriet and Irving, "Kubrick and the Structures of Popular Culture," in Journal of Popular Film (Bowling Green, Ohio), Summer 1974.
Carducci, Mark, "In Search of Stanley K.," in Millimeter (New York), December 1975.
Feldmann, Hans, "Kubrick and His Discontents," in Film Quarterly (Berkeley), Fall 1976.
Moskowitz, Ken, "Clockwork Violence," in Sight and Sound (Lon-don), Winter 1976/77.
Kennedy, H., "Kubrick Goes Gothic," in American Film (Washing-ton, D.C.), June 1980.
Brown, J., "Kubrick's Maze: The Monster and the Critics," in Film Directions (Belfast), no. 16, 1982.
Kinney, J. L., "Mastering the Maze," in Quarterly Review of Film Studies (New York), Spring 1984.
Combs, Richard, "Stanley Kubrick: To Be or Not to Be . . . Again and Again," in Monthly Film Bulletin (London), July 1984.
Sklar, Robert, "Stanley Kubrick et l'industrie Hollywoodienne," in Filméchange (Paris), no. 38, 1987.
Rafferty, T., "Remote Control," in Sight and Sound (London), Autumn 1987.
Lacayo, R., "Semper fi," in Film Comment (New York), September/October 1987.
"Kubrick Section" of Positif (Paris), October 1987.
Cazals, T., "L'Homme labyrinthe," in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), November 1987.
" Full Metal Jacket Section" of Literature/Film Quarterly (Salis-bury, Maryland), vol. 16., no. 4, 1988.
French, Philip, " A Clockwork Orange ," in Sight and Sound (Lon-don), Spring 1990.
Brode, Douglas, " Spartacus, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, " in The Films of the Sixties , New York, 1990.
Bookbinder, Robert, " Clockwork Orange ," in The Films of the Seventies , New York, 1990.
Norman, Barry, " Paths of Glory , 2001: A Space Odyssey ," in The 100 Best Films of the Century , New York, 1993.
Kael, Pauline, " Lolita , Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket ," in For Keeps , New York, 1994.
Stein, Michael, "The New Violence: Clockwork Orange and Other Films," in Films in Review (New York), January/February 1995.
Manchel, Frank, "What about Jack? Family Relationships in The Shining ," in Literature/Film Quarterly (Salisbury, Maryland), Winter 1995.
Combs, Richard, "Kubrick Talks!" in Film Comment (New York), September-October 1996.
Bogdanovich, Peter, "What They Say about Stanley Kubrick," New York Times Magazine , 4 July 1999.
Schickel, Richard, "All Eyes on Them," Time , 5 July 1999.
Herr, Michael, "The Real Stanley Kubrick," Vanity Fair , August 1999.
Bernstein, Jill, and others, "Stanley Kubrick: A Cinematic Odys-sey," Premiere (New York), August 1999.
Special issue, Sight and Sound (London), September 1999.
Phillips, Gene D. "Stop the World: Stanley Kubrick," in Major Film Directors of the American and British Cinema , Cranbury, New Jersey, 1999.
* * *
Few American directors were able to work within the studio system of the American film industry with the independence that Stanley Kubrick achieved. By steadily building a reputation as a filmmaker of international importance, he gained full artistic control over his films, guiding the production of each of them from the earliest stages of planning and scripting through post-production. Kubrick was able to capitalize on the wide artistic freedom that the major studios have accorded him because he learned the business of filmmaking from the ground up.
In the early 1950s he turned out two documentary shorts for RKO; he was then able to secure financing for two low-budget features which he said were "crucial in helping me to learn my craft," but which he would otherwise have preferred to forget. He made both films almost singlehandedly, doing his own camerawork, sound, and editing, besides directing the films. Then, in 1955, he met James Harris, an aspiring producer; together they made The Killing , about a group of small-time crooks who rob a race track. The Killing not only turned a modest profit but prompted the now-legendary remark of Time magazine that Kubrick "has shown more imagination with dialogue and camera than Hollywood has seen since the obstreperous Orson Welles went riding out of town."
Kubrick next acquired the rights to Humphrey Cobb's 1935 novel The Paths of Glory , and in 1957 turned it into one of the most uncompromising antiwar films ever made. Peter Cowie is cited in Major Film Directors of the American and British Cinema as saying that Kubrick uses his camera in the film "unflinchingly, like a weapon," as it sweeps across the slopes to record the wholesale slaughter of a division.
Spartacus , a spectacle about slavery in pre-Christian Rome, Kubrick recalled as "the only film over which I did not have absolute control," because the star, Kirk Douglas, was also the movie's producer. Although Spartacus turned out to be one of the better spear-and-sandal epics, Kubrick vowed never to make another film unless he was assured of total artistic freedom, and he never did. Lolita , about a middle-aged man's obsessive infatuation with his pre-teen step-daughter, was the director's first comedy. "The surprising thing about Lolita ," Pauline Kael wrote in For Keeps , "is how enjoyable it is. It's the first new American comedy since those great days in the 1940s when Preston Sturges re-created comedy with verbal slapstick. Lolita is black slapstick and at times it's so far out that you gasp as you laugh."
For those who appreciate the dark humor of Lolita , it is not hard to see that it was just a short step from that film to Kubrick's masterpiece in that genre, Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb , concerning a lunatic American general's decision to launch an attack inside Russia. The theme implicit in the film is man's final capitulation to his own machines of destruction. Kubrick further examined his dark vision of man in a mechanistic age in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick's view of life, as it is reflected in 2001 , seems to be somewhat more optimistic than it was in his previous pictures. 2001 holds out hope for the progress of mankind through man's creative encounters with the universe. In A Clockwork Orange , however, the future appears to be less promising than it did in 2001 ; in the earlier film Kubrick showed (in the "person" of the talking computer, Hal) the machine becoming human, whereas in A Clockwork Orange he shows man becoming a machine through brainwashing and thought control.
Ultimately, however, the latter film only reiterates in somewhat darker terms a repeated theme in all of Kubrick's previous work: man must retain his humanity if he is to survive in a dehumanized, highly mechanized world. Moreover, A Clockwork Orange echoes the warning of Dr. Strangelove and 2001 that man must strive to gain mastery over himself if he is to master the machines of his own invention.
After a trio of films set in the future, Kubrick reached back into the past and adapted Thackeray's historical novel Barry Lyndon to the screen in 1975. Kubrick portrayed Barry, an eighteenth-century rogue, and his times in the same critical fashion as Thackeray did before him. The film echoes a theme which appears in much of the director's best work, that through human error the best-laid plans often go awry; and hence man is often thwarted in his efforts to achieve his goals. The central character in Lolita fails to possess a nymphet exclusively; the "balance of terror" between nations designed to halt the nuclear arms race in Dr. Strangelove does not succeed in averting global destruction; and modern technology turns against its human instigators in Dr. Strangelove, 2001 , and A Clockwork Orange. In this list of films about human failure the story of Barry Lyndon easily finds a place, for its hero's lifelong schemes to become a rich nobleman in the end come to nothing. And the same can be said for the frustrated writing aspirations of the emotionally disturbed hero of Kubrick's provocative "thinking man's thriller," The Shining , derived from the horror novel by Stephen King.
It is clear, therefore, that Kubrick could make any source material fit comfortably into the fabric of his work as a whole, whether it be a remote and almost forgotten Thackeray novel, or a disturbing story about the Vietnam war by a contemporary writer, as with Full Metal Jacket , based on the book by Gustav Hasford.
Kubrick's last film, Eyes Wide Shut , derived from a controversial novella by Arthur Schnitzler called Dream Story , focuses on Dr. William Harford (Tom Cruise), who jeopardizes his marriage by making a foray into the unsavory netherworld of the decadent rich in New York City. Released shortly after Kubrick's death in 1999, Kubrick's last film indicates that he was still intent on taking the temperature of a sick society. It is evident that Kubrick continued right to the end of his career to create films that would stimulate his audience to think about serious human problems, as his pictures did from the beginning. His canon of films testifies that Kubrick valued the artistic freedom which worked so hard to win and used so well.
—Gene D. Phillips