Stanley Kubrick: Classic or Dud?

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The Kult of Kubrick is one of the scarier things I've come across on the Internet. The members of this sanctum sanctorum invoke the name Kubrick in hushed tones, beneath thick robes, waving incense while inside pentagrams drawn in blood. Such is the power of KUBRICK.

Meanwhile, from what I've seen (Dr. Strangelove, The Shining, 2001, Lolita, Eyes Wide Shut), this lofty reputation's not that deserved. A fine director, sure, with an excellent sense of pacing within a scene, and he has a a way with imagery, too. But, he's also a clod when it comes to dialogue, a bit thick with the archetypes & light on the characterization (especially in _Eyes Wide Shut_, which is more a parable than a story, and reminds me of later-day Robert Heinlein, where he's gone so far into his own head that the stories he tells have little or no interest to the viewers except as a peek into the anachronistic head of one tweaked individual).

David Raposa, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Classic, if only for his intense, chilly misanthropy - such a rarity in mainstream Hollywood cinema.

Andrew L, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I remember hearing about Kubrick films and, as an admirer, groaning: oh, he's making a Vietnam movie (in an era knee-deep in Vietnam movies)? Oh, he's making a movie with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman?? When The Shining came out I wasn't old enough to care, but I would most likely have walked into the theater already disappointed: in the heyday of horror flicks, he's making another one?

Kubrick's a fanboy's dream: obsessive, nerdy, reclusive, capable of constructing self-contained worlds from which neither light nor sound (nor occasionally any sense at all) can escape - but he puts you there, inside this impossible place.

Anyone who's not seen "Paths of Glory" do so. Post-WWII flick about WWI. Kirk Douglas gives an unbelievable slow-burn performance and there are glimpses of the stately composition / numbing fright of the later stuff.

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Kubrick sucks, basically, but I gotta chime in for The Shining, since everyone was ragging on it in the other thread. I couldn't give a shit about horror films, but vehicles for Jack Nicholson to look psychotic alongside Olive Oil can't be beat. Lolita's good too, Strangelove's okay, and Clockwork Orange has some decent imagery, at least.

Otis Wheeler, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Unfamiliar w/ major works (revered rep = dull to me, hence avoid; I'm prolly often v. wrongheaded on this), tho' can profess muchly enjoying swearathon that comprised first 1/3 of Full Metal Jacket. FuXin FuXOr indeed. Creative gratuitous swearing = laff-a-minute.

AP, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I think what I most admire about Kubrick is his range...A Clockwork Orange to friggin' Barry Lyndon? Most directors aren't like that. And yes, the intelligent misanthropy is a much needed force to counter the brain-dead, levity of much Hollywood...

Joe, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I'm not sure I see the misanthropy everyone's talking about. Seems like most of his movies are about lack of human control over destiny due to some too-rational auto-override device (hal, doomsday device, vietnam war imperatives, brainwashing). Okay he mistrusts sexual desire, he's a freak about sex. Maybe something there after all...

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Plus he has zero sense of humour, so can't tell when eg Sellers/Nicholson have capered way past inspired to tiresome. He's GRATE with ambient sound (noises in the 2001 rocketship; noise of kiddiecar on and off carpet in Shining hotel). AB and I rewatch 2001 earlier this year at a cinema: at the bit where the space-hostess walks upside down in non-gravity, AB looks at her butt and whispers: "I see in the future they can fly to Jupiter but they still haven't cured VPL." We giggle so much we risk being a. chucked out of cinema b. being lynched by humourless kubricoids around us.

mark s, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Classic after classic.

chris, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

You are the opposite of me, Chris. You just like ALL films, don't you? ;-)

masonic boom, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Kubrick made a few clankers in his time, and the Chirch of Kubes is the dumbest thing ever. That said his visual accumen, his way with sound and mid-period ambition makes him an interesting study. His manageable canon (10 films) and diversity of genre therefore makes him study number one in film courses. Hence the lionising of him - since some people just don't get past the first, peasy stuff they are taught.

My Mum worked as a production accounts assistant on 2001 and actually walked around the spinny space hub thing. Very expensive to build - she says tutting. She also said that Kubrick was nowhere near as nuts as Patrick 'Mad As A Hatter' MacGooghan, if that is in any way salacious.

Pete, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

With ref to Mark's point abt self-indulgence: In 'Freddie' Raphael's unintentionally hilarious bk abt working with S.K., notorious control freak Kubrick admitted to being totally seduced by Leonard Rossiter's performance in 'Barry Lyndon' - so much so that he allowed the actor to carry on improvising/expanding his previously rather minor part. Unlike Hitchcock, say, I think Kubrick LIKED actors (or liked playing games with 'em - see the doc on the making of the 'The Shining' where he cruelly works Shelly Duvall into the perfect pitch of emotional exhaustion). Living, breathing human beings introduced just the right amount of unpredicatability into the carefully schemed schema - they gave S.K. 'more' than he asked for (and could, if necessary, be cut down to size again in the editing suite). This tension between the planned and the spontaneous animates many of Kubrick's best films (as AP mentioned, the drill instructor's scenes at the start of FMJ also burst out of the movie's anally symmetrical look/structure.) Films are always abt looking, and Kubrick knew we like to watch.

Andrew L, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Some good films, some bad films, like most directors, so I can't understand the Cult of Kubrick. However, this thread gives me the opportunity to say
2001 SUCKS!

DG, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I love Kubrick films. Well, most of them. "2001" is godlike, but you have to accept that it's not like other films. "The Shining", likewise, is a horror film in excelsis. And "Eyes Wide Shut", for all that no one liked it, is a wonderful vision of a universe next door, the kind of film David Lynch used to make.

I'm not convinced by "Clockwork Orange". Faux meaningful book, faux meaningful film. It's so long since I've seen "Doctor Strangelove" that I can't really say anything about it.

"Barry Lyndon" is the real forgotten Kubrick film... anyone got any thoughts on it?

The Dirty Vicar, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Eyes Wide Shut != anything like a David Lynch film.

Richard Tunnicliffe, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

2001 isn't like other films? You're right, it's infinitely more boring. Don't try and pull that 'politely implying it's gone way over your head' shit on me.

DG, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

The boringness is part of its charm.

Josh, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I don't think "2001" goes over the heads of people who don't like it. I used to be one of those people. But around the time he died it got shown on TV, I started watching it, and I got sucked in. It's not like other films in that it's really really really slow. Some people like that, other (inferior) people don't.

As for Eyes Wide Shut, it's like a David Lynch film in suggesting that behind the cosy everyday world there is a world of surrealism and menace. I'm obviously talking of Lynch films like "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" and "Lost Highway", not "The Straight Story".

The Dirty Vicar, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

2001 is an utterly vacuous film with clever trick photography. The whole damn thing could be over in half an hour without those endless bloody spaceflight/docking sequences. There's more intellect in a 60's Star Trek episode and better effects in practically every film with a significant budget since. Therefore:
2001 = pointless.

DG, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I agree with DG abt it being boring and vacuous. But "better effects in practically every film with a significant budget since": well, no, I'm not sure I do agree with that. In two ways:
A: 2001's FX haven't dated as much as (say) Star Trek's or even Jurassic Park's. They were way bigger-better in 1977 and 1994, but often look cheesy today (ST's big spaceships look like big airfix models; the dino CGI looks paperthin and clunky now). I don't think 2001 looks cheesy, in the sense of looks like a model, or unrealistic. I was really really struck by that, watching it again on a big screen: and (frankly) sitting there hoping to pick holes. I found myself (eg) thinking, Jesus, I can't believe being in space is this boring: not (eg) that's an obvious model, this is no way space, but a studio. Jeez, I can't believe Elstree is this boring.
Obviously some space photography had trickled out from NASA etc; but the moonshots were yet to come, the motherlode of info on visuals beyond the atmosphere. But SK's idea of what it LOOKS like in space is in no way tarnished by how very much more we do know now: he had the right kind of eye and imagination to extrapolate from a little, and get a lot right.
Given that I basically think he's an overrated dickweed who made no grate movies and one half-good one (The Shining: for Shelley Duval rowr esp.with snot on her face), I still find myself quite impressed by these specific things.
And some of the music — not the strausses so much — but ligeti and katchachurian: john williams can choke on [insert appropriate material here]...

mark s, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Eh? The main ship in 2001 almost *always* looks like a giant Airfix model. The matte effects are obvious and the bit in the stargate at the end becomes absolutely terrible towards the end. Come on, footage of sea through a purple filter? Pffffff.

DG, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Airfix model? No it doesn't. Or at least, much LESS than similar things in bigger budget movies subsequently. The matte shots are (I guess) discernible, but they're not lousy. And the inside design doesn't jar at all (that's one bit where boringness works * for* him — of course with boring story and dialogue and costume, you're not left with much to be unbored by).
The stargate/filter stuff I just snooze through: I wouldn't defend *that*. Though actually the sea through colour-filter — right in the middle — is an amazing queasy shot in itself, just because nothing that colour ever moved that way... but it obviously doesn't save the sequence, which is just entirely silly.

mark s, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Dirty Vicar wrote: "Barry Lyndon" is the real forgotten Kubrick film... anyone got any thoughts on it?

My favorite moment is the duel scene...completely breaks conventions with what you are expecting. The rest of the movie I thought kind of slow-running, but perhaps one of his most beautifully filmed.

Joe, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Trust me Mark. Elstree is that boring. Its so boring the only thing to talk about is how Elstree is in Borehamwood so they should be called Borehamwood studios and not named after the slightly posher town three miles away.

Only two films were ever credited to Borehamwood Studios. The Young Ones and Summer Holiday.

Pete, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

one year passes...
Spartacus, anyone?

weatheringdaleson, Sunday, 8 December 2002 10:32 (seventeen years ago) link

Oh sure. Dead thread. Now I notice. Hmmph.

weatheringdaleson, Sunday, 8 December 2002 10:33 (seventeen years ago) link

stanley beefcake

sorry...barry lyndon is my favourite I spartacus the one with the celluloid closet scene where olivier offers tony curtis snails or oysters?

with most kubricks they're great but I don't really feel anything watching them, with the exceptions of barry lyndon which moved me almost to tears...the doom atmosphere of the second part of lyndon's downfall, his son dying (music!!!)

erik, Sunday, 8 December 2002 10:48 (seventeen years ago) link

the cult of Kubrick makes me queasy, the mastering of all possible interps & general anal-retentive control-freak tendencies seems to permeate 'the Shining' to the point that it's.. just not my cup of tea. Strangelove is good fun tho. Must watch 'Barry Lyndon,' I have a feeling anything Kubrick *with* a touch of spontenaeity might be fascinating. Film-major fanboys who think Kubrick is God = major, major dud.

daria g, Sunday, 8 December 2002 19:18 (seventeen years ago) link

i like that bit at the end of spartacus when they all stand up and say "i'm foxy cleopatra"

bob snoom, Sunday, 8 December 2002 21:59 (seventeen years ago) link

nihilist, misanthropic, clueless dud.

did let Peter Sellers do his thang though. Twice.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 9 December 2002 02:07 (seventeen years ago) link

I don't much like Kubrick; I find the majority of his work mindnumbingly dull. I was watching Full Metal Jacket the other night and Jesus Christ, I couldn't pay any attention to it. There wasn't one bit of it that interested me enough in what was going on in order to actually watch it, I ended up wandering around, wrapping Xmas gifts, etc. I've had the same response to most of his films. I fell asleep during EWS (took three tries to watch it). Lolita is kind of "ehhh, I guess I'll watch it, nowt else on". 2001 is like the King of Being Boring. etc etc. I don't know what it is about his style but I just cannot watch his films without wanting to cry for boredom. Even The Shining.

Stanley Kubrick = the epitome of love/hate???

Ally (mlescaut), Monday, 9 December 2002 02:16 (seventeen years ago) link

So what's wrong with nihilism? Kubrick's world view is bascially that of a humanity that's been taken over by its own creations/institutions and the total randomness of The Universe, whether it's the Doomsday device, HAL 9000, the Vietnamese sniper in FMJ, or the closing scene of The Killing.

Totally classic for Paths Of Glory, Dr. Strangelove, The Killing, and Barry Lyndon alone. Totally dud for Eyes Wide Shut, Clockwork Orange, and Lolita.

2001 was the very first movie I saw in a movie theater - as I recall I was five or six years old. Bash it if you must, but I still love it's timeless retrofuture look.

Chris Barrus (xibalba), Monday, 9 December 2002 07:58 (seventeen years ago) link

Daria: "Barry Lyndon" is almost the least spontaneous Kubrickfilm ever! His true masterpiece is "Lolita," just because it looks so bland and turns out to be a great sick comedy. I'm tempted to say I like it better than the book, just cause Nabokovphiles are such bores (not that Kubrickultists aren't too, I admit). Pauline Kael who HATED every film Kubrick made ever afterward (except The Shining, which she's very good on: why it doesn't quite gel but still sticks in your mind) had a great essay on it in her first book. Everyone is very good in it: I could rhapsodize about Sellers' performance(s) for hours (it's true: don't ever get me drunk and say "So Justyn, how about that LOLITA then?" or you'll have to run for cover), but Shelley Winters is amazing and tragic and hilarious and James Mason is about as good as he ever was. I even like Sue Lyon in it even though no one else ever does. Plus it features the best opening scene in any movie EVER. If you have problems with the whole Kubrick thing just pretend you're watching an early David Lynch film or something (was he even born yet?), it was very influential on him. It's really more like Sunset Boulevard or something than any other Kubrick film.

Justyn Dillingham (Justyn Dillingham), Monday, 9 December 2002 08:44 (seventeen years ago) link

Eyes Wide Shut has some very Lynchian moments. So now the master has become the apprentice...

I don't know what people mean by "spontanaeous", but if you any kind of liking for rollicking romping historical drama then you will wuv Barry Lyndon. It is a top film.

DV (dirtyvicar), Monday, 9 December 2002 10:46 (seventeen years ago) link

"spontaneous" = presumably something Kubrick didn't plan beforehand. actually, since (as he admitted) the reason he did dozens and dozens of takes is because he wasn't quite sure what he wanted, I think people miss the point when they talk about him being a control freak. he was a FLAWED control freak, which makes him interesting (to me, anyway). my #2 Kubrick film is probably The Shining, which is basically all about this (see the "making of" documentary made by his daughter, where SK flips out at Shelley Duvall for flubbing a line and seems disturbingly Nicholson/Torrance-like).

Justyn Dillingham (Justyn Dillingham), Monday, 9 December 2002 11:42 (seventeen years ago) link

michel chion's little bfi book on eyes wide shut is good, and helped me like the film more: he begins by overrating it stratospherically (i think he calls it the greatest film ever made!!) but then he goes on to talk about and notices all kinds of interesting small sane stuff which wd be well talked abt in many other films also

i have still never watched clockwork orange, though i now have it on video

mark s (mark s), Monday, 9 December 2002 11:57 (seventeen years ago) link

I liked Eyes Wide Shut, Clockwork Orange and The Shining. I loved the first half of "Full Metal Jacket", but hated the second. Dr. Strangelove was good, but highly overrated.

Cecil Kittens (Cecil), Monday, 9 December 2002 12:02 (seventeen years ago) link

Lolita was nice, with great performances. But part of what made the book so great was the word choices in Humbert's first-person descriptions, not just the situations themselves. And the voiceover's by Mason in the film felt random and often unnecessary (oddly there were other scenes I thought would be improved by narration). I think its one his sloppiest works but it has a better sense of humanity than his later technocratic works.

I like the story that Terry Southern told him when Eyes Wide Shut was in the gestative state that it should be a comedy. I think he meant an intentional one.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Tuesday, 10 December 2002 00:19 (seventeen years ago) link

So what's wrong with nihilism?

There's nothing wrong with it, I just don't think he expresses it very well.

I mean, yes, I can see where certain aspects of Kubrick have influenced Lynch but by and large I think Lynch is a better storyteller, whereas Kubrick throws too much emphasis on the stylistic interest of his films and doesn't pay as much attention to getting the story told in the most effective manner. I only really like Strangelove, I suppose, but it's not a film I'd actively go out of my way to watch anymore.

Like I said, he's someone that people either love or hate. No one is kind of "eh" about Kubrick.

Ally (mlescaut), Tuesday, 10 December 2002 01:30 (seventeen years ago) link

does "Mulholland Dr." fit into yer hypothesis, Ally?

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Tuesday, 10 December 2002 01:36 (seventeen years ago) link

Or "Lost Highway"?

Chris Barrus (xibalba), Tuesday, 10 December 2002 02:49 (seventeen years ago) link

Though I think both directors are (well, in Kubrick's case, was) two shades past overwacky, I prefer Lynch's tits'n'giggles over Kubrick's wrongheaded oppressiveness.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Tuesday, 10 December 2002 03:08 (seventeen years ago) link

I didn't say everything Lynch did was good, and Lost Highway definitely falls into my definition of "bad Lynch". Me finding you less boring than Kubrick != me finding you perfect.

Ally (mlescaut), Tuesday, 10 December 2002 03:13 (seventeen years ago) link

I haven't actually seen Eyes Wide Shut. Is it all kinds of crazy kinky? Does Cruise actually indulge in fetishy shit (I hope he wears a zorro mask!) and humpity bump with his wife or does he just stand around looking mad? Is he believable as a human being? I'm curious if it qualifies as a "so bad it's good" rental or if it's just boring.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Tuesday, 10 December 2002 03:30 (seventeen years ago) link

I thought it was just boring. Nothing too kinky at all, and Cruise just kind of stands around looking depressed through most of it.

Ally (mlescaut), Tuesday, 10 December 2002 03:40 (seventeen years ago) link

it is kind of funny in a v.lowkey (intentional) way

it is pervy not at all

mark s (mark s), Tuesday, 10 December 2002 09:25 (seventeen years ago) link

I think '2001' and 'Clockwork' work nice together. Basically he's saying that machines are better than ppl right? If you make computers human they start killing people and don't work so well as machines, if you try to make humans into machines then they stop killing ppl but don't 'work' at ALL as 'people'. (Re '2001' - Frank Black is a big sci-fi head, maybe that's where the 'Bone Machine' concept RILLY came from? 'Bone machines' v 'Meat Puppets'?)

dave q, Tuesday, 10 December 2002 09:30 (seventeen years ago) link

See also 'Full Metal Jacket', where humans are made into killing machines but then want to kill EVERYONE, not just 'the enemy'!

Andrew L (Andrew L), Tuesday, 10 December 2002 10:01 (seventeen years ago) link

one year passes...
I have zero attention-span and have been known to check the clock even on movies I love (looked at my watch a couple of times during Blood Simple), but every Kubrick film I've seen compels me to keep watching. Maybe it's the icy nihilistic misanthropy or whatever, but I'm glued to the screen.

I chalk it up to Kubrick's confidence. There's an air to every film he did, something I can feel come through the screen. I think I've said elsewhere that my definition of a good film is one where the director accomplished what he set out to do. Kubrick's films always meet that criteria for me - he knew what he wanted, and he shot it.

I haven't seen Lolita or Barry Lyndon, but of the rest, the closest to a dud is A Clockwork Orange, even that's occasionally great.

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 03:47 (sixteen years ago) link

i think the knock on 2001 being "vacuous" is probably overstating the case (it's pretty archetypical sci-fi) but it's not exactly a philosophical movie either. i love it. i think it's funny and beautiful and strange. i dont think it's profound but who cares about that really.

detractors expect too much of it.

ryan (ryan), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 04:09 (sixteen years ago) link

Alex’s (Malcolm McDowell) long coat from Stanley Kubrick’s A
Clockwork Orange. This garment screen matches the scene where
Alex visited the record store and met two female companions.

The double-breasted coat is made of suede leather dyed purple with snakeskin pattern used for the lapels, pocket flaps, cuffs and the jacket buttons. The long, slim-fitting coat was designed by Milena Canonero, who designed for several of Kubrick’s films, and custom made specifically for McDowell in the role of Alex. This vintage coat displays some light marks near the hem on the rear. It remains otherwise in very good production-used condition. Dimensions: measures 52 cm (20 ½“) from armpit to armpit


GOAT coat

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Sunday, 14 January 2018 20:31 (two years ago) link

three months pass...

The most unexpected image in the Kubrick photos show

— Vadim Rizov (@vrizov) May 12, 2018

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 12 May 2018 01:58 (one year ago) link

Not sure why you'd be surprised. Lots of autists relate better with dogs and other animals.

Microtransgressions as a Business Model (Sanpaku), Saturday, 12 May 2018 02:10 (one year ago) link

also, the documentary about his longtime aide-de-camp Leon Vitali, Filmworker, opened in NYC today

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 12 May 2018 02:21 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

This is a little gem.

MaresNest, Saturday, 30 June 2018 17:11 (one year ago) link

Today to celebrate July 4th I'm sitting in the Kubrick archives and I just learned SK was seriously considering Gene Kelly for Jack D. Ripper. (He thought the role was "too small" and would rather play multiple parts).

— Peter Labuza (@labuzamovies) July 4, 2018

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 5 July 2018 21:25 (one year ago) link

btw I leafed through this Taschen book on the unmade Napoleon last week, def worth if if you can spare the $70 listprice and want to look at shit like SJK's letter to his historical consultant asking about horse showing of the era, how people addressed each other, etc. Plus all the test costumes, and a draft of the script.

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 5 July 2018 21:31 (one year ago) link

(I see looking at hidden posts that i am not the first)

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 5 July 2018 21:33 (one year ago) link

I saw the Nolan print of 2001 today and yeah, it's good. Excellent experience to have at least once. The "journey beyond the infinite" benefits from the darker, refulgent colouring. There are lovely edit marks for scene ending top right, the screen is constantly flickering with light, and jumping with scratches on the film. It's a new thing.

glumdalclitch, Thursday, 5 July 2018 22:52 (one year ago) link

seeing the unrestored print in 2 weeks

a discovery:

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 15 July 2018 16:17 (one year ago) link

Cool. "James Mason in Sue Lyon" tho, hmm

albvivertine, Sunday, 15 July 2018 16:51 (one year ago) link

Couldn't get into Filmmaker--felt like a really weird vanity project. It was news to me, though, that Leon Vitali also played lead orgy guy in Eyes Wide Shut.

clemenza, Wednesday, 18 July 2018 03:43 (one year ago) link

His name also pops up in the newspaper article Harford reads about the girl's drug overdose:

I got this from this mind-boggling shot-by-shot analysis of EWS:

the word dog doesn't bark (anagram), Wednesday, 18 July 2018 05:43 (one year ago) link

yikes, not sure i have a month to go through that site, but i was not aware there'd been a 1969 adaptation of Traumnovelle (ie before EWS).

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 18 July 2018 07:16 (one year ago) link

Alba jogged my memory on the 2001 thread, I meant to post this last week, a much longer cut of the Japanese guy's set visit during the Shining - with some nice stuff- that I linked upthread.

MaresNest, Thursday, 19 July 2018 20:14 (one year ago) link

Xp: there *was* a Kubrick approved video transfer of 2001, the Criterion laserdisc done in 1988.

The Big Picture: 2001 on Video, Thomas E. Brown.

the same transfer, done in 1988 by the Voyager companies' legendary Maria Groumbos Palazzola. This was transferred from a 35mm "anamorphic" source (at the time of this transfer there was no 65mm/70mm telecine equipment in existence). The transfer was done in association with Full Metal Jacket's editor, Martin Hunter and "dailies" of the transfer were sent to Stanley Kubrick in England. Kubrick faxed back comments and Palazzola has written that he required 6 runs through with changes before he would approve it. The transfer was "state of the art" for 1988, with good image detail, fairly low grain and good fidelity to Kubrick's detailed color scheme.

Screen caps are scarce, but they don't have the yellow cast of Nolan's "restoration" (or at least that trailer).

My best guess is that late 60s 70mm prints had color timing which compensated for the higher color temperature of carbon arc projection lamps, while the "restoration" is that color timing projected through lower color temperature (redder/yellower/"warmer") of modern xenon arc lamps.

Roomba with an attitude (Sanpaku), Thursday, 19 July 2018 20:32 (one year ago) link

I believe that was essentially Nolan's explanation of the look of the "unrestoration"

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 19 July 2018 20:36 (one year ago) link

There is absolutely zero chance that K built blinding white sets and models, lit it to perfection and thought "I really hope it comes out a bit yellowy on the colour timing, I'd also like the flaws in the film stock to feature, that's why I shot it on the largest available stock with meltingly bright lighting." The "unrestoration" is pure hipster-Luddite bullshit. The man was an exacting, technical photographer to whom accuracy was life and death.

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Thursday, 19 July 2018 21:38 (one year ago) link

on his 90th, a taste of Kubrick's NYC, and a 1966 New Yorker profile

He saw the entire film collection at the Museum of Modern Art. Twice.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 26 July 2018 16:33 (one year ago) link

Seeing Killer's Kiss tonight on 35mm

flappy bird, Thursday, 26 July 2018 16:59 (one year ago) link

70mm 'unrestored' 2001 for me...

I'm intrigued how in '66 The NYer just IDs Jim Thompson as "a writer friend" of Kubrick's. He truly was a cult item.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 26 July 2018 17:07 (one year ago) link

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (1996) | Director of Photography: Stephen H. Burum | Director: Brian De Palma | #OnePerfectShot

— Eric Allen Hatch (@ericallenhatch) July 12, 2018

flappy bird, Thursday, 26 July 2018 17:43 (one year ago) link

there *was* a Kubrick approved video transfer of 2001, the Criterion laserdisc done in 1988.

As I've been intermittently following the 'drama' over there regarding the 4K UHD release (merely out of morbid interest, I don't even have a Blu-Ray player,) I saw this post yesterday.

No idea if it's accurate but the poster implies that the 1999 DVD is from the same transfer with no colour changes.

Absolute Unit Delta Plus (Noel Emits), Thursday, 26 July 2018 17:58 (one year ago) link

xps re: thompson

Despite some positive critical notice—notably by Anthony Boucher in The New York Times—he was little-recognized in his lifetime. Only after death did Thompson's literary stature grow.

visiting, Thursday, 26 July 2018 17:59 (one year ago) link

Some more about the colour timing business...

"I am seeing the new 70mm at the Castro, and intermission just started. It basically looks identical to the last two prints I saw. The comment above that makes it seem like the "turquoise and teal" is some brand new 2018 revisionism are mistaken - the colors are the same as the last two prints I saw which were also struck from a circa 1999-2000 element. The scenes with noticeably odd colors, like a few teal skies in the Dawn of Man section, or the slightly yellow tinge of the space station, or the moon taxi interior with a teal wash and the view of the moon out the window looking purple, all match between the Cinematheque print I saw in 2016, the c.2001 print I saw at the Castro last year, and the new one. The Jupiter mission sequences have the same warm/cool, 80s/90s LPP-esque dichotomy (e.g., there's a scene where the pod bay looks teal and cyan, then takes on a warmer, faintly gold hue with brighter white highlights when the lights turn on).

As for "weak contrast" and "virtually no blacks or whites," I am seeing neither issue on the print as projected. I think it either just doesn't convert well to consumer digital color space, or they tried to match a digital transfer to the print's colors for that trailer and botched it. The colors in the trailer look similar, but the balance and white/black levels look much better when seeing it on film, projected in a theater.

I am not saying this is accurate to 1968, but it is accurate to the timing I've seen on other 70mm prints from the last 15-20 years. This has to be from a sister element to the one used to make the 2001 reissue prints and the 2016 American Cinematheque print; there is damage I did not see on the other prints, so it may not be the SAME element, but regardless, there is no brand-new revisionism going on in how the print looks as projected. As far as I can tell, any issues with the color are consistent with all the other prints struck since the late 90s. Right or wrong, all I can say is that these colors are not new to *this print*, and whatever they are, they are *not* a brand-new revisionism cooked up in 2018."

MaresNest, Thursday, 26 July 2018 19:36 (one year ago) link

These people are mentalists but you've got to respect their literally unbelievable ability to recall and compare exact colours over spans of decades.

Absolute Unit Delta Plus (Noel Emits), Thursday, 26 July 2018 20:15 (one year ago) link

yeah, my first and last viewings of 2001 on film were '74 and '01... and you got me

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 26 July 2018 20:17 (one year ago) link

that NY article is one of the greats

As the film appeared on the screen, Lockwood was shown jogging around the complete interior circumference of the centrifuge, which appeared to me to defy logic as well as physics, since when he was at the top he would have needed suction cups on his feet to stay glued to the floor. I asked Kubrick how he had achieved this effect, and he said he was definitely, absolutely not going to tell me.

niels, Friday, 27 July 2018 14:11 (one year ago) link

three months pass...
three months pass...

Filmworker on Film4 tonight

koogs, Thursday, 7 March 2019 18:58 (one year ago) link

six months pass...
five months pass...

finally watched the CC of Paths of Glory I bought in... 2010.

Not sure I never knew that Tim Carey was fired late in the shoot for being a huge pain in the ass, necessitating use of a double in the few remaining scenes. (also the ditching of battlefield narratives involving the 3 men who would go on trial)

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 18 March 2020 13:19 (three weeks ago) link

also have seen noir vet Emile Meyer in a number of things lately, he is the priest in this

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 18 March 2020 16:45 (three weeks ago) link

xp interesting — was that info in the commentary, one of the interviews, or the booklet essay ?

budo jeru, Wednesday, 18 March 2020 18:23 (three weeks ago) link

It's in the James B Harris (producer) interview. The last straw was Carey claiming he was kidnapped (?!) and refusing to sign a police statement in a timely manner.

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 18 March 2020 18:25 (three weeks ago) link

btw George Macready and Adolphe Menjou are *really* great in PoG as the scummy generals.

Mejou was a notorious righty commie-hater. When asked how he could work with Hollywood lefties, he said "Easy, I'm a whore."

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 19 March 2020 14:53 (three weeks ago) link

It's one of the few movies whose narrative inevitabilities (knowing the French high command, in its demand for sacrifices, gives not a damn about Dax's legal case) work on me such that it's hard to rewatch.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 19 March 2020 14:56 (three weeks ago) link

I lent my PoG DVD to a friend and I'm afraid I'll never see it again. :(

Miami weisse (WmC), Thursday, 19 March 2020 14:56 (three weeks ago) link

first film I saw Menjou in (fall '93 or so; PBS loved this film then).

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 19 March 2020 14:57 (three weeks ago) link

From memory: "Come, come now Col. Dacks--you really are an idealist!"

clemenza, Thursday, 19 March 2020 14:57 (three weeks ago) link

Douglas' sputtering Kirk Douglas Monologue aimed at Menjou is unconvincing -- it's paced like a scene beloved of Oscar voters -- but I guess the film needed to let some air out.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 19 March 2020 15:00 (three weeks ago) link

Paths of Glory was my favourite Kubrick film for the longest time, until, within the past 10 years, it was pushed aside by Barry Lyndon--which, it occurs to me, might be the perfect thing to watch tonight in terms of tone and trying to get some perspective on all of this.

clemenza, Thursday, 19 March 2020 15:04 (three weeks ago) link

I have been meaning to get around to watching Barry Lyndon for 20+ years, still the only Kubrick I've never seen lol

Οὖτις, Thursday, 19 March 2020 15:09 (three weeks ago) link

the Humphrey Cobb novel of Paths ends with the execution, but I think Kubrick and Harris both agreed the audience had to get *some* moral relief (eg Gen Mireau punished in some form for his shoot-our-troops order).

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 19 March 2020 15:13 (three weeks ago) link

It's amusing to see Emile Meyer, who played the crooked cop in Sweet Smell of Success ("Sidney, come over here so I can chastise you!"), play the priest.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 19 March 2020 15:35 (three weeks ago) link

Barry Lyndon is great, everyone talks about how beautiful and painterly it is (it is) but until I saw it again relatively recent I forgot about all the zooms in the movie. it felt like a comedy in a theater

flappy bird, Wednesday, 25 March 2020 04:43 (two weeks ago) link

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