Wednesday, September 30, 2009


 Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures is a documentary supplement that came with a Kubrick DVD box set of his films. The picture was directed by Jan Harlan, Kubrick's brother in law and apparently had the approval of the Kubrick family. So I wasn't expecting much. The documentary spends a lot of time pushing the idea that Kubrick was just a big lovable teddy bear/family man who directed classic films way ahead of their time.


Kubrick probably had an obsessive compulsive personality with possibly a streak of paranoia. He was a recluse towards the end of his life. He spent many years living on a private estate in England with his wife and daughters chasing people off of his property with a shotgun. A compulsive memo writer.  At one point in the film Kubrick's daughter reads from a lengthy 17 page memo he wrote on how to care for his cats. It's supposed to come off as funny and eccentric but it seems weird. 

The film spends some time discussing the negative reviews to A Clockwork Orange, and Kubrick's surprising reaction to the backlash he received from the film. This part of this seems extremely suspect.  Kubrick had stated in many interviews (when he was giving interviews) that he had always wanted to make a mainstream pornographic movie his entire life.   Did Kubrick actually think the strong sexual violence he put into A Clockwork Orange would be well received by the critics in 1971?

However I think you could make a good argument that after 2001: A Space Odyssey he really didn't make a "classic" film. He made interesting films but considering the 2 years he spent actually filming his final film, Eyes Wide Shut even his most rabid fans would have to admit it was not the masterpiece that was expected.

The impression left by Stanley Kubrick: A Life In Pictures, is of a very strange guy allowed to do whatever he wanted by a movie studio that gave him enough money to indulge his screwy whims.

 The clips and scenes from the films do look very good.

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