Stanley Kubrick

45 posts / 0 new
Last post
Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Stanley Kubrick

A babble bast from the past: "Wendy...Sweetheart...Darling....LIGHT of my LIFE!"

From the wonderful website Lists of Note:

Quote:
From one of Stanley Kubrick's notebooks comes a list of potential titles for the 1964 movie that was eventually named, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Interestingly, that particular title doesn't feature on this page.

Quote:

  • Doctor Doomsday
  • Don't Knock the Bomb
  • Dr. Doomsday and his Nuclear Wiseman
  • Dr. Doomsday Meets Ingrid Strangelove
  • Dr. Doomsday or: How to Start World War III Without Even Trying
  • Dr. Strangelove's Bomb
  • Dr. Strangelove's Secret Uses of Uranus
  • My Bomb, Your Bomb
  • Save The Bomb
  • Strangelove: Nuclear Wiseman
  • The Bomb and Dr. Strangelove or: How to be Afraid 24hrs a Day
  • The Bomb of Bombs
  • The Doomsday Machine
  • The Passion of Dr. Strangelove
  • Wonderful Bomb

6079_Smith_W
Unionist

Catchfire wrote:

A babble bast from the past: "Wendy...Sweetheart...Darling....LIGHT of my LIFE!"

What's a "bast"?

 

autoworker autoworker's picture

'Paths of Glory', '2001: A Space Odyssey', and 'A Clockwork Orange' are also amongst my favourites. Kubrick is always a treat to revisit. Perhaps there should be a Kubrick Forum for ongoing discussion. Any takers?

autoworker autoworker's picture

There's an old photograph of a crowd in the ballroom of the Mount Royal Hotel (ca. late 20's. early '30's) in the McCord Museum archive, that reminds me of the shot of the group photo at the end of 'The Shining'. I almost expected to see Jack smiling back at me.

Fidel

autoworker wrote:
"... and 'A Clockwork Orange' are also amongst my favo..."

Chief Guard Barnes to Alex: Shut your filthy hole, you scum!

I was a bit shocked when I first viddy'd it, actually.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Quote:
Despite his austere public image, director Stanley Kubrick was an avid lover of cats. He owned many cats and often brought them on set or into the editing room, where they were fed Evian water in Spode china bowls. Treating his pets with the same attention to detail that was his trademark as a director, Kubrick once handed his family 15 pages of instructions on how to care for his cats while he was away.

Via Metafilter

At the link there's an interview (and some interesting comments) by Kubrick on The Shining, in which he speculates that his cat might be psychic.

 

knownothing knownothing's picture

DaveW wrote:

he was a chess player, very austere and odd in many ways, and even cruel in his self-centredeness;

Malcolm McDowell said he made him the centre of all [pssible attention throughout Clockwork, then compeletely dropped him the second filming ended; he found if very odd

Because Kubrick could beat George C. Scott at chess he allowed Kubrick to push him as an actor and achieve that wacky performance.

autoworker autoworker's picture

Fidel wrote:

autoworker wrote:
"... and 'A Clockwork Orange' are also amongst my favo..."

Chief Guard Barnes to Alex: Shut your filthy hole, you scum!

I was a bit shocked when I first viddy'd it, actually.

Burgess certainly had an ear for language, and an appreciation for what flows from the yap. Kubrick must have had a ball winding it all up. But, to digress, I wonder why he went with the American version of the novel, which dropped the final chapter.

6079_Smith_W

@ autoworker

I can understand why. 

In the first place, that last chapter is a break with the black satire of the rest of the piece. As far as the movie characters are depicted, it would be a complate break in character, and in the style of the film.

Plus that whole cyclical thing is an obvious and dreary denoument. I think Kubrick ends on a far better and politically pointed note.

and @ DaveW 

Interesting. Hardly the strangest relationship between a star and director, though. I am thinking of Richard Harris and Lindsay Anderson.

 

 

autoworker autoworker's picture

@6079_Smith_W: So, I take it that you prefer Alex in a state of perpetual adolescent nihilism, without any hope of moral transformation? Perhaps that's the true meaning of American exceptionalism, in the popular mind, anyway.

6079_Smith_W

@ autoworker

No, I didn't say that. We all know that any real person is going to grow up.

Alex is a character in a satirical story with a beginning and an end. As for growing up, we saw that part with his em and pee, not that I would call them an example of  moral transformation. Plus, the movie has a rather different style than the book, although the story is similar.

Frankly, I think whatever happens to the character is tangential to the central theme of the book and the movie - that of free will, society,  and government control. 

I don't mind at all that the movie ends with Alex free, but with much darker questions about him and the society and government around him left unresolved. I don't think a resolution is necessarily appropriate, because it is still an open question for us as well.

 

 

autoworker autoworker's picture

@6079_Smith_W: I see the Alex character, in the original British version of the novel, as the archetypical 'Angry Young Man', in extremis, of a particular time in the post-war UK. Moreover, I feel that the hero's inevitable conformity is actually a more formalistic resolution to a Modern interpretation of the human condition. Kubrick, and the ethos of the American version, is darker because it reduces 'free will' to an execution of uninhibited, reptilian impulses. It's an amoral coming of age novel/film-- a dystopic 'American Graffiti' that's rendered somewhat alien to American culture, by maintaining its psychopathy as a uniquely British sickness. I don't think American audiences would accept Alex as maturing into conformity. Americans would rather have their heroes go down swinging, than live, ironically, to perpetuate the system.

Fidel

autoworker wrote:
Americans would rather have their heroes go down swinging, than live, ironically, to perpetuate the system.

I think that when it was published there were even more U.S. states than today where the death penalty was the law. In 1960s America Alex and his droogs likely would have been executed for their crimes, end of.

I think that free will and human consciousness are problems for philosophers and physicists. There are a number of possibilities.

6079_Smith_W

@ autoworker

Yes, I remembered that bit after I wrote  - the other distinction in that Alex in the film is a psychopath. Also in the book he really is a child.

But I don't think him changing is just a factor of American audiences - even though the ending was apparently cut for that reson. I think it would have clashed with Kubrick's interpretation, and ruined the film.

And really, at the end he has been reduced to being a pawn of the state, and used against activists who, ironically, were struggling for his interests. That's a clear and better ending IMO. After all, his friends have already "matured" and turned into cops, so that has been established already.

Though all this talk of American and British audiences reminded me of the story of Michael Powell, the respected British director whose career was ruined, and who was driven into exile because he dared to make a movie about a psychopath who was not a drooling monster, but a human being. 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/7967407/Michael-Powells-Peeping-...

Strangely enough Alfred Hitchcock took a similar look at the theme just a few months later with the release of Psycho, which was a box office hit.

Fidel

2001.wikia.com wrote:
During Dr. Heywood Floyd's visit to TMA-1, the sun rose over Tycho crater, and for the first time in 3 million years, sunlight hit the monolith, unleashing a powerful radio blast, aimed directly at Jupiter-specifically the Jupiter monolith. After the blast, the monolith remained inert, and even its magnetic field had disappeared.
The Tycho Monolith was later moved to Earth and placed in the United Nations building in New York City.

TMA-1 was destroyed along with the other monoliths when the virus was released on them shortly after the start of the fourth millennium.

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture
knownothing knownothing's picture

Fidel wrote:

2001.wikia.com wrote:
During Dr. Heywood Floyd's visit to TMA-1, the sun rose over Tycho crater, and for the first time in 3 million years, sunlight hit the monolith, unleashing a powerful radio blast, aimed directly at Jupiter-specifically the Jupiter monolith. After the blast, the monolith remained inert, and even its magnetic field had disappeared.
The Tycho Monolith was later moved to Earth and placed in the United Nations building in New York City.

TMA-1 was destroyed along with the other monoliths when the virus was released on them shortly after the start of the fourth millennium.

 

"Pink" Floyd set the last 23 minutes of 2001 to music

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQZAf97990w

 

Fidel

A Pink Floyd-Space Odyssey music video? Who were the two people who disliked it? C'mon!

Bärlüer

Oh... I thought it was music written for it.

Pink Floyd were actually set to do the music for Alejandro Jodorowksy's version of Dune, which was never realized. It was to have artwork by Moebius and Giger, Salvador Dali playing the role of the Emperor, etc. etc.

DaveW

he was a chess player, very austere and odd in many ways, and even cruel in his self-centredeness;

Malcolm McDowell said he made him the centre of all possible attention throughout Clockwork, then compeletely dropped him the second filming ended; he found if very odd

voice of the damned

Some of you may be interested in this...

[url=http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0037.html]The Hechinger Debacle[/url]

I haven't read it for a while, but I clearly recall that Kubrick comes off, by own his words, as being unconditionally right-wing. He talks about the influence of sociobiology on his work, and even at one point says liberals(which he means in the American sense of left-wing) are to blame for many of the world's problems. Apart from his micro political views, Kubrick's view of mankind is decidedly Hobbesian, in the "war of all against all" sense.

The only part that seems confusing is where Kubrick describes the Minister Of The Interior as representing "the Right", whereas it's usually the left that favours rehabilitation over punishment. The real right-winger in the movie, I think, is the prison warden, given the punitive ethic he expounds to Alex.

For his part, Hechinger seems to misunderstand Christian theology somewhat, when he says that Kubrick's view of man as depraved is not Christian(as Kubrick claimed), but Manichean. That view of humanity is also part of many Christian traditions.

 

 

 

knownothing knownothing's picture

Bärlüer wrote:

Oh... I thought it was music written for it.

Pink Floyd were actually set to do the music for Alejandro Jodorowksy's version of Dune, which was never realized. It was to have artwork by Moebius and Giger, Salvador Dali playing the role of the Emperor, etc. etc.

I heard they wanted to do the music for it but Kubrick wanted to use the 20th century atonal stuff instead...so they wrote the music anyway and many people watch it like this now

from Wikipedia: The members of the band always denied that the synchronization was intentional. Furthermore, the technology to play back film in a recording studio circa 1971 would have been expensive and difficult for the band to acquire(although it is not clear why such equipments would be necessary). However, the band had experience with creating film soundtracks by that point, having created the soundtrack to the French art house film More in 1969. Roger Waters is sometimes quoted as saying that the band's failure to contribute music to 2001's official score was his "greatest regret".[6]

6079_Smith_W

Thanks for those pieces; very interesting. 

Though I wouldn't say he comes off as unconditionally right-wing. He's quite clear that he doesn't want people to think he is like WIlliam F. Buckley. That alone sets him apart from many on the right wing.

And he's pretty clear up front that the whole story is allegorical and symbolic. So strict interpretation doesn't necessarily apply.

voice of the damned

Though I wouldn't say he comes off as unconditionally right-wing. He's quite clear that he doesn't want people to think he is like WIlliam F. Buckley.

Well, actually, the quote is...

"Well, many aspects of liberal mythology are coming to grief now -- but I don't want to give any examples or I'm going to sound like William Buckley...."

 The implication being that, if he were to continue talking and provide some examples, he would sound like William F. Buckley. Which is not quite the same thing as saying that he's not like William F. Buckley.

But yeah, I don't think he was a right-winger in the sense of a partisan identification. More like one of those people who say "Well, gee, I don't WANNA be a right-winger, but all this liberal social-engineering is just pushing me into the right-wing corner". In one of the biographies of Kubrick, I read a quote from his wife where she said something very close to that.

Even Kubrick's supposedly anti-war movies aren't really anti-war in a progressive sense, because if the view of humanity represented by Jack T. Ripper and Gunnery Saergent Hartman is accurate, there's no point if struggling for a more peaceful world, because that would be a utopian impossibility.

 

 

 

voice of the damned

And he's pretty clear up front that the whole story is allegorical and symbolic. So strict interpretation doesn't necessarily apply.

Well, there is allegory and then there is allegory. Animal Farm was about Soviet Russia, not about farming conditions in England. On the other hand, the parable of the Good Samaritan, while yes, it might have been portraying a universal truth(ie. good people are not always those who are socially designated as such), has as its symbolic villains some pretty recognizable figures from the religious-political life of Jesus' mileu. Not too many Levites or priests would have heard the story and thought "Oh well, he's just using a metaphor, nothing personal against us, I'm sure".

In the case of Clockwok Orange, if you're someone who doesn't like, say, social workers, the portrayal of Mr. Deltoid as a lecherous old sleaze with repressed tendencies toward violence will likely confirm every prejudice you have about that occupation. 

 

 

Fidel

I think I was somewhat amused by Deltoid's treatment of Alex when Deltoid tells him that he'd just come from the hospital after Alex's victim died. I, too, wanted Alex to be tortured by what he had done. 

Let's face it, some, but not all, young people are borderline sociopaths. They are not fully developed human beings at that stage of their lives. And I think Alex and his droogies are definitely extreme examples. Not every adolescent goes out and murders people. However, I can imagine young males in a far away country, and I can imagine how, with rifles in their hands, might be more effective assassins for the state than someone who has had time to develop a social conscience.  

6079_Smith_W

@ VOTD

Yeah, I did read that. I don't agree with all so-called liberal policies either. Though who's to say what Kubrick actually meant by that. It was over 40 years ago.

I guess the word that hung me up was "unconditionally".  

Truth be told, Burgess's original story isn't quite so clear when it comes to parsing political ideology and free will, and it is even more confused because part of it is taken from his personal experience. 

What I am saying is that while Kurbrick (whose interpretation of the book is actually quite different from Burgess's) might mention the failure of Liberal policy, I see the final work as an indictment of something else entirely - specifically authoritarianism, and the quashing of free will.

So not only would I not put him at one end of that ruler, I don't think that single measure is the final word on his legacy at all.

 

autoworker autoworker's picture

My take on Kubrick is that he presented society (civilization, if one prefers) as a system designed for, and administered by malignant narcissists-- which is probably why that particular malady is soon to be expunged from the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. What's a young chelovyek to do except give it a wink, eh Alex?

Fidel

Kubrick(wiki) wrote:
It is a story of the dubious redemption of a teenage delinquent by condition-reflex therapy. It is at the same time a running lecture on free-will.

In the movie the character Alex mocks the "Ludovico technique" or aversion therapy. Alex's exterior is human and motivated by primal instincts which, apparently, all males possess at some level. As immature adolescents we think on how nice it would be to take what we want from society and even to murder those we dislike even though many of us do not have what it takes to cross the line and follow through on the murder end of things. Kubrick's scenes of violence appeals to the dark side of the rebellious young man/adolescent.

On the inside, however, Alex is mechanistic, a clockwork orange so to speak. His bad behaviour can not be averted because Kubrick's story reveals that deep down Alex's crimes are pre-determined according the old scientific regime of Newtonian atomic theory. Einstein, too, was a determinist and felt that God does not play dice with the universe, even though Einstein was the Godfather of quantum mechanics. Einstein basically agreed with the laws of nature which he helped to overthrow after turn of the last century and said, essentially, that what you eat for dinner 25 years later on June 5th is already determined. However, even Einstein can be wrong according to scientists of his era and after.

Werner Heisenberg came along with the uncertainty principle. Heisenberg said that a photon or electron can be in two places at once. There is uncertainty in the universe and paving the way for free-will. And since John Stewart Bell more scientists are non-materialist in their view of the grand "clock's" timing.

It's time for an re-make of Burgess-Kubrick's The Clockwork Orange and one which reflects modern scientific thinking. Perhaps Alex will turn out to be human and possess free-will in the do-over. Perhaps the not so moral Ludovico technique just needs some tweaking.

autoworker autoworker's picture

@ Fidel: I'd like to see that. Any suggestions as to who you'd choose to direct it, and who you might cast as Alex?

Fidel

I'd pick Sarah Polley for director,  and maybe Ellen Page could play "Alexa" DeLarge. I thought she was good in Inception. Or even Natalie Gumede from Coronation Street. 

autoworker autoworker's picture

Fidel wrote:

I'd pick Sarah Polley for director,  and maybe Ellen Page could play "Alexa" DeLarge. I thought she was good in Inception. Or even Natalie Gumede from Coronation Street. 

I like it!

6079_Smith_W

I think any attempt to recreate Kubrick's work would be a dog's breakfast, and a contemporary re-telling of Burgess's novel would be a completely different beast.

It's important to remember how difficult the work was and is - so much so that Kubrick withdrew it from distribution in Britain for 27 years. That.... and the dispute between the author and the film maker over the translation.

 

 

autoworker autoworker's picture

Perhaps I've misunderstood Fidel's suggestion, but I was thinking of a Kubrick remake as an updated adaptation of the novel, without the last chapter. As difficult as that may be, I like the idea of a female director, and a female character because it might prove interesting to explore the distaff side of delinquency, and I think women are best suited to explore that aspect of their nature.

Fidel

It was a thought provoking film in its day. I think Hollywood is running out of new and interesting plots and sometimes resort to riding the coattails of previous box office successes. When watching them for the first time the classics always surprise me with the story lines and plots. Some people have pointed out that they didn't have great special FX in the old days and so were forced to deliver the goods with the acting end of things.

autoworker autoworker's picture

Hollywood has always been conservative, but nowadays, producing films has become so expensive, that the studios have become risk averse to the point of recycling the same old plot lines, not just to avoid controversy, but to preclude a major bomb at the box office. So, they recycle material that was once successful, and refresh it with new technology, actors, etc.. That's why we've seen several iterations of The Body Snatchers (we're probably due for another). A Clockwork Orange, both the novel and Kubrick's interpretation, beg for a contemporary 'treatment' of the Alex(a) character, as an exegesis to today's nihilism, as witnessed, presently, in these times of austerity. Burgess, I believe, was essentially a moralist. Hollywood is as morally bankrupt as the system it reflects and perpetuates. To do it justice, A Clockwork Orange needs to be beyond entertainment. Unfortunately, I don't think such films are made these days.

Fidel

[sideways]And here she is telling us why she prefers living in Toronto and making films in Canada. Video: Why Sarah Polley loves making films in Canada

autoworker autoworker's picture

"Paths of Glory": any thoughts?

knownothing knownothing's picture

autoworker wrote:

"Paths of Glory": any thoughts?

I love the seen at the end when the French soldiers are silenced by the German chanteuse

autoworker autoworker's picture

knownothing wrote:

autoworker wrote:

"Paths of Glory": any thoughts?

I love the seen at the end when the French soldiers are silenced by the German chanteuse

Indeed, Dax was about to write off his men as animals, but the young woman's singing touched a cord that brought out their humanity. Incidentally, Kubrick married the young actress, Susanne Christian, and they remained together until his death.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture
autoworker autoworker's picture

I miss playing with Lego.

6079_Smith_W

Good catch CF. I did see it on boingboing yesterday.  I don't know wny they gave the Russian ambassador a moustache, though.

 

Unionist

Do I need to increase the insurance on my bodily fluids?