Stanley Kubrick, born July 26, 1928 in Manhattan, New York, died March 7, 1999 in Harpenden in Hertfordshire in the UK, was an American film director, screenwriter, and film producer. Kubrick started working as a photographer and was known as a perfectionist behind the camera. He began his career in film director in the U.S. but moved to England in the early 1960s, to shoot his Lolita; Kubrick stayed and lived there the rest of his life. He owned Childwickbury Manor north of St Albans and was described as a loner. Recognized as one of the movie history’s most willful and distinctive filmmakers, Kubrick stood for the sheer milestones during his career from 1950 to 1990’s. The recurring theme in his film work was man’s destructive nature.
Stanley Kubrick’s films have several characteristics and recurring common features. Aside from the first two feature films and 2001 – A Space Odyssey, all of Kubrick’s films were based on existing novels. When he wrote the script for films, he collaborated sometimes with writers (usually an author of fiction, but for the Full Metal Jacket, he collaborated with a journalist) who had limited experience when it came to writing screenplays. Several of his films are narrated by a voiceover that is sometimes quoted directly from the original text. All Kubrick films, with or without narration, were filmed from the viewpoint of the characters.
From 2001 – A Space Odyssey Kubrick mostly used already produced classical music in his films, in two cases (in A Clockwork Orange and The Shining) there were the electronic revised version of classic by Wendy Carlos. He too often used happy pop music in an ironic way, especially in scenes with mayhem and destruction, often in the films closing credits of the final scenes. Kubrick’s films are usually seen as ironic, coolly, and distanced. However, one recurring feature is a suspense, which we can identify with the protagonist’s feelings. These scenes are penetrated by strong sentiments. The observer no longer considers the scene from a distance but is drawn into the character’s emotions. One example is the scene where the main character Alex in A Clockwork Orange returns to his parents’ home and is rebuffed, and then deeply depressed. Other example is of Barry Lyndon’s love scene on the balcony to the sounds of Schubert or the scene where Barry and Lady Lyndon’s son dies in hospital bed. It has an intense empathy easily overlooked because of Kubrick’s famous ironic style.
Film critic Roger Ebert noted in his review of Full Metal Jacket that Kubrick’s films often contain a close up of a face with head tilted downward and eyes upward in an important scene for the character. Kubrick often used wide-angle lens, scenes in which the camera follows a character, and scenes filmed in narrow corridors or places with high parallel walls. All Stanley Kubrick movies have a scene that takes place in or just outside a bathroom. For most of Kubrick’s films, it is fair to say that film critics have not accept them well when the premiere, while later the films received more favorable assertion. Audiences have enjoyed Kubrick’s works better and several of them have been blockbusters.
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