Stanley Kubrick: The Ultimate Guide to the Master Filmmaker

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Stanley Kubrick – Breaking Down the Master’s Directing Style

What is that elevates a filmmaker to a film master like Stanley Kubrick, or that elegant French word, auteur? In the vast majority of films that make it onto the big screen these days, it is the actors’ names which draw curious audiences above the director’s.

In many cases, at least in a film’s public profile, the director works behind the scenes, barely participating in the promotion circuit, and in the most disheartening cases, can even earn the label of a “Hollywood Hack”.

There may be hundreds of such ill-fated directors circulating, however, the last 120 years of filmmaking have given us a precious selection of truly masterful auteurs. From Alfred Hitchcock to Jean Renoir, from Claire Denis to Quentin Tarantino, the film masters’ canon is a rich one.

Such filmmakers leave an indelible mark on their films; they exert unmistakable control over their project; they allow their creative idiosyncrasies to seep into every aspect of their process. In other words, cinematic masters have the freedom to make their films truly their own, and the vision to create something unique in doing so.



Inarguably one of the most creative, idiosyncratic, visionary directors of our time, Stanley Kubrick falls easily into this categorisation of auteur. His films, which frequently mix incisive political messages with disturbing character relationships and iconic horror imagery, are simultaneously artful and raw.

In perhaps his best-known film, The Shining, his uncanny, labyrinthine and geometric framing of the film’s hotel setting transform inanimate objects like tricycles and corridors into pseudo-characters in themselves, capable of conveying horror and unease even without explicit violence.

In his Vietnam War indictment Full Metal Jacket, Kubrick blurs the line between military brutality and full-blown abuse, masculinity and femininity, violence and sexuality, in ways no other filmmaker could. Indeed, his characteristic blending of beauty and ugliness, politics and psychology, composure and unease, have marked Kubrick’s cinema even since his earliest projects, such as

Below is by far one of the best video essays on Stanley Kubrick’s work. THE DIRECTORS SERIES is an educational non-profit collection of video and text essays by filmmaker Cameron Beyl exploring the works of contemporary and classic film directors. You can donate to support the project at:
Patreon: patreon.com/directorsseries. Before you watch the videos check out these legendary letters from the man himself Stanley Kubrick.

You can also see his settler work breaking down on of Stanley Kubrick’s most intense pupils, David Fincher. Enjoy!

Download the mp3 of the podcast here


Check out the NEW Documentary – Kubrick Remembered (2016)

A new look into the Kubrick archives, with special appearances by Christiane Kubrick. Featuring never-seen footage of Stanley’s works, his house and his film production facilities.

Check out this amazing documentary on the “mysterious boxes” Stanley Kubrick kept on his property for decades.



The Barry Lyndon Projectionist’s Letter

Stanley Kubrick was legendary for making sure his films were projects perfectly in every theater around the US. Below you’ll find an amazing letter that was sent out to all projectionists screening Barry Lyndon.

It was reproduced by screenwriter and film critic Jay Cocks, who explained:

“I knew Stanley pretty well for a while, but at the time of the Time Barry Lyndon cover I was in LA beginning preliminary work on Gangs of New York. So I had no hand in the Time cover, but still managed to let Stanley know how great I thought the movie was. He replied with his usual gracious, funny note and enclosed this letter, because he thought I’d be interested. Bet you will be too.”

Thank you Mr. Cocks. Check out the  letter below:
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A rep from Warner Brothers responded to the letter,

“We stand firmly that we are 100% in compliance with Mr. Kubrick’s wishes and edict” and that “the letter from Kubrick to projectionists was the reference for our 1.78 aspect ratio call.”

God I miss you Stanley.



1.1- STANLEY KUBRICK- EARLY INDEPENDENT FEATURES

Part 1 of the DIRECTORS SERIES’ examination into the films and career of director Stanley Kubrick, covering his early independent feature films:
FEAR & DESIRE (1953)
KILLER’S KISS (1955)
THE KILLING (1956)


1.2- STANLEY KUBRICK- THE KIRK DOUGLAS YEARS

Part 2 of the DIRECTORS SERIES’ examination into the films and career of director Stanley Kubrick, covering his features in collaboration with actor Kirk Douglas:
PATHS OF GLORY (1957)
SPARTACUS (1960)


Related: Chris Nolan’s Directing Master Class: How to Shoot Your First Feature


1.3- STANLEY KUBRICK- THE PETER SELLERS COMEDIES

Part 3 of the DIRECTORS SERIES’ examination into the films and career of director Stanley Kubrick, covering his features in collaboration with actor Peter Sellers:
LOLITA (1962)
DR. STRANGELOVE: OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (1964)



1.4- STANLEY KUBRICK- THE MASTER WORKS

Part 4 of THE DIRECTORS SERIES’ examination into the films and career of director Stanley Kubrick, covering the string of groundbreaking features that solidified his reputation as a master filmmaker:
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971)
BARRY LYNDON (1975)
THE SHINING (1980)


1.5- STANLEY KUBRICK- THE FINAL FEATURES

The concluding installment of THE DIRECTORS SERIES’ examination into the films and career of director Stanley Kubrick, covering his final two features and the legacy he leaves behind.
FULL METAL JACKET (1987)
EYES WIDE SHUT (1999)

Stanley Kubrick Screenplays

Below is a collection of all of Stanley Kubrick’s screenplays. (NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).


Related: David Fincher: Secrets to Breaking Down his Directing Style and Techniques


BONUS: Stanley Kubrick A Life In Pictures

STANLEY KUBRICK: A LIFE IN PICTURES is an AMAZING documentary about a master film director like Stanley Kubrick. Dealing with his life from growing up in the Bronx to his last days making and refining EYES WIDE SHUT, LIFE IN PICTURES has interviews with cast members, production crew, writers, composers, etc. Jack Nicholson, Malcolm McDowell, Shelley Duvall, Tom Cruise among others are the actors interviewed.

Wendy Carlos, musician who orchestrated the classical music in CLOCKWORK ORANGE, is also interviewed, as is Jan Harlan (producer and brother-in-law), Christina Kubrick (Stanley Kubrick’s wife and a painter), Gyorgy Ligeti (composer’s music used in many Stanley Kubrick films), and many more invaluable interviews.

There are also clips from every single Kubrick production, comments and revelations (particularly about CLOCKWORK’s controversy in Great Britain), reaction from critics like Richard Schickel and other film directors such as Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese, and so much more.

Anyone who is a Stanley Kubrick fan cannot be without this 21/2 hour documentary…invaluable only skims the surface, it is essential.


Standing on the Shoulders of Kubrick: The Legacy of “2001: A Space Odyssey”


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BONUS: Stanley Kubrick : The Lost Tapes (Full Documentary)

A short documentary about the early life and feature films of the great Stanley Kubrick, as narrated by himself. The narration was pulled from interviews that took place in 1966 with Jeremy Bernstein. Bernstein was writing a profile on the director and used these recordings as a chance to gather information. As it turns out the tapes themselves were a rare and incredibly interesting insight into the mind of Kubrick. Its also a glimpse at the director before his “masterpieces” such as ‘2001 : A Space Odyssey’ and ‘The Shining’ had been made. Entire Documentary edited and created by Jim Casey.

The films mentioned are as follows :

1968 – 2001: A Space Odyssey
1964 – Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
1962 – Lolita
1960 – Spartacus
1957 – Paths of Glory
1956 – The Killing
1955 – Killer’s Kiss
1953 – Fear and Desire
1951 – Day of the Fight (Documentary short)
1951 – Flying Padre (Documentary short)


The Visions of Stanley Kubrick


Adam Savage Visits the Stanley Kubrick Exhibition!

After making its way around the world, the incredible exhibition of Stanley Kubrick’s work has arrived in San Francisco. Adam Savage tours the exhibit to show you some of his favorite items. From rare camera equipment to pre-production artwork and film props, these objects connect us to one of cinema’s greatest minds.


KUBRICK / TARKOVSKY

Unlike previously, focusing on one filmmaker, I wanted to look at the two most influential and most respected artists in the world of cinema: Stanley Kubrick and Andrei Tarkovsky. Both of them have defined and pioneered the cinematic language, and propelled cinema forward as an art form. This short comparison highlights their own unique cinematic style, in which to some extent, they share the same philosophical and thematic undertones in their filmography.

The films included are:
Stanley Kubrick- Path of Glory (1957)
– Spartacus (1960)
– Lolita (1962)
– Dr. Strangelove (1964)
– 2001: A space odyssey (1968)
– A Clockwork Orange (1971)
– Barry Lyndon (1975)
– The Shining (1980)
– Full Metal Jacket (1987)
– Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Andrei Tarkovsky -Ivan’s Childhood (1962)
– Andrei Rublev (1966)
– Solaris (1972)
– The Mirror (1975)
– Stalker (1979)
– Nostalghia (1983)
– The Sacrifice (1986)


Stanley Kubrick – The Cinematic Experience


Kubrick’s The Shining(1980) – Rare Behind The Scenes Footage



Stanley Kubrick – 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – Making of a Myth


Inside the Making of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove

Inside the Making of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove A behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of one of the classics of modern cinema. Including interviews with many members of the cast and crew of this story about the scramble by the heads of state to head off a rogue general’s attempt to launch a nuclear war, this film gives fans a wealth of new information on the work and effort that went into bringing the film to fruition.


Six Kinds of Light with Stanley Kubrick’s DP John Alcott BSC

Documentary on John Alcott, cinematographer or cameraman on — 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, and The Shining.


The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket”


The Shining — Quietly Going Insane Together

The Shining, more than any other horror film, frightens me on a deep, psychological level. This video explores what exactly makes it so creepy.


“Cinefile: Stanley Kubrick – The Invisible Man”


Stanley Kubrick’s Movies Mirror His Own Early Photography

Staircases to Nowhere: Making Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’

The Life of an Artist | Stanley Kubrick

KUBRICK’S OLD HOME: ABBOTS MEAD

The Peter Sellers Story: Stanley Kubrick parts

Excerpts from the BBC Arena program, “The Peter Sellers Story”, a documentary directed by Peter Lydon featuring Seller’s home movies shot with his portable cameras. These excerpts covers the year when Sellers became famous in the US and the time he spent with Stanley Kubrick, making “Lolita” and “Dr Strangelove” in England.

Producer James B Harris recollects how Sellers was hired for playing the ambiguous character of Quilty and why the production was moved in England. Kubrick is portrayed with his wife Christiane while playing tennis and chatting in Seller’s home garden.

Scenes from both “Lolita” and “Dr Strangelove” are included and quotes from Kubrick statements about Sellers are read by the narrator.

The documentary features interviews with several Sellers’ friends and cooperators and a clip from 1964 TV program The Steve Allen Show where Sellers was interviewed about how he created the character and the voice of the mad Dr Strangelove by taking inspiration from photographer Arthur Fellig, aka Weegee: a tape with Weegee’s voice studied by Sellers is included, where the photographer talks about his nickname and his work.


BONUS: TOP TEN Online Filmmaking Courses


If you liked Stanley Kubrick – Breaking Down the Master’s Directing Style, then take a listen to:
David Fincher: His Secrets on Directing & Visual Storytelling

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