Past Projections: Stanley Kubrick

One of the greatest filmmakers of all time, American-born Stanley Kubrick is famed for unique cinematography, powerful music scores and superb attention to detail. Kubrick also proved he could do any genre including war (Full Metal Jacket), black-comedy (Dr. Strangelove), horror (The Shining) and science fiction (2001: Space Odyssey).

Kubrick began his career as a photographer in New York City, earning a living snapping everything from dog shows to murder scenes for the NYPD. At the same time he was teaching himself all aspects of film production and directing. After getting into making movies his big break came stepping in at the last minute to finish Hollywood blockbuster Spartacus, starring Kirk Douglas (who is Charlie Sheen’s Grandad…). Kubrick was involved in all areas of film making – writing, research, editing and management of production – giving him almost complete artistic control. And apparently he was nuttier than squirrel sh*t

Several of his films broke new ground in cinematography such as the innovative 2001: A Space Odyssey; Barry Lyndon, a film using specially designed lenses for natural lighting; and The Shining, infamous for many things (“Heeeeere’s Johnny!”) but also noted for being the first film to use a steadicam, allowing smooth tracking shots such as the scene where Jack Nicholson’s character murders the caretaker with an axe…(apologies if you haven’t seen it).

Some films, including Clockwork Orange, were very controversial at the time of release, dealing with taboo subject matter like violent, milk-drinking teenagers who listen to Beethoven. Suffice to say, Kubrick was a nutter, genius and maverick.