Stanley Kubrick (1928–1999)Director | Writer | Producer
Date of Birth 26 July 1928, New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 7 March 1999, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, England, UK (natural causes)
Height 5' 6½" (1.69 m)
Stanley Kubrick was born in Manhattan, New York City, to Sadie Gertrude (Perveler) and Jacob Leonard Kubrick, a physician. His family were Jewish immigrants (from Austria, Romania, and Russia). Stanley was considered intelligent, despite poor grades at school. Hoping that a change of scenery would produce better academic performance, Kubrick's father sent him in 1940 to Pasadena, California, to stay with his uncle, Martin Perveler. Returning to the Bronx in 1941 for his last year of grammar school, there seemed to be little change in his attitude or his results. Hoping to find something to interest his son, Jack introduced Stanley to chess, with the desired result. Kubrick took to the game passionately, and quickly became a skilled player. Chess would become an important device for Kubrick in later years, often as a tool for dealing with recalcitrant actors, but also as an artistic motif in his films.
Jack Kubrick's decision to give his son a camera for his thirteenth birthday would be an even wiser move: Kubrick became an avid photographer, and would often make trips around New York taking photographs which he would develop in a friend's darkroom. After selling an unsolicited photograph to Look Magazine, Kubrick began to associate with their staff photographers, and at the age of seventeen was offered a job as an apprentice photographer.
In the next few years, Kubrick had regular assignments for "Look", and would become a voracious movie-goer. Together with friend Alexander Singer, Kubrick planned a move into film, and in 1950 sank his savings into making the documentary Day of the Fight (1951). This was followed by several short commissioned documentaries (Flying Padre (1951), and (The Seafarers (1953), but by attracting investors and hustling chess games in Central Park, Kubrick was able to make Fear and Desire (1953) in California.
Filming this movie was not a happy experience; Kubrick's marriage to high school sweetheart Toba Metz did not survive the shooting. Despite mixed reviews for the film itself, Kubrick received good notices for his obvious directorial talents. Kubrick's next two films Killer's Kiss (1955) and The Killing (1956) brought him to the attention of Hollywood, and in 1957 he directed Kirk Douglas in Paths of Glory (1957). Douglas later called upon Kubrick to take over the production of Spartacus (1960), by some accounts hoping that Kubrick would be daunted by the scale of the project and would thus be accommodating. This was not the case, however: Kubrick took charge of the project, imposing his ideas and standards on the film. Many crew members were upset by his style: cinematographer Russell Metty complained to producers that Kubrick was taking over his job. Kubrick's response was to tell him to sit there and do nothing. Metty complied, and ironically was awarded the Academy Award for his cinematography.
Kubrick's next project was to direct Marlon Brando in One-Eyed Jacks (1961), but negotiations broke down and Brando himself ended up directing the film himself. Disenchanted with Hollywood and after another failed marriage, Kubrick moved permanently to England, from where he would make all of his subsequent films. Despite having obtained a pilot's license, Kubrick was rumored to be afraid of flying.
Kubrick's first UK film was Lolita (1962), which was carefully constructed and guided so as to not offend the censorship boards which at the time had the power to severely damage the commercial success of a film. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) was a big risk for Kubrick; before this, "nuclear" was not considered a subject for comedy. Originally written as a drama, Kubrick decided that too many of the ideas he had written were just too funny to be taken seriously. The film's critical and commercial success allowed Kubrick the financial and artistic freedom to work on any project he desired. Around this time, Kubrick's focus diversified and he would always have several projects in various stages of development: "Blue Moon" (a story about Hollywood's first pornographic feature film), "Napoleon" (an epic historical biography, abandoned after studio losses on similar projects), "Wartime Lies" (based on the novel by Louis Begley), and "Rhapsody" (a psycho-sexual thriller).
The next film he completed was a collaboration with sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is hailed by many as the best ever made; an instant cult favorite, it has set the standard and tone for many science fiction films that followed. Kubrick followed this with A Clockwork Orange (1971), which rivaled Lolita (1962) for the controversy it generated - this time not only for its portrayal of sex, but also of violence. Barry Lyndon (1975) would prove a turning point in both his professional and private lives. His unrelenting demands of commitment and perfection of cast and crew had by now become legendary. Actors would be required to perform dozens of takes with no breaks. Filming a story in Ireland involving military, Kubrick received reports that the IRA had declared him a possible target. Production was promptly moved out of the country, and Kubrick's desire for privacy and security resulted in him being considered a recluse ever since.
Having turned down directing a sequel to The Exorcist (1973), Kubrick made his own horror film: The Shining (1980). Again, rumors circulated of demands made upon actors and crew. Stephen King (whose novel the film was based upon) reportedly didn't like Kubrick's adaptation (indeed, he would later write his own screenplay which was filmed as The Shining (1997).)
Kubrick's subsequent work has been well spaced: it was seven years before Full Metal Jacket (1987) was released. By this time, Kubrick was married with children and had extensively remodeled his house. Seen by one critic as the dark side to the humanist story of Platoon (1986), Full Metal Jacket (1987) continued Kubrick's legacy of solid critical acclaim, and profit at the box office.
In the 1990s, Kubrick began an on-again/off-again collaboration with Brian Aldiss on a new science fiction film called "Artificial Intelligence (AI)", but progress was very slow, and was backgrounded until special effects technology was up to the standard the Kubrick wanted.
Kubrick returned to his in-development projects, but encountered a number of problems: "Napoleon" was completely dead, and "Wartime Lies" (now called "The Aryan Papers") was abandoned when Steven Spielberg announced he would direct Schindler's List (1993), which covered much of the same material.
While pre-production work on "AI" crawled along, Kubrick combined "Rhapsody" and "Blue Movie" and officially announced his next project as Eyes Wide Shut (1999), starring the then-married Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. After two years of production under unprecedented security and privacy, the film was released to a typically polarized critical and public reception; Kubrick claimed it was his best film to date.
Special effects technology had matured rapidly in the meantime, and Kubrick immediately began active work on A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), but tragically suffered a fatal heart attack in his sleep on March 7th, 1999.
After Kubrick's death, Spielberg revealed that the two of them were friends that frequently communicated discretely about the art of filmmaking; both had a large degree of mutual respect for each other's work. "AI" was frequently discussed; Kubrick even suggested that Spielberg should direct it as it was more his type of project. Based on this relationship, Spielberg took over as the film's director and completed the last Kubrick project.
How much of Kubrick's vision remains in the finished project -- and what he would think of the film as eventually released -- will be the final great unanswerable mysteries in the life of this talented and private filmmaker.
Christiane Kubrick (14 April 1958 - 7 March 1999) (his death) (2 children)
Ruth Sobotka (15 January 1955 - 1957) (divorced)
Toba Kubrick (28 May 1948 - 1951) (divorced)
Narration] Nearly all of his films contain a narration at some point (2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)) contains narration in the screenplay, as does the screenplay for Eyes Wide Shut (1999), and The Shining (1980) has some sparse title cards.
Adapted every film he made from a novel, excluding his first two films: Killer's Kiss (1955) and Fear and Desire (1953) (both from original source material), and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
His films often tell about the dark side of human nature, especially dehumanization.
[Symmetry] Symmetric image composition. Often features shots down the length of tall, parallel walls, e.g. the head in Full Metal Jacket (1987), the maze and hotel coridors in The Shining (1980) and the computer room in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
[Three-way] Constructs three-way conflicts
[Faces] Extreme close-ups of intensely emotional faces
[CRM 114] He often uses the sequence CRM114 in serial numbers. CRM-114 is the name of the decoder in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), the Jupiter explorer's "licence plate number" in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is CRM114, and in A Clockwork Orange (1971) Alex is given "Serum 114" when he undergoes the Ludovico treatment.
[Bathroom] All of Kubrick's films feature a pivotal scene that takes place in a bathroom.
Known for his exorbitant shooting ratio and endless takes, he reportedly exposed an incredible 1.3 million feet of film while shooting The Shining (1980), the release print of which runs for 142 minutes. Thus, he used less than 1% of the exposed film stock, making his shooting ratio an indulgent 102:1 when a ratio of 5 or 10:1 is considered the norm.
[Beginning Voice-over] Paths of Glory (1957), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) and A Clockwork Orange (1971) all begin with a voice over, and The Killing (1956) features narration.
Involves his wives in his movies. His first wife, Toba Etta Metz Kubrick, was the dialogue director for Stanley's first feature film Fear and Desire (1953). His second wife, Ruth Sobotka Kubrick, was in Killer's Kiss (1955) as a ballet dancer named Iris in a short sequence for which she also did the choreography. Kubrick's third, and final, wife, Christiane Harlan Kubrick, appeared (as Susanne Christian) in Paths of Glory (1957) before she married him as the only female character (a German singing girl) in the movie. She also did some of the now-infamous paintings for A Clockwork Orange (1971) and some more for Eyes Wide Shut (1999). In addition, her brother, Jan, was Stanley's assistant for A Clockwork Orange (1971) and the executive producer for all of Kubrick's films starting with Barry Lyndon (1975) and going through The Shining (1980), Full Metal Jacket (1987) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999). Also, his daughter, Vivian Kubrick, is the little girl who asks for a Bush Baby for her birthday in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
In his last seven films almost always used previously composed music (such as The Blue Danube andThus Spake Zarathustra in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968))
Preferred to shoot his films in the Academy ratio (1.37:1). The exceptions were: Spartacus (1960), in Panavision, and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), in Cinerama. Much of his films consist of wide-angle shots that give the impression of a wide-screen movie, wide up-and-down as well as wide sideways. From The Killing (1956) onward, his films looked increasingly odder, bigger, and more properly viewed from the rows closer to the screen.
One of his signature shots was "The Glare" - a character's emotional meltdown is depicted by a close-up shot of the actor with his head tilted slightly down, but with his eyes looking up - usually directly into the camera. Examples are the opening shot of Alex in A Clockwork Orange (1971), Jack slowly losing his mind in The Shining (1980), Pvt. Pyle going mad in Full Metal Jacket (1987) and Tom Cruise's paranoid thoughts inside the taxicab in Eyes Wide Shut (1999). Even HAL-9000 has "The Glare" in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
[First-person] Uses the first person viewpoint (the character's perspective) at least once in each film.
Credits are always a slide show. He never used rolling credits except for the opening of The Shining (1980).
Varies aspect ratios in a single film. Apparent in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) and A Clockwork Orange (1971).
In almost every movie he made, there is a tracking shot of a character (the camera following the character).
All of his films end with "The End", when this became out of style in later years because of the need to run end credits, he moved "The End" to the end of the credits.
Often uses music to work against on-screen images to create a sense of irony. In A Clockwork Orange (1971), Alex sings "Singin' in the Rain" while raping Mrs. Alexander. In Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), images of nuclear holocaust are accompanied by the song "We'll Meet Again". The final scene in Full Metal Jacket (1987) has the battle hardened Marines singing the theme to "The Mickey Mouse Club".
[Dark humor] All of Kubrick's films, especially "Dr. Strangelove", have elements of black humor in them.
Preferred mono sound over stereo. Only three of his movies - Spartacus (1960), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999) - were originally done in stereo sound.
[Duality] Kubrick's last five films, minus The Shining (1980), are structurally split into two distinct halves, most likely to mimic the nature of duality in the characters of his films. For example, A Clockwork Orange (1971) shows Alex (Malcolm McDowell) as a sadistic rapist and murderer in the first half of the film and a mind-controlled guinea pig in the second half. In Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Bill (Tom Cruise) travels amidst sexual temptation in New York at night in the first half of the film and rude awakenings during the day in the second half.
Almost all of his films involve a plan that goes horribly wrong
Frequently uses strong primary colors in his cinematography and sharp contrast between black and white.
Often features mellow, emotionally distant characters
More often than not sports a long beard
His films often tackle controversial social themes
Very strong visual style with heavy emphasis on symbolism
Slow-paced dialogue; often had actors pause several beats between line delivery. Also, rarely (if ever) did his dialogue overlap.
Slow, methodical tracking shots
Often cast 'Peter Sellers', 'Kirk Douglas', and 'Philip Stone'
Father-in-law of Philip Hobbs, stepfather of Katharina Kubrick, & brother-in-law of Jan Harlan.
He wanted to make a film based on Umberto Eco's novel "Foucault's Pendulum" which appeared in 1988. Unfortunately, Eco refused, as he was dissatisfied with the filming of his earlier novel The Name of the Rose (1986) and also because Kubrick wasn't willing to let him write the screenplay himself.
Planned to direct a film called "I Stole 16 Million Dollars" based on notorious 1930s bank robber Willie Sutton. It was to be made by Kirk Douglas' Bryna production company, but Douglas thought the script was poorly written. Kubrick tried to get Cary Grant interested, which must have proved to be a failure as well, since the film was never made.
Rarely gave interviews. He did, however, appear in a documentary made by his daughter Vivian Kubrick shot during the making of The Shining (1980). According to Vivian, he was planning on doing a few formal TV interviews once Eyes Wide Shut (1999) was released, but died before he could.
He had a well-known fear of flying, but he had to fly quite often early in his career. Because of his hysteria on planes, he simply tried to lessen the amount of times he flew. According to Malcolm McDowell, Kubrick listened to air traffic controllers at Heathrow Airport for long stretches of time, and he advised McDowell never to fly.
Refused to talk about his movies on set as he was directing them and never watched them when they were completed.
One of the founders of the Directors Guild of Great Britain.
The controversy around A Clockwork Orange (1971)'s UK release was so strong that Kubrick was flooded with angry letters and protesters were showing up at his home, demanding that the film never be shown in England again. He personally petitioned the studio to pull it from theaters, despite his legal inability to control a film after production. The studio, out of respect for Kubrick, eventually decided to pull the film out of theaters prematurely.
His next project after Eyes Wide Shut (1999) was to be A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), which was taken over by Steven Spielberg. It is dedicated to Kubrick's memory.
His dislike of his early film Fear and Desire (1953) is well known. He went out of his way to buy all the prints of it so no one else could see it.
In addition to The Seafarers (1953) (shot for the Seafarers International Union), he may have directed another commissioned project in the early fifties, "World Assembly of Youth," for the United Nations, documenting a UN-sponsored gathering in New York City of young people from throughout the world. No copy of the film has been found and it has never been conclusively proven that it even existed in the first place (as with "The Seafarers," Kubrick never publicly acknowledged it).
The only author that Kubrick worked with personally was Arthur C. Clarke for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
Loved the work of Franz Kafka, H.P. Lovecraft, Carlos Saura, Max Ophüls, Woody Allen and Edgar Reitz (esp. Heimat II: A Chronicle of a Generation (1984)), among many others.
Was voted the 23rd Greatest Director of all time by Entertainment Weekly. He was the least prolific director on this list, having made only 16 films over the course of a 48 year career.
Kubrick's favorite pastime was chess and he was said to be a master at it. Many crew members and actors found themselves on the losing end of chess matches with him.
People would come to his door looking for him, and as few people knew what he looked like, he would tell them that "Stanley Kubrick wasn't home."
Had an extensive and rich friendship with Malcolm McDowell during the filming of A Clockwork Orange (1971). After filming ended, Kubrick never contacted him again.
Often read about psychology, and knew how to manipulate his cast quite well. A fine example of this is with Shelley Duvall in The Shining (1980).
He reportedly briefly considered leaving England for either Vancouver, Canada or Sydney, Australia.
He was so reclusive that the press would make up wild stories about him. One such story was that he shot a fan on his property, and then shot him again for bleeding on the grass.
According to his wife Christiane Kubrick, he would screen every movie he could get ahold of. One of his favorites was The Jerk (1979). He considered making Eyes Wide Shut (1999) a dark sex comedy with Steve Martin in the lead. He even met with Martin to discuss the project.
He was a big fan of American sitcoms Seinfeld (1989), Roseanne (1988) and The Simpsons (1989). He was also a fan of American football and would have his friends in America tape games and send them to him. In addition to being a sports fan, he was fascinated by the craft of television commercials. He was particularly impressed by how they could effectively tell a story in 30 seconds.
According to his close friend Michael Herr, he watched The Godfather (1972) over ten times and said it was probably the greatest film ever made.
He considered Elia Kazan the best American director of all time. His list of favorite directors included at various times Federico Fellini, David Lean, Ingmar Bergman, Vittorio De Sica, François Truffaut, and Max Ophüls.
Daniel Waters wrote the original 180 page screenplay for Heathers (1988) intending for Kubrick to direct it, as he believed Kubrick was the only director who could get away with making a three-hour high school film. Kubrick wasn't interested, and when the film was made the screenplay was cut nearly in half, resulting in a 102-minute film.
Was a lackadaisical student with grades near the bottom of his class.
According to a biography, Kubrick's wife finally convinced him once to take what she considered a long-overdue vacation. While vacationing, she noticed he was taking copious notes about something. When asked what he was writing, she discovered he was jotting some ideas down about a film project!
He was considered to be a well-read man with an extreme attention to detail. For his aborted film project on Napoléon Bonaparte, he had one of his assistants go to various bookstores to acquire every book he could find on the French emperor, and he returned with well in excess of 100. Kubrick read them all and astonished his associates with his level of retention. When working on a battlefield scene, he even examined an historical painting of the battle so he could note exactly what the weather was in the painting and make sure to film the battle on a day with similar weather patterns.
Due to his poor grades in high school (67% average) he was not accepted to a university. Although he never enrolled, he would sit in during classes at Columbia University.
He was a huge fan of the New York Yankees.
According to biographer Michael Herr, Kubrick was often noted for wanting to stick to each word of dialogue without changing it or an actor adding lines of his own. The two exceptions were Peter Sellers (with whom he worked on Lolita (1962) and Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)) and R. Lee Ermey (from Full Metal Jacket (1987)).
Seven of his last nine films were nominated for Oscars. He was nominated for Best Director four consecutive times, for his pictures starting with Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) and ending with Barry Lyndon (1975).
Ranked #4 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Greatest directors ever!" 
Was an avid feline lover, once having 16 of them at one point. He would often let his cats lay around his editing room after filming completed as his way of making up for time he lost with them while he was working.
By the age of thirteen, he had become passionate about photography, chess and jazz drumming.
At the age of 16, he snapped a photograph of a news vendor in New York the day after President Franklin D. Roosevelt died. He sold the photograph to Look magazine, which printed it. The magazine eventually hired him as an apprentice photographer while he was still in high school.
Starting with Lolita (1962), he independently produced all his films from his adopted home of England, UK.
In 1950, after creating and publishing a photo essay for Look magazine on boxing, he used the proceeds from the sale to the magazine to make his first film, a 16-minute documentary on the same subject entitled Day of the Fight (1951).
Abigail Rosen, who co-starred with Viva in Andy Warhol's Tub Girls (1967), was the first door lady at Max's Kansas City, a nightclub in New York City. She claims she had the honor of throwing Kubrick out of the club. "At first Mickey [Ruskin] hired me as the coat-check girl, but it was on the second floor and we were schlepping coats from downstairs to upstairs, and taking them back down where the people wanted to leave. It was not a good plan, besides which people would go up and steal coats. So we abandoned the whole idea and I became the door lady with Bob Russell. The embarrassing times were when Mickey asked us to kick somebody out. The philosophy behind it was that no one would beat on or abuse a woman. I was asked one night to kick Stanley Kubrick out. He was drunk and obnoxious and neither Mickey or I knew who he was. I said, 'Sir, I think it's time for you to leave now, you're not going to be happy here.' And he left. Then Mickey found out the next day who we had kicked out, and he yelled at me for not recognizing him. 'That's why I have you here,' he said, 'you're supposed to know who these people are.'".
Carlo Fiore, who was credited as an assistant to the producer on One-Eyed Jacks (1961) and helped develop the picture, wrote that the firing of Kubrick by Marlon Brando (who went on to direct the film) was perhaps inevitable, as there was only room for one "genius" on the picture. Brando had originally intended to direct the film himself, but Paramount Pictures pressured him to hire a director. Both Kubrick and Brando, at the time, were represented by Music Corp. of America (MCA).
In his 1974 memoir "Bud: The Brando I Knew," 'Carlo Fiore' (I)-- writing of his experience developing and working on the movie One-Eyed Jacks (1961) with his friend Marlon Brando - said that Kubrick had wanted to hire Spencer Tracy to play the character of Dad Longworth in the film. The part had already been cast with Karl Malden, and Brando countered that Malden was a fine actor. Kubrick agreed, but said that Malden played "losers" and the part needed a heavyweight to balance Brando's character of Rio. Brando immediately vetoed the idea of Tracy and forbade any more discussion on the topic.
Kubrick and his partner James B. Harris, during the development of Lolita (1962), hired Marlon Brando's friend Carlo Fiore -- whom Kubrick had worked with on the development of One-Eyed Jacks (1961) -- to write a screenplay of Vladimir Nabokov's novel "Kamera obskura," which Fiore had optioned himself. Written in Russian in 1932, "Kamera obskura" was first translated into English around 1938 as "Camera Obscura" and again circa 1960 as "Laughter in the Dark.") The book had elements in common with "Lolita," and Kubrick -- who was worried he was being hustled when Fiore approached him with the rights to the novel -- tied up the production of a potential rival film by hiring Fiore. Nothing came of Fiore's foray into film development, although Tony Richardson later made a movie of the novel with Nicol Williamson starring.
"I want you to be big -- Lon Chaney big," Kubrick instructed Vincent D'Onofrio during the filming of Full Metal Jacket (1987).
Used his favorite piece of music "Thus spoke Zaratustra" by Richard Strauss, recorded by Herbert von Karajan as the music score in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
Kubrick had started pre-production on Full Metal Jacket (1987) in 1980, a full seven years before it was theatrically released. The success of similar films during that time (particularly Oliver Stone's Platoon (1986) and John Irvin's Hamburger Hill (1987)) left him a bit jaded, feeling like he had been beaten at his own game. This sentiment stayed with him in the early 1990s when he decided to shelve Aryan Papers, his adaptation of the Louis Begley novel Wartime Lies. Kubrick had completed the script and had done a large amount of pre-production work on Aryan Papers; Johanna ter Steege and Joseph Mazzello had been cast in the lead roles and locations had been scouted in Denmark, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Warners officially announced the project as Kubrick's next film in April 1993 and it was scheduled for a December 1994 release. Around the same time Steven Spielberg was shooting Schindler's List (1993), and Kubrick thought the Holocaust-based subject matter of the two projects was too similar. The shelving of this project helps to explain the 12-year gap between Full Metal Jacket (1987) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999).
He directed four of the American Film Institute's 100 Most Greatest Movies: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) at #15, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) at #39, A Clockwork Orange (1971) at #70, and Spartacus (1960) at #81.
He once called Ken Russell in the early 1970s but ended the conversation abruptly because, according to Russell, he had been frightened by a bee. He then called several days later to ask Russell where he had found the lovely English locations for his period films. Russell told him and Kubrick used the locations in his next film, Barry Lyndon (1975). Russell said, "I felt quite chuffed.".
In interviews upon with the release of his highly controversial A Clockwork Orange (1971), Kubrick cited The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) as the kind of movie he did NOT want to make when defending the use of an "evil" protagonist (Alex). Kubrick reasoned that The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) was bad art, as it took the stand that lynching was evil because innocent people might be lynched, not the stand that lynching (i.e, extra-judicial murder) was itself evil. He wanted Alex explicitly evil (thus, the jettisoning of the last chapter of the original novel, in which Alex is reformed; this chapter was not in the American edition that Terry Southern had given to Kubrick). Kubrick felt that an explicitly evil Alex underscores the point that the state's invasion of the prisoner's soul (turning him into a mechanical man, a "clockwork orange") was evil whatever the guilt or innocent, and the level thereof, of the prisoner.
He had no intention of having Anthony Burgess' write the screenplay for A Clockwork Orange (1971), intending to do it himself. In fact, there is little that Kubrick added to Burgess' work except for editorial decisions such as eliminating the second murder Alex commits in prison and replacing Billy Boy with Georgie as police constable Dim's partner (the entire last chapter of the novel was jettisoned, but it had been in the American edition of the novel that Kubrick had first read. Americans, as Burgess reasoned, did not like to see their criminals reformed). The dialog was considered by many critics and cineastes as being lifted almost straight from the book (though there are enough differences to dismiss that as a valid criticism of Kubrick the screenwriter). This is the first of the two movies in which Kubrick has sole credit as screenwriter (Barry Lyndon (1975), which immediately followed A Clockwork Orange (1971) is the other). Kubrick was one of the first director-writers to actually take credit on a film. Going back to the beginnings of the film industry, directors had often participated in the writing of their films, but most did not take credit. It might have been the fact that Kubrick used less of Vladimir Nabokov's credited screenplay and more of his own writing (and the improvisations of Peter Sellers) for Lolita (1962) that influenced him to become a credited screenwriter. Lolita (1962) was shot at the time that the "auteur" theory (which held the director was the main author of a film) was gaining prominence, and from Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) onward Kubrick took credit as a screenwriter. Earlier, he had worked uncredited on the screenplays of Paths of Glory (1957) and One-Eyed Jacks (1961), which he had originally been hired by Marlon Brando to direct. As he was one of the greatest masters the cinema has ever had and truly was the author of his films, Kubrick likely was encouraged to go it alone on A Clockwork Orange (1971) and Barry Lyndon (1975) (which allegedly he shot in an improvisatory manner after reading sections of the novel, which he carried with him during shooting).
According to "The London Standard" (29 June 1999 edition), Kubrick left £66,000 in cash and his house, Childwickbury Manor in Hertfordshire, England, to his wife Christiane Kubrick in a 24-page will drawn up on 22 July 1974. He also left her £21,000 in personal property. Before his death, Kubrick established a minimum of two private trusts, the Stanley Kubrick Trust Number One and the Children's Trust, in which his wealth was collected. Proceeds from the trusts will be distributed among his two children and one stepchild.
Out of all of his feature films, Spartacus (1960) is the only one to which he hasn't contributed in writing the screenplay.
He joined with directors Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Robert Redford, Sydney Pollack and George Lucas in forming the Film Foundation (promotes restoration and preservation of film - May 1990).
According to Kirk Douglas, Kubrick allegedly wanted to take credit for the Spartacus (1960) screenplay that was primarily written by Dalton Trumbo. Trumbo, who was blacklisted at the time, originally was going to use the alias Sam Jackson. During the production of the film, Otto Preminger announced he had hired Trumbo to write the screenplay for Exodus (1960). Douglas, in turn, announced that he had been the first to hire Trumbo, who would be credited on his film. Preminger's film was released six months earlier than "Spartacus," which was released in October 1960. Douglas later said he decided to give Trumbo credit because he was appalled at Kubrick's attempt to hog the credit. This "recollection" likely was colored by the fact that Kubrick went on to become a great director, and the film was seen as a Kubrick film rather than as the product of Kirk Douglas, who produced it. Douglas viewed the film as a fulfillment of his personal vision. It is highly unlikely that Kubrick would try to take the credit, as Trumbo served as one of the members of the film's executive committee - screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, executive producer Kirk Douglas and producer Edward Lewis," according to Duncan L. Cooper's 1996 article "Who Killed 'Spartacus'?" Trumbo was a friend of Edward Muhl, the boss of Universal Pictures. which was financing the film. According to Cooper, Howard Fast, a former Communist Party member who wrote the novel the film is based on, worked on the screenplay but received no credit. Walter Winchell had already revealed that Trumbo was working on the film, and it was widely known that Trumbo had won an Oscar using the pseudonym Robert Rich on The Brave One (1956), and that his "front", Ian McLellan Hunter, had won an Oscar for the story of Roman Holiday (1953) that Trumbo had, in fact, written. In other words, the blacklist was a sham. There were rumors that the House Un-American Activities Committee was going to investigate the movie industry again, and right-wingers began attacking the film. Douglas gave into studio boss Muhl's idea that the class conflict at the heart of Spartacus (1960) be muted, thus betraying both Trumbo's screenplay and Fast's novel. A major battle scene showing the triumph of Spartacus' slave army over the Romans was deleted lest it seem too provocative, and medium and closeup shots of Laurence Olivier that showed his character - Roman dictator Crassus - experiencing fear over the slave rebellion were replaced with wide shots. Scenes where the slave army was crushed, of course, remain, though their length was cut back to minimize the carnage of the original 197-minute cut. Part of what remains - Olivier's Crassus looking for Spartacus' body among the living and the dead slaves - is shot indifferently on a sound stage and seems mismatched with the rest of the scene. Trumbo himself realized the necessity of muting his own passions in order to make the screenplay moderate so the film would be a success at the box office. He told an interviewer, "If the film had failed, neither I nor any other blacklisted writer would ever have been able to work again." The actions of Preminger and Douglas to give Trumbo credit effectively ended the blacklist, though many blacklisted screenwriters continued to write under pseudonyms until the early 1970s.
His favorite cartoon character was Woody Woodpecker. Kubrick reportedly loved Woody Woodpecker so much that he wanted to feature him in every film he ever made (similar to what George Pal did) but Walter Lantz creator of Woody Woodpecker refused. In the final interview Lantz did he stated that he didn't regret his decision when he saw films like The Shining (1980) or A Clockwork Orange (1971), but he did regret the decision when he saw films like 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) or Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964).
Has directed two actors in Oscar-nominated roles: Peter Sellers (Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)) and Peter Ustinov (Spartacus (1960)). Ustinov won his Oscar.
Grew up in the Bronx.
According to his daughter, Vivian Kubrick, the family name is pronounced like "Que-brick," rather than like "koo-brick".
In 1963 he was asked by the US publication Cinema to compile a list of his favorite films. They were: I Vitelloni (1953) (Federico Fellini, 1953), Wild Strawberries (1957) ("Wild Strawberries" USA title, Ingmar Bergman, 1958), Citizen Kane (1941) (Orson Welles, 1941), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) (John Huston, 1948), City Lights (1931) (Charles Chaplin, 1931), Henry V (1944) ("Henry V" USA title, Laurence Olivier, 1945), La Notte (1961) (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1961), The Bank Dick (1940) (W.C. Fields, 1940), Roxie Hart (1942) (William Wellman, 1942), Hell's Angels (1930) (Howard Hughes, 1930).
In 1969, after the success of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Kubrick turned to one of his life-long obsessions into a motion picture screenplay - Napoleon. The script would have required an extremely large budget to be made into a film, and it was all on its way well into pre-production, when the studio suddenly decided to pull the plug after another big-budget biopic on the life of Napoleon, Waterloo (1970), failed financially. Kubrick, angry and depressed that his film was canceled, would later in his career (and even in the production of other films) attempt to get the project back on its feet with different companies over the years. The requirements needed would have been to write a completely new screenplay, and Kubrick, feeling he couldn't match the masterpiece that was his original draft, dropped the project.
A few days before his abrupt death, he revealed his least and most favorite personal films. He labeled Fear and Desire (1953) as his least favorite personal film, and Eyes Wide Shut (1999) as his most favorite personal film.
In the 5th edition of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die (edited by Steven Jay Schneider), 9 of Kubrick's films are listed. He is the director with the greatest percentage of films listed, since Kubrick made only 13 feature films. His listed films are Paths of Glory (1957), Spartacus (1960), Lolita (1962), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Barry Lyndon (1975), The Shining (1980) and Full Metal Jacket (1987).
Shared a love of photography and home movie making with Peter Sellers and they would often photograph each other at work.
Claimed that his IQ was below average. It was rumored, however, that his IQ was around 200.
Shares his birthday with 'Peter Hyams', who directed 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984), sequel of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), which is directed by Kubrick.
First grew his famous beard during the making of "2001:A Space Odyssey". He kept the beard for the rest of his life and kept his hair long.
Legendary director Billy Wilder was a great admirer of Kubrick, and claimed that Kubrick "never made a bad picture." Wilder also once told Cameron Crowe that the first half of Full Metal Jacket was "the best picture I've ever seen.".
Used to skip school to take in double-features at the cinema.
His father was born in New York, to an Austrian Jewish father, Elias Kubrick, and a Romanian Jewish mother, Rosa Spiegelblatt. His mother was also born in New York, to an Austrian Jewish father, Samuel Perveler, and a Russian Jewish mother, Celia Siegel.
While working for, One-Eyed Jacks (1961), in Brando's home, Brando asked visitors to remove their shoes so as not to scratch the wooden floor. Kubrick often removed his pants as well, choosing to work in nothing but his shirt and underwear.
A heavy chain smoker in his youth, he mostly quit smoking in the 1970s (his forties), but would still smoke occasionally under the pressure of his shoots. On the other hand, he was said to rarely ever drink alcohol.
One of his favorite films was Eraserhead (1977) directed by David Lynch.
Wore a suit and tie every day while directing until the 1970s, when he began to dress in casual work clothes. His wife claimed he didn't like choosing what to wear, and had a wardrobe full of identical shirts and pants.
When Kubrick bought Simon Cowell's childhood home, he turned the entire ground floor into a private cinema.
Despite being known for his meticulous methods of filming, he was quite prolific in his earlier years. Beginning with Fear and Desire (1953) and ending with Barry Lyndon (1975), the average time between his films was two years. His last three films took much longer to complete. It took him five years to complete and release The Shining (1980), seven years to complete Full Metal Jacket (1987), and a whopping 12 years to complete Eyes Wide Shut (1999).
Was a close friend of Steven Spielberg.
Resisted conceptual analysis of his films, stating that he didn't want to have to explain what his films meant, and that he wanted each film to be judged on its own and not in his body of work. He further claimed that his method consisted simply of finding stories that interested him and trying to not repeat himself.
He was known for being a perfectionist, although he denied this. He'd kept doing takes because he felt that his actors, even though they got the right idea, he thought they weren't happy. When the Shining came out, there was a scene in the ending with Wendy and Danny in the hospital but Kubrick hated it and asked it to be removed just after a week after its release. Dorian Harewood, who played Eightball From Full Metal Jacket, said in an interview that Kubrick was a perfectionist. Kubrick called Harewood a few days later denying that he was a perfectionist.
Among his eccentricities was calling people multiple times a day whenever he had an idea about something, even if it was in the middle of the night. Kubrick himself was a night owl who rarely slept more than a few hours.
Shares his birthday with famed psychologist Carl Jung whose work is cited in "Full Metal Jacket".
Kubrick loved animals. When he died, he had a Highland Terrier. seven Golden Retrievers. one Scotch Terrier, eight cats, and four Fern Donkeys.
Kubrick's wife and Jan Harlan, founders of the Stanley Kubrick Estate feel that Michael Herr's book on the director is the most accurate personal account and Alison Castle's book by Taschen is the most comprehensive.
Kubrick considered adapting Patrick Süskind's novel Perfume, which he had enjoyed; however, the idea was never acted upon. The novel was later adapted for the screen by Tom Tykwer, as Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006).
In a March 2013, Tony Frewin, Kubrick's assistant for many years, wrote in an article in The Atlantic: "He [Kubrick] was limitlessly interested in anything to do with Nazis and desperately wanted to make a film on the subject." The article included information on another Kubrick World War II film that was never realized, based on the life story of Dietrich Schulz-Koehn, a Nazi officer who used the pen name "Dr. Jazz" to write reviews of German music scenes during the Nazi era. Kubrick had been given a copy of the Mike Zwerin book Swing Under the Nazis (the front cover of which featured a photograph of Schulz-Koehn) after he had finished production on Full Metal Jacket (1987). However, a screenplay was never completed and Kubrick's film adaptation plan was never initiated (the unfinished Aryan Papers was a factor in the abandonment of the project).
Following J.R.R. Tolkien's sale of the film rights for The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, The Beatles considered a corresponding film project and approached Kubrick as a potential director; however, Kubrick turned down the offer, explaining to John Lennon that he thought the novel could not be adapted into a film due to its immensity. The eventual director of the film adaptation Peter Jackson further explained that a major hindrance to the project's progression was Tolkien's opposition to the involvement of the Beatles.
In 2016, longtime assistant of Kubrick's, Emilio D'Alessandro addressed that prior to his death, Kubrick was considering making a movie of Pinocchio. D'Alessandro said that Kubrick sent him to buy Italian about the subject. "He wanted to make it in his own because so many Pinocchios have been made. He wasted to do something really big... He said; 'It would [be] very nice if I could make children laugh and feel happy making this Pinocchio.'" (Kubrick eventually used the project based on Brian Aldiss short story as his "Pinocchio film.") D'Alessandro also stated that Kubrick's lifelong fascination in World War II led to an interest in The Battle of Monte Cassino. D'Alessandro said, "Stanley said that would be an interesting film to make. He asked me to get hold of things ... like newspaper cuttings and find out the distance from the airport, train stations. He had a friend who actually bombarded Monte Cassino during the war ... It is horrible to remember those days. Everything was completely destroyed.".
Following a 2010 announcement about the development of the Lunatic at Large project, plans for the prospective production of two other unrealized Kubrick projects were also announced. As of August 2012, Downslope and God Fearing Man were in development by Philip Hobbs and producer Steve Lanning, in partnership with independent company Entertainment One (eOne). A press release described Downslope as an "epic Civil War drama", while God Fearing Man is the "true story of Canadian minister Herbert Emerson Wilson.".
In 1956, after MGM turned down a request from Kubrick and his producer partner James B. Harris to film Paths of Glory (1957), MGM then invited Kubrick to review the studio's other properties. Harris and Kubrick discovered Stefan Zweig's novel The Burning Secret, in which a young baron attempts to seduce a young Jewish woman by first befriending her twelve-year-old son, who eventually realizes the actual motives of the baron. Kubrick was enthusiastic about the novel and hired novelist Calder Willingham to write a screenplay; however, Production Code restrictions hindered the realization of the project. Kubrick had previously expressed interest in adapting a Willingham novel Natural Child, but was also prevented by the Production Code on that occasion.
A number of screenplays that were written by Kubrick, who was either hired on a commission basis or was writing for his own projects, remain unreleased. One such screenplay is The German Lieutenant (co-written with Richard Adams), in which a group of German soldiers embark upon a mission during the final days of World War II. Other examples of unreleased Kubrick screenplays are I Stole 16 Million Dollars, a fictional account of early 20th century Baptist minister turned safecracker Herbert Emmerson Wilson (the film was to be produced by Kirk Douglas' company "Bryna", despite Douglas' belief that the script was poorly written, and Cary Grant was approached for the lead role); and a first draft of a script about the Mosby Rangers, a Confederate guerrilla force that was active during the American Civil War. Kubrick was also interested in adapting to the screen Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews, but it was cancelled due for the explicit incestuous relationship between the two main characters.
In between Eyes Wide Shut (1999) and A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), Kubrick was interested in making a film, for children and young adults, based on the viking epic novel, Eric Brighteyes.
After the success of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Kubrick planned a large-scale biographical film about Napoleon Bonaparte. He conducted research, read books about the French emperor, and wrote a preliminary screenplay which has since become available on the internet. With the help of assistants, he meticulously created a card catalog of the places and deeds of Napoleon's inner circle during its operative years. Kubrick scouted locations, planning to film large portions of the film on location in France, in addition to the use of United Kingdom studios. The director was also going to film the battle scenes in Romania and had enlisted the support of the Romanian army; senior army officers had committed 40,000 soldiers and 10,000 cavalrymen to Kubrick's film for the paper costume battle scenes.
In a conversation with the British Film Institute, Kubrick's brother-in-law Jan Harlan stated that, at the time, the film was ready to enter the production stage and David Hemmings was Kubrick's favored choice to play the character of Napoleon, while Audrey Hepburn was his preference for the role of Josephine. Although Jack Nicholson was cast in the role. In notes that Kubrick wrote to his financial backers, preserved in the book The Kubrick Archives, Kubrick expresses uncertainty in regard to the progress of the Napoleon film and the final product; however, he also states that he expected to create "the best movie ever made."
Napoleon was eventually cancelled due to the prohibitive cost of location filming, the Western release of War and Peace (1966), and the commercial failure of Waterloo (1970). A significant portion of Kubrick's historical research would influence Barry Lyndon (1975), the storyline of which ends in 1789, approximately fifteen years prior to the commencement of the Napoleonic Wars.
In March 2013, Steven Spielberg announced his intention to create, in conjunction with Kubrick's family, a television miniseries based on Kubrick's screenplay.
In the early 1960s, Kubrick, a keen listener of BBC Radio, heard the radio serial drama Shadow on the Sun; written by Gavin Blakeney, Shadow on the Sun is a work of science fiction in which a virus is introduced to earth through a meteorite landing. At a time when Kubrick was looking for a new project, the director became reacquainted with Shadow on the Sun. Kubrick purchased screen rights from Blakeney in 1988 for £1,500. Thereon, Kubrick read and annotated a script before moving onto A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001). The tone of the unrealized project, as described by Anthony Frewin in The Kubrick Archives, is a cross between War of the Worlds and Mars Attacks! (1996).
In 1976, Kubrick sought out a film idea that concerned the Holocaust and tried to persuade Isaac Bashevis Singer to contribute an original screenplay. Kubrick requested a "dramatic structure that compressed the complex and vast information into the story of an individual who represented the essence of this man-made hell." However, Singer declined, explaining to Kubrick, "I don't know the first thing about the Holocaust."
In the early 1990s, Kubrick nearly entered the production stage of a film adaptation of Louis Begley's Wartime Lies, the story of a boy and his aunt as they are in-hiding from the Nazi regime during the Holocaust-the first-draft screenplay, entitled Aryan Papers, was penned by Kubrick himself. Full Metal Jacket (1987) co-screenwriter Michael Herr reports that Kubrick had considered casting Julia Roberts or Uma Thurman as the aunt; eventually, Johanna ter Steege was cast as the aunt and Joseph Mazzello as the young boy. Kubrick traveled to the Czech city of Brno, as it was envisaged as a possible filming location for the scenes of Warsaw during wartime, and cinematographer Elemér Ragályi was selected by Kubrick to be the director of photography.
Kubrick's work on Aryan Papers eventually ceased in 1995, as the director was influenced by Schindler's List (1993). According to Kubrick's wife Christiane an additional factor in Kubrick's decision was the increasingly depressing nature of the subject as experienced by the director. Kubrick eventually concluded that an accurate Holocaust film was beyond the capacity of cinema and returned his attention to A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001).
Kubrick was fascinated by the career of Nazi filmmaker Veit Harlan, his wife's uncle, and contemplated creating a film of the social circle that surrounded Joseph Goebbels. Although Kubrick worked on this project for several years, the director was unable to progress beyond a rough story outline.
Kubrick once deliberated on adapting Robert Marshall's novel All the King's Men, a dramatic account of a British intelligence service operation during World War II.
On November 1, 2006, Kubrick's son-in-law Philip Hobbs announced that he would be shepherding a film treatment of Lunatic at Large. Kubrick had commissioned the project for treatment from noir pulp novelist Jim Thompson in the 1950s, but it had been lost until Hobbs uncovered a manuscript following Kubrick's death. As of August 2011, this project is in development for future release, with the involvement of Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell, and U.K. screenwriter Stephen Clarke.
While working with Ian Watson on the story for A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), Kubrick asked Watson for a pre-print copy of his Warhammer 40,000 tie-in novel Inquisitor.