Stanley Kubrick




Stanley Kubrick is widely acknowledged as one of the most successful and influential filmmakers in history [1]. In addition to directing a number of highly acclaimed and often controversial films that have often been perceived as a reflection of his obsessive and perfectionist nature [2], he is noted for maintaining nearly complete artistic control over almost all of his films. 
At age twelve, Kubrick's father taught him the fundamentals of chess, and the game remained a lifelong obsession [3]. After receiving a Graflex camera from his father, he became fascinated with still photography, which could be seen as a beginning to his future career. As a teenager, Kubrick was interested in jazz
and briefly attempted a career as a drummer [3] - footage of his feats has yet to surface.


During his adolescent years, Kubric attended William Howard Taft Highschool (1941 - 1945), where he was chosen by his peers and mentors as the official school photographer, albeit only for one year. With his 67 grade point average, he was considered to be a very poor student [4]. Later in life, Kubrick spoke disdainfully of his education and of education in general, maintaining that nothing about school interested him [3].


In 1946 he became an apprentice photographer for Look, and later a full-time staff photographer. (Many early [1945–50] photographs by Kubrick have been published in the book Drama and Shadows [2005, Phaidon Press] and also appear as a special feature on the 2007 Special Edition DVD of 2001: A Space Odyssey.) [5]


 A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later. 
      -Stanley Kubrick


Stanley Kubrick directed approximately 13 full feature-length films, which include Lolita (1962) - based on the novel by Vladamir Nabokov; 



2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - which was written in a juxtaposed collaboration with novelist Arthur C. Clarke; the controversial A Clockwork Orange (1971) - based on the similarly controversial Anthony Burgess novel of the same name; The Shinning (1980) - based on the Stephen King novel; Full Metal Jacket (1987) - based on the novel The Short-Timers by author Gustav Hasford, and his final film - 1999's Eyes Wide Shut, which was based on the novella Traumnovelle by Arthur Schnitzler. 

For a full catalogue of the director's works, please click here





The scene above is an excellent depiction of Kubrick's filming style. Notice the celluloid quality of each individual fragmented second - almost like you could get the perfect photograph simply by pausing it randomly. 




It is important to note that despite the technological genius present in Kubrick's filming style, most of his masterpieces are based around the ideas of others. However, as apparent in nearly all of his films, the concepts divulged by the original authors are explored in greater and/or alternative depth, with Kubrick applying his unique perspective to their original ideas. Some of his conceptions where not as well received by their authors as others. Stephen King said of The Shining

"There's a lot to like about it. But it's a great big beautiful Cadillac with no motor inside, you can sit in it and you can enjoy the smell of the leather upholstery - the only thing you can't do is drive it anywhere. So I would do every thing different. The real problem is that Kubrick set out to make a horror picture with no apparent understanding of the genre. Everything about it screams that from beginning to end, from plot decision to the final scene - which has been used before on the Twilight Zone."




Kubrick was a highly-visual filmmaker and often treated his source material in much the way Monet treated water lilies.


      -Dr. Sean Desilets



Most of Kubrick's films express painstaking amounts of detail, both in their dialogue as well as (especially) within the eye of the camera. In my opinion, it is very easy to infer that Kubrick had a passion for still photography by simply viewing one of his films.   

 Kubrick died in 1999, four days after the screening of Eyes Wide Shut. He was 70 years old.  


Works Cited

[1] "The Kubrick Legacy", by University of the Arts London. Available on

[2] Kubrick, Stanley (1928-1999), by Sheldon Hall. At

[3] LoBrutto, Vincent (1999), Stanley Kubrick: a biography, Da Capo Press, ISBN 9780306809064ISBN 0306809060

[4] Schwam, Stephanie; Jay Cocks (2000), The making of 2001, a space odyssey, Modern Library, pp. 70, ISBN 9780375755286ISBN 0375755284