Monday, October 31, 2016

Sunday, October 30, 2016


I can remember that, as a Kubrick fan in the late 80's and early 90's, there wasn't much material available to quench my curiosity about the man and his work. Sure, a trip to the library would yield the occasional classic, like 1973's Stanley Kubrick Directs, by Alexander Walker, or Michel Ciment's 1983 landmark tome, Kubrick, both since updated and re-released in handsome editions available at and, depending... and if you find and buy them via the links I just provided, I get a couple shekels tossed into my beggin' cup! So please, be nice. 

Then came the late 90's, when media obsessions over the rumor-riddled shooting of Eyes Wide Shut and the on again, off again possibility of another science fiction epic from Kubrick in the form of A.I. led to the publication of a pair of decent, workmanlike biographies by John Baxter and Vincent Lobrutto (my personal favorite of the two). Then Stanley died, Eyes Wide Shut and A.I. came out, and things were quiet for a while on the book front.

And suddenly, a couple years ago, a new Kubrick publishing boom began. I'm not sure what sparked it - maybe the traveling memorabilia exhibit being such a hit? maybe a critical mass of Kubrick fans finally started earning some serious money and didn't mind plunking down 100$ for a quality book? - but whatever the reason, it happened. There are a TON of quality Kubrick-related books out there these days. Books of all sorts, from serious-minded scholarly tomes, to giant, super-impressive coffee table books meant to impress your friends and neighbors. 

Hopefully, yours truly will get to review some of these books in the coming months, but for today, I would just like to refer you to this Digital Bits column by Bill Hunt in which he provides in-depth reviews and analysis for three of the most recent (and most gorgeous) books about 2001: A Space Odyssey from the last couple years. 

The books reviewed in this column include Adam K. Johnson’s 2001: The Lost Science – The Frederick I. Ordway III Collection, which was published in 2012 by Apogee, Reel Art Press’s The 2001 File: Harry Lange and the Design of the Landmark Science Fiction Film from 2015, written by the noted film historian Sir Christopher Frayling, and finally, Taschen’s The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, also published in 2015. 

That last one, which is pictured above, and which I recently purchased - and will soon review - is essentially a mass market version of the massive, super-elite Limited Edition version that was released by Taschen a year earlier, retailing for over 1,200$... which STILL doesn't make it the most expensive Kubrick book on the market! That honor goes to the Limited Edition version of Taschen's Napoleon: The Greatest Film Never Made, which retails for 3,000$. Or, at least, it did, before Taschen sold out.

Anyway, by the time you're done reading Bill's column, you will have to agree with him that there's never been a better time to be a fan of Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey!

Saturday, October 29, 2016


As Johnathan Barkan reports at Bloody Disgusting, the fine mixologists behind the Youtube channel Distinguished Spirits have come up with a cocktail that was "directly inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 Stephen King book-to-film adaptation of The Shining." They have decided to call their drink the "Redrum", and it's literally a rum-based drink with a rich, red coloring. Kind of on the nose, but whatever. Seems like it would be pretty tasty.  

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Julienne Davis, the actress who played doomed model and cult ritual participant Mandy Curran in Eyes Wide Shut, has penned an interesting essay about the perils and pitfalls of instant infamy for Heat Street. It begins:
At the height of my so-called “fame” I remember a conversation I had at a party I had with one of London’s top paparazzi photographers. He and others had taken many pictures of me which had featured in leading British publications and whatever foreign publication they could tout pictures to increase their cash flow via syndication.I said to him, “Thank you for not following me to my flat or camping outside my door – that scenario must be awful for some celebs.” His response? “Well you haven’t done anything bad yet…”
It's an interesting, somewhat eye-opening read, blessedly free of pathetic confessional or pity mongering emotional manipulation. Davis roped a whirlwind and enjoyed the ride. Bravo!


To be honest, I have no idea who Kieran Leonard is, but this "neo-folk" musician apparently had a weird-ass couple of months writing, recording and producing his latest album... a couple of months that included him spending some time with Kubrick's grandson, Jack Hobbs, laying down some tracks with him at the Kubrick estate, Childwickbury Manor. So I guess he merits a mention here.


Contemporary artists who claim Kubrick as an influence pretty much only seem to be interested in 2001, Clockwork Orange, and The Shining (and to a lesser extent Dr. Strangelove), so it's great to see Albuquerque artist Christian Michael Gallegos' recent canvas, which was inspired by Kubrick's early short documentary film, Day of the Fight.


On the science fiction blog io9, these images by artist Orlando Arocena are meant to show what the posters for the upcoming Star Wars: Rogue One flick might look like "if the movie was directed by Stanley Kubrick." I disagree. To me, these images show what the posters for that movie would look like if they were created by frequent Kubrick collaborator Philip Castle. Nothing more, nothing less. If Kubrick had directed them, they would NOT have been parodies of Full Metal Jacket's poster. I mean, come on. These are pretty sweet, though.


One of the great things about putting together this blog is the fact that, every once in a while, despite having read every book and article in existence on the topic, I still manage to learn something new about my favorite director. Things like the fact that Gerald Fried - Kubrick's Bronx high school classmate, and the talented composer who created terse, modernist scores for Day of the Fight, Fear and Desire, Killer's Kiss, The Killing, and Paths of Glory - may have earned his way into Kubrick's early collaborative circle by securing a spot for him on a local baseball team for which Fried played (that this team was called the Barracudas only adds to my delight). The rest of this wonderful interview with Fried, who is still kicking and making music at 88, is also worth reading.

Friday, October 14, 2016


This past summer, BFI re-released Kubrick's 1975 picaresque period drama Barry Lyndon, and it did pretty solid business, perhaps thanks in part to the gorgeous new trailer they cut for it, which you can see above. Apologies for not getting around to posting this information a couple months ago, when people in the UK could have used it, but to be honest, when it comes to re-assessing Barry Lyndon, my fellow Kubrophiles and I are already way ahead of the likes of The Guardian's John Patterson, who penned a think piece imaginatively titled "It's Time to Re-Assess Stanley Kubrick's Coffee Table Movie, Barry Lyndon".

For some juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits about the making of Barry Lyndon, look no further than this wonderful Independent UK interview with Marisa Berenson, the former star model who played the role of tragic, storm-tossed Lady Lyndon with a beautiful combination of icy self-possession and occasional anxious, gender-based situational helplessness. There are a few great anecdotes, including a couple that are new to me.

The Guardian's Ryan Gilbey has written a pretty thorough, eminently readable overview/review of the making of the movie, which wasn't exactly a cake-walk, despite everyne involved continuing to be very proud to have played important parts in the making of this masterpiece.

Here's yet another wonderful interview with Marisa Berenson, this time, once again, from The Guardian, in which she talks about her role as Lady Capulet in Kenneth Branagh's Romeo and Juliet, sometimes wanitng to "break free" from the legacy of Barry Lyndon, losing her sister in the terrorist attack of 9/11 (she was on one of the planes that slammed into the Twin Towers) and her views on the afterlife. All that, plus a photograph that will make you wish she'd just allowed herself to age naturally and eschewed the plastic surgeons.

And, finally on the Barry Lyndon tip for today, here is a reproduction of the long and magnificently detailed personal letter sent by Stanley Kubrick to all the projectionists who would be screening Barry Lyndon for the masses back in 1975. Imagine how it would have felt, back in the day, to be a projectionist and find ths letter for you among the film canisters! Oh, and unlike the infamous letter Kubrick sent to MGM producers when they were considering filming the sequel to 2001 - the one in which he threatens to sodomize them with Moonwatcher's murder-bone - this one is real!


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