Rainer Crone: Still Moving Pictures - Stanley
Alexander Walker: Stanley Kubrick, Director
Stanley Kubrick: Eyes Wide Shut on DVD
Article added in April 2000
Alexander Walker's book on Stanley Kubrick has first been
published in 1971. It is the only one ever written with Kubrick's cooperation.
This new, revised and expanded edition includes all of Kubrick's film. The
book is a visual analysis, fully authorized by Kubrick. It explains how
Kubrick conceived, shot and created his fims. Walker examines the director's
distinctive style which produced very different films, even when treating
apparently the same genre, e.g. Dr. Strangelove was a nightmare satire,
2001: A Space Odyssey in Kubrick's own words a "mythological
documentary". By the way, Kubrick let fifteen years go between his very
first feature and his first film in color - 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Kubrick's pessimistic vision: If something can go wrong, it surely will. He
was obsessed with the influences that "control people's perceptions and
responses: by the synchronicitiy of time (The Killing), by military
ambition (Paths of Glory), by the perversities of their own deviant
natures (Lolita), by a 'fail-safe' defense device going haywire (Dr.
Strangelove), by a 'thinking' computer developing a survival instinct (2001),
by the State's brainwashing techniques (A Clockwork Orange), by destiny
in collusion with character (Barry Lyndon), by the power of the occult
(The Shining). Full Metal Jacket includes just about every theme
Kubrick had explored up to then - and more."
The analysis by Walker, Taylor and Ruchti is a must for people interested
in the work of one of America's greatest directors. He was not a "graceful"
man, but one who went his own way.
Alexander Walker, Sybil Taylor, Ulrich Ruchti: Stanley Kubrick, Director. W W Norton &
Co., hardcover, 368 p., 1999. With a lot of film stills, from Killer's
Kiss to Eyes Wide Shut. Get
it from Amazon.com
Stanley Kubrick and Malcolm McDowell (as Alex), shooting A Clockwork Orange.
Photograph from the book: Stanley Kubrick, Director.
Eyes Wide Shut is already available on DVD. Nicole
Kidman explains in an interview included in the DVD's special features (at
least in our German edition) that Kubrick was never interested in
naturalistic acting. The many takes were not about right and wrong
interpretations, but he was looking for something to happen. He explored
all facets of a scene and actors could give all they had to give before
Stanley went in the editing room. No actor could think: If only I had had
the chance of another take. Editing, by the way, was his favourite type of
work. Steven Spielberg explains that Kubrick wanted to tell stories
differently. He never made a picture twice: he told very different stories
that took place in different periods and they were even of different
genres. His movies were perfect regarding editing, lighting, etc. One
always wonders what is going to happen next. And even after having seen
his movies for 15 times, one can still discover something new, explains
Spielberg. Eyes Wide Shut is just another completely different film
by one of the great directors, with a pessimitic ending: Let sleeping
suspicions lie. Shut one's eyes instead of facing the truth. [For the
film's story, see:
Eyes Wide Shut].
Eyes Wide Shut (1999).
Get the DVD from Amazon.com,
A Day in the Life of Boxchamp Walter Cartier, January 1949. Photograph from the book Still Moving Pictures - Stanley Kubrick.