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Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001)

Not Rated  |   |  Documentary, Biography  |  2 May 2001 (USA)
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The career and life of Stanley Kubrick is explored through pictures, clips from his films, his old home movies, comments from his colleagues and a narration by Tom Cruise.

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Cast

Credited cast:
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Himself (Narrator) (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ken Adam ...
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Margaret Adams ...
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Brian Aldiss ...
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Himself
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Louis C. Blau ...
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Wendy Carlos ...
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Arthur C. Clarke ...
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Alex Cox ...
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Allen Daviau ...
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Ed Di Giulio ...
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Himself
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Storyline

Narrated by Tom Cruise, "Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures" goes through each one of his movies and talks to various participants about their memories of working with Kubrick. For those who know very little about Kubrick, the documentary is an excellent career overview. Kubrick film clips include "Fear and Desire," "Killer's Kiss," "The Killing," "Paths of Glory," "Spartacus," "Lolita," "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb," "2001: A Space Odyssey," "A Clockwork Orange," "Barry Lyndon," "The Shining," "Full Metal Jacket" and "Eyes Wide Shut." Those appearing include: Arthur C. Clarke, Keir Dullea, Shelley Duvall, James B. Harris, Richard Schickel, Michael Herr, Nicole Kidman, Anya Kubrick, Christiane Kubrick, Gert Kubrick, Katharina Kubrick, Paul Mazursky, Jack Nicholson, Malcolm McDowell, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Douglas Trumbull, Marie Windsor, Matthew Modine, Sydney Pollack and Peter Ustinov. Written by alfiehitchie

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2 May 2001 (USA)  »

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Maailma Kubrickin silmin  »

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Quotes

Jack Nicholson: Everyone pretty much acknowledges that he's the man, and I still feel that underrates him.
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Features A Clockwork Orange (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Life in Pictures - exactly what it sounds like
7 October 2008 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

Because of his reclusive nature, Stanley Kubrick was never the best choice of subject for a documentary, in life as well as in death. Then again, that depends on who's behind the camera - in this case, the late director's brother-in-law and collaborator Jan Harlan, who also appears as one of the interviewees.

Harlan's choice is very simple: skip any attempt to understand the man and just focus on what we have, namely the pictures (hence the film's title). Not just the movies, but also the photos he took in his youth, before discovering cinema. This aspect is covered through comments by friends and family members. Fans, however, are probably more interested in what people have to say about the films, and so we've got some of the key cast and crew of almost all of his movies (one notable exception is Dr. Strangelove, given Peter Sellers and George C. Scott died a long time before Harlan shot the documentary) describing their experiences. In addition, other filmmakers express their sincere admiration for Kubrick, with heaps of praise coming from Scorsese, Spielberg (who directed the Kubrick-inspired A.I.) and Woody Allen (the original choice for Sydney Pollack's role in Eyes Wide Shut).

All possible anecdotes surrounding the man and his methods are recounted with joy, and the effect his films had on culture and society are explored in detail. Hearing Allen's first impressions of 2001 is refreshing (he didn't like it at first), whilst Scorsese's reaction to Paths of Glory is a perfect tribute to that picture's power ("It was so honest, it was shocking!"). The most famous controversy remains that surrounding A Clockwork Orange, and it's almost touching when Kubrick's widow recalls his decision to withdraw it from theaters in England until his death. We don't learn anything new about the great director, but hearing it from those people completely justifies Harlan's effort.

That said, there is one little problem in the film, and that's the fact that everyone is completely incapable of saying anything bad about Kubrick. Okay, maybe his death has something to do with it, but after dozens of occasions during which both Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall berated him for how he treated them on the set of The Shining, hearing them say it was generally a positive experience is surprising to say the least. The closest anyone comes to a bit of criticism is when Malcolm McDowell, always the ultimate Kubrickian icon, describes their relationship like this: "I loved him one moment and wanted to kill him the next!".

Overall A Life in Pictures doesn't add much to what we knew about one of the world's best filmmakers, nor does it take anything away. But remembering him through his work and the people who appeared in his movies is the most appropriate way to make a chronicle of his eventful life.


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