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Stanley Kubrick


Gene D. Phillips

Publication Year: 2013

From his first feature film, Fear and Desire (1953), to his final, posthumously released Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Stanley Kubrick excelled at probing the dark corners of human consciousness. In doing so, he adapted such popular novels as The Killing, Lolita, A Clockwork Orange, and The Shining and selected a wide variety of genres for his films -- black comedy (Dr. Strangelove), science fiction (2001: A Space Odyssey), and war (Paths of Glory and Full Metal Jacket). Because he was peerless in unveiling the intimate mysteries of human nature, no new film by Kubrick ever failed to spark debate or to be deeply pondered.

Kubrick (1928-1999) has remained as elusive as the subjects of his films. Unlike many other filmmakers he was not inclined to grant interviews, instead preferring to let his movies speak for themselves. By allowing both critics and moviegoers to see the inner workings of this reclusive filmmaker, this first comprehensive collection of his relatively few interviews is invaluable. Ranging from 1959 to 1987 and including Kubrick's conversations with Gene Siskel, Jeremy Bernstein, Gene D. Phillips, and others, this book reveals Kubrick's diverse interests -- nuclear energy and its consequences, space exploration, science fiction, literature, religion, psychoanalysis, the effects of violence, and even chess -- and discloses how each affects his films. He enthusiastically speaks of how advances in camera and sound technology made his films more effective.

Kubrick details his hands-on approach to filmmaking as he discusses why he supervises nearly every aspect of production. "All the hand-held camerawork is mine," he says in a 1972 interview about A Clockwork Orange. "In addition to the fun of doing the shooting myself, I find it virtually impossible to explain what I want in a hand-held shot to even the most talented and sensitive camera operator. "

Neither guarded nor evasive, the Kubrick who emerges from these interviews is candid, opinionated, confident, and articulate. His incredible memory and his gift for organization come to light as he quotes verbatim sections of reviews, books, and articles. Despite his reputation as a recluse, the Kubrick of these interviews is approachable, witty, full of anecdotes, and eager to share a fascinating story.

Gene D. Phillips, S.J., is a professor of English at Loyola University in Chicago, where he teaches fiction and the history of film. He is the author of many notable books on film and is a founding member of the editorial board of both Literature/Film Quarterly and The Tennessee Williams Journal. He was acquainted with Stanley Kubrick for twenty-five years.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Researching and writing are more gratifying and exciting if you have the luck to exchange ideas with enthusiastic and clever scholars, such as Dr. Stacey Abbott and Dr. Caroline Bainbridge (Roehampton University), and if you find yourself in a stimulating environment. ...

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pp. 3-14

Discussing Stanley Kubrick’s adaptations could seem to be a challenge because, although the director adapted novels and short stories, his films are among the furthest from the written medium. In particular, since 2001: A Space Odyssey (USA and UK, 1968), his films (i.e., A Clockwork Orange [USA and UK, 1971], ...

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Chapter 1: A History of Kubrick Adaptations

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pp. 15-33

The first Kubrick documentary short, Day of the Fight (USA, 1951), is based on a director’s pictorial that was published on January 18, 1949, in Look magazine, about a day in the life of boxer Walter Cartier. The screenplay is by Robert Rein (Phillips and Hill, 2002: 74). ...

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Chapter 2: Plot Construction: Ellipses and Enigmas of Unrelated Scenes

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pp. 34-55

As mentioned in the Introduction, many other critics read Kubrick’s body of work through oppositions. What remains unclear is the use of the expression “dualities of meaning” and the result of the struggle between these meanings. For example, does chaos disrupt order or do they coexist and, if so, how? ...

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Chapter 3: Plot Construction: A Chaotic Geometry

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pp. 56-84

The unrelated sequences which characterize the plot construction of Kubrick’s adaptations are, on the one hand, inserted in symmetrical syuzhet structures, in which the end mirrors the beginning, as in A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, and Eyes Wide Shut, and/or in plots strongly ordered into parts, ...

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Chapter 4: Music, Dance, and Dialogue

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pp. 85-114

Claudia Gorbman claims that, in classical narrative sound films, music occupies a background role in comparison with other elements, such as characters’ actions and dialogue, which usually aid in the progression of the story. ...

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Chapter 5: Dreamy Worlds

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pp. 115-141

A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, and Eyes Wide Shut seem to be shrouded in dreamy atmospheres. The director’s first concern does not seem to have been to realistically depict the extradiegetic world, but, rather, to break the illusion of reality, to create a diegetic world as far as possible from the extradiegetic world, ...

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Chapter 6: Artificiality, Modernism, and the Sublime

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pp. 142-182

As discussed in the previous chapter, Kubrick’s protagonists are usually passive spectators and listeners in their diegetic worlds. They often remain entrapped in a dreamy world, governed by the director’s aesthetic rules, in which the extradiegetic world is often cited. Indeed, the films deliberately exhibit their awareness of being works of art in several ways. ...

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pp. 183-186

Stanley Kubrick’s last six adaptations are characterized by some structural and stylistic patterns. In terms of plot construction, they are constituted by tableaux vivants and/or unrelated episodes that are usually separated by ellipses and full of unexplained mysteries. Their syuzhet is symmetrical and/or ordered into unlinked parts, and often the end recalls the beginning. ...


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pp. 187-198


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pp. 199-204


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pp. 205-212


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pp. 213-218


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pp. 219-230

E-ISBN-13: 9781621039822
E-ISBN-10: 162103982X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781578062973

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 828334142
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Stanley Kubrick

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Subject Headings

  • Kubrick, Stanley -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Literature -- Adaptations -- History and criticism.
  • Film adaptations -- History and criticism.
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