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Depth of Field

Stanley Kubrick, Film, and the Uses of History

Edited by Geoffrey Cocks, James Diedrick, and Glenn Perusek

Publication Year: 2006

    Director of some of the most controversial films of the twentieth century, Stanley Kubrick created a reputation as a Hollywood outsider as well as a cinematic genius. His diverse yet relatively small oeuvre—he directed only thirteen films during a career that spanned more than four decades—covers a broad range of the themes that shaped his century and continues to shape the twenty-first: war and crime, gender relations and class conflict, racism, and the fate of individual agency in a world of increasing social surveillance and control. 
    In Depth of Field, leading screenwriters and scholars analyze Kubrick's films from a variety of perspectives. They examine such groundbreaking classics as Dr. Strangelove and 2001: A Space Odyssey and later films whose critical reputations are still in flux. Depth of Field ends with three viewpoints on Kubrick's final film, Eyes Wide Shut, placing it in the contexts of film history, the history and theory of psychoanalysis, and the sociology of sex and power. Probing Kubrick's whole body of work, Depth of Field is the first truly multidisciplinary study of one of the most innovative and controversial filmmakers of the twentieth century.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix

Depth of Field: Stanley Kubrick, Film, and the Uses of History grew directly out of a symposium held in spring 2000 at Albion College in Michigan: “The Eyes Have It: Stanley Kubrick, Film, and the Uses of History.” The symposium was sponsored by the college’s Center for Interdisciplinary Study in History and Culture. Our Wrst debt, then, is to Albion College ...

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Introduction: Deep Focus - Geoffrey Cocks, James Diedrick, and Glenn Perusek

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pp. 3-27

“Film giant Stanley Kubrick dies at 70” reads the headline in a March 1999 issue of the British Journal of Photography. The obituary notes proudly that Kubrick was a faithful reader of the BJP and that while he was of course best known as one of the great film directors, “[h]is interest in still pictures never diminished.”1 Indeed, Kubrick’s passion for photography remained ...

First Take: Words and Pictures

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The Written Word and the Very Visual Stanley Kubrick - Vincent Lobrutto

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pp. 32-54

Film director Stanley Kubrick (1928–99) was a consummate visualist. Although he will be remembered for the astonishing cinematic images he created, his pictorial obsessions did not begin with the camera—they emerged from the word. Kubrick was a man who lived only for family and the movies, but his passion for filmmaking was nurtured and fueled by ...

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Writing The Shining - Diane Johnson

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pp. 55-61

Over the years, other screenwriters have told about their work with Stan-ley Kubrick; since his death their accounts seem of particular interest, bothas a way of explicating his earlier work, which has remained the subject ofcritical discussion, and particularly, perhaps, as a way of illuminating hislast work, Eyes Wide Shut(1999). There is still no uniWed critical opinion...

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The Pumpkinification of Stanley K.

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pp. 62-74

When Roman emperors died, it was common for the senate to decree their deification. In cases of conspicuous iniquity, vilification could be substituted for apotheosis. If (as was not unusual) the previous incumbent had been done away with by his successor, or by his sponsors, it was convenient to blacken the dead man’s memory. In the case of the emperor Claudius, something more unusual, and two-faced, occurred. In ...

Mazes and Meanings

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Kubrick’s Armies: Strategy, Hierarchy, and Motive in the War Films of Stanley Kubrick

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pp. 77-100

Stanley Kubrick strove not to repeat himself and worked in many different genres, but he returned again and again in his career to the theme of war. Here I will examine three aspects of Kubrick’s worldview as expressed in his war films Fear and Desire (1953), Paths of Glory (1957), Dr. Strangelove (1964), the screenplay for the unmade Napoleon (1969), and Full Metal Jacket (1987)—and, in passing, in two other

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Subjected Wills: The Antihumanism of Kubrick’s Later Films

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pp. 101-121

In the summer of 2001, Steven Spielberg released what was supposed to be his homage to the work of the late Stanley Kubrick. Instead, viewers almost unanimously found A.I. disappointing. Not only did critics and audiences receive it harshly, but Kubrick fans and Spielberg fans alike largely rejected the Film. It was described as “muddled,” “a soggy mess,” and “a disaster.”1 John Patterson aptly ...

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2001: A Cold Descent

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pp. 122-145

Mr. Kubrick: My pupils are still dilated, and my breathing sounds like your soundtrack. I don’t know if this poor brain will survive another work of the magnitude of 2001, but it will die (perhaps more accurately “go nova”) happily if given the opportunity: Whenever anybody asks me for a description of the movie, I tell them that it is, in sequential order:.

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Deviant Subjects in Foucault and A Clockwork Orange: Criminological Constructions of Subjectivity

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pp. 146-164

The clockwork metaphor has long been a tradition of Western sciences, both physical and social. Dreams of predicting and controlling human behavior have provoked nightmares of social control and behavior modification. The development of these models in behavioral and social sciences provided the context in 1962 for Anthony Burgess’s best known ...

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Pictures, Plurality, and Puns: A Visual Approach to Barry Lyndon

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pp. 165-184

The visual splendor of Barry Lyndon, Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel, echoes the lavish spectacle of eighteenth-century art. It is indisputable that Kubrick studied this art in preparation for the film, and he alludes to his study in a scene in which Barry wanders through a picture gallery, perusing the ...

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Death by Typewriter: Stanley Kubrick, the Holocaust, and The Shining

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pp. 185-217

It is one of the most unsettling scenes in all of cinema. A medium shot of two sets of red elevator doors flanked by vaguely moderne armchairs. Ominous music—Penderecki’s The Awakening of Jacob—on the soundtrack. One of the elevator doors slides open, and in slow motion a thick torrent of what we know must be blood pours into the corridor. The ...

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Full-Metal-Jacketing, or Masculinity in the Making

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pp. 218-241

Loren Baritz’s Backfire, a provocative study of American involvement in Vietnam, opens with the assertion that the Vietnam war worked as a “magnifying glass that enlarged aspects of some of the ways we, as Americans,think and act.”1 Like the war it portrays, Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (1987) also works as a magnifying glass, enlarging one aspect of American...

Final Take: Eyes Wide Shut

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In Dreams Begin Responsibilities

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pp. 245-254

Writing about Eyes Wide Shut in Time, Richard Schickel had this to say about its source, Arthur Schnitzler’s Traumnovelle (1926): “Like a lot of the novels on which good movies are based, it is an entertaining, erotically charged fiction of the second rank, in need of the vivifying physicalization of the screen and the kind of narrative focus a good ...

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Freud, Schnitzler, and Eyes Wide Shut

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pp. 255-279

Stanley Kubrick’s film Eyes Wide Shut was inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s novel Dream Story [Traumnovelle] (1926), set in the Vienna of the 1890s. Freud’s relationship to Schnitzler (1862–1931), the Viennese dramatist, novelist, and physician, was one of kindred spirits.1 Indeed, Freud feared that he had such an intimate affnity with Schnitzler that he avoided ...

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Introducing Sociology

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pp. 280-297

Critical disappointment with Eyes Wide Shut was almost unanimous, and the complaint was always the same: not sexy. The national reviewers sounded like a bunch of middle-school kids who’d snuck in to see the film and slunk out three hours later feeling horny, frustrated, and ripped off. Kubrick was old and out of touch with today’s jaded ...


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pp. 301-303


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pp. 305-307


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pp. 309-311


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pp. 313-330

E-ISBN-13: 9780299216139
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299216146

Publication Year: 2006