Well, that’s the proposition of William Kare’s documentary (mockumentary?) Dark Side of the Moon, which originally aired on French TV channel Arte in 2002 as Opération Lune.
According to Karel’s (fictional?) film, Kubrick was hired to fake the Apollo 11 mission by the U.S. government. The evidence? Well, secret documents alluding to Kubrick’s involvement in the “fraud” were discovered among the director’s papers after his death in March 1999.
Moreover, Kubrick apparently left clues to his involvement into the scam: firstly, his being loaned lenses by NASA to recreate the candle-lit scenes in his film Barry Lyndon—how else could have got hold of these unless NASA owed him a BIG favor?; secondly, Kubrick allegedly made a confession of his involvement in the conspiracy that is contained in his film version of Stephen King’s The Shining.
Adding substance to these alleged facts, Karel wheels out a highly convincing array of contributors: Henry Kissinger, Buzz Aldrin, Jan Harlan, Richard Helms, Vernon Walters (who is claimed to have mysteriously died after filming) and Christiane Kubrick.
It’s a great romp, and for those who are tempted to believe, watch the bloopers reel at the end.
These various tales of Kubrick from The Stanley and Us Project were originally included as part of a documentary by directors Mauro di Flaviano, Federico Greco, Stefano Landini on Stanley Kubrick.
In 1997 during the course of making the original Stanley and Us documentary, the trio recorded over seven-and-half hours’ worth of interviews, but only used a small percentage of this in the finished film. After Stanley and Us was released in 1999, they packaged the interviews in to 30-minute shows for Italian television’s RAI channel.
Over the past two years as part of the on-going Stanley and Us Project interviews have been appearing on YouTube and include such gems as waspish critic, the late Alexander Walker explaining why Kubrick was in awe of Peter Sellers, and why Sellers was mad; daughter Katharina Kubrick talking about the “crazy time” after the release of A Clockwork Orange; designer Ken Adam on Kubrick verses Bond; the legendary actor Murray Melvin discussing 57 takes on Barry Lyndon; editor Gordon Stainforth on why Kubrick was always right; Darth Vader actor David Prowse on “one-take Kubrick”; actor Michael Tarn on why the script was the book; executive producer Jan Harlan on Kubrick’s use of time; and Kubrick’s wife Christiane on Stanley’s acceptance speech video for Directors Guild of America D.W. Griffith Award and why he didn’t do interviews; and Walker again, this time on Kubrick’s funeral.
More tales of Kubrick from ‘Stanley and Us,’ after the jump…
Kubrick at 21, then a visionary photographer for Look magazine
Stanley Kubrick was a man of wildly variant yet intensely focused interests. He was never prolific—his obsessive devotion to perfection and research wouldn’t allow it. With that kind of artistic dedication, you’d at least hope all his projects were completed. Unfortunately for us, he had quite a few awesome-sounding films that got shelved—some of which he spent years on. This little mini-doc gives a neat little run-down of Kubrick’s unrealized visions.
Kubrick developed A.I. for years, which was later passed on to Steven Spielberg. A simple side-by-side viewing of E.T. and 2001: A Space Odyssey tells you everything you need to know about a Spielberg sci-fi versus a Kubrick sci-fi. Honestly, I don’t mind a little bit of that old schmaltzy Spielbergian glow, but I can’t help but think that Kubrick would have done something a million times more interesting with a movie on artificial intelligence. The man developed HAL 9000, for chrissake!
That’s not the only time Spielberg played a role in Kubrick’s career. Schindler’s List undercut Kubrick’s push for his own film on the Holocaust after the director had already starting casting and scouting locations. Perhaps the most ambitious of his “dreams deferred ” was a Napoleon biopic. Kubrick researched every day of Napoleon’s life and kept a meticulous log. He even had dirt from a Napoleonic battleground, so that he might match the soil color for accuracy in the film!
Someone on imgur has uploaded a whole lot of fantastic images depicting the filming of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. There are 100 of them, and boy, do they provide a lot of fascinating detail about one of the most ambitious movie sets ever constructed—especially in terms of the available technology. It’s great to see how much of this is analog—I mean we know it had to be analog, but the contrast with today’s CGI way is stark. I especially love the stills where you can see the grandeur of the massive stage sets, how they solved the problem of filming, for example, a set in which the inside of a massive wheel is a continuous flat surface in a zero-gravity space vessel.
I feel like I run into the opinion fairly often that 2001 is boring, dated. I couldn’t disagree more. My dad first took me to see 2001 in Vienna in 1982; I was 12. It really did blow my mind; I didn’t understand a thing. I watch 2001 every five years or so and I have never watched it and not been tremendously impressed and enthralled.
(Even so, I can admire the wit behind Mad Magazine’s snippet of dialogue in their satire 201 (Min. of) A Space Idiocy, poking fun at the movie’s ending: “What did you expect…!? You just crashed through the brand-new 105-story Jupiter Museum of Op Art!”)
These pictures appear to be a heterogenous collection from a variety of sources; it’s more a feat of collection and curation than anything else. The pictures are cleverly arranged in the approximate order of the movie’s unfolding, so it feels a little bit like watching the movie itself. Really, hats off.
Remember, there’s a lot more where this came from, so be sure and look at the rest.
Here’s the official trailer, which is quite a piece of work in its own right:
European filmmakers, including George Sluizer (director of Spoorloos, aka The Vanishing. and Utz), Peter Delpeut (Felice..Felice..) and Harry Kümel (Daughters of Darkness, Malpertuis) discuss the films and famously obsessive work practices of Stanley Kubrick.
Kubrick thought Sluizer’s The Vanishing the most terrifying film he had seen—even more frightening than The Shining, and it led to Kubrick ‘phoning the Dutch filmmaker to discuss editing.
There is also an interview with Johanna ter Steege, who was set to star in Kubrick’s so-called “lost Holocaust” movie The Aryan Papers, which was dropped after Steven Spielberg made Schindler’s List.
“He [Kubrick] was convinced that he had found an actress whose performance would catapult a new star to the forefront of international stardom and give this dark and serious film the needed ‘gloss’,” Kubrick’s brother-in-law and producer Jan Harlan has said of Ter Steege. He believes that it was “devastating” for her that the film wasn’t made. “It’s like a young musician getting his first Carnegie Hall [concert] and then being told you can’t do it. It must be terrible, after you’ve prepared yourself for months and months.”
It ends with (who else?) Malcolm McDowell in performance, recounting a tale of working with Kubrick.
Filmmaker/musician Vivian Kubrick, daughter of the great Stanley Kubrick, has posted a selection of photographs on Twitter, depicting her once close relationship working with her father on his, and her own projects. The pictures may be viewed as a possible attempt at some form of reconciliation as Vivian has been allegedly out of touch with her family since joining the Church of Scientology in 1999.
Vivian’s filmmaking career started with her documentary on her father making The Shining in 1979. She scored Stanley’s next film Full Metal Jacket in 1987. Her father then asked Vivian to score Eyes Wide Shut, but she turned down his offer to dedicate herself to Scientology, as Raw Story reported last year when the reclusive Vivian attended at an “anti government Alex Jones rally”:
“Stanley asked Vivian to compose the score, but at the last moment she said she wouldn’t,” Kubrick’s widow Christiane told the Guardian in 2009. “They had a huge fight. He was very unhappy. He wrote her a 40-page letter trying to win her back. He begged her endlessly to come home from California. I’m glad he didn’t live to see what happened.”
In “The Secret of the Pyramid,” which appeared in the January 2013 issue of the film journal Positif, critic and screenwriter Laurent Vachaud offered a new interpretation of “Eyes Wide Shut,” Stanley Kubrick’s last film, which came out in 1999 and was based on Arthur Schnitzler’s “Dream Story” (1926). After analyzing the omnipresence of triangle patterns in the film’s sets, Vachaud (interviewed this week by ARTINFO) concluded that “Eyes Wide Shut” is much more than a simple story of spousal jealousy. He theorizes that it is about mind control exerted by the secret society to which Alice Harford (Nicole Kidman) belongs. Her husband, Bill Harford (Tom Cruise), with “big closed eyes,” is blind to the fact that his wife is part of a cult that provides sex slaves to wealthy elites. This use of women echoes Doctor Strangelove’s final speech, in which he says that “with the right genetic policy, a ratio of 10 females per male, the population could return to its current level within 20 years.”
In his article, Vachaud wrote that the theme of abused children is at the heart of all Kubrick’s movies since “Lolita,” and that the Harfords’ child would also become, under the control of her mother, a slave of the secret society. Uncovering “barely veiled allusions” to Scientology in “Eyes Wide Shut” (among them the fact that Tom Cruise is himself a zealous Scientologist), the article claimed to discover a parallel between the movie and Kubrick’s personal life. His daughter Vivian Kubrick, who acted in several of her father’s movies, directed a film about the making of “The Shining,” and wrote the music for “Full Metal Jacket” (under the pseudonym Abigail Mead), joined the Scientologists during the preparation for “Eyes Wide Shut” and was no longer speaking to her family as of 1998.
Revealed by Kubrick’s widow in 2010, the disappearance of Vivian into the hands of Scientologists takes on a special resonance after viewing “Eyes Wide Shut,” a film with a deeply lethal atmosphere. Vachaud mentions the disturbing scene where Bill Harford, shocked and upset, learns from a newspaper of the brutal death of Mandy, a young woman whom he was unable to save, while Mozart’s “Requiem” plays. Vachaud concludes that “after this moment, it is hard not to see all of ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ as a father’s requiem for his lost daughter.”
Vivian allegedly turned-up at her father’s funeral with a Scientology handler. Vivian’s distance from her family became more apparent after she apparently failed to attend her sister Anya’s funeral in 2009. The sisters had once been inseparable.
The photographs start with Vivian and Anya as children in New York, and move almost film-by-film through Stanley Kubrick’s career, ending on a photograph of father and daughter together.
Vivian and Anya Kubrick, New York City 1965
Vivian and a baby chimp from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey, 1967’
Vivian’s ‘Making The Shining’ cutting room, 1979
Editing ‘Making of The Shining’ at EMI studio, 1979
Vivian on location with camera, dog Fanny and father, ‘Full Metal Jacket’ 1986
Vivian in her bedroom where she wrote the score for ‘Full metal Jacket’ 1987
“Makes me smile: Me&Dad FMJ @ Beckton Gas Works: filthiest place on earth - 2 baths every night to get the filth off.”
“In Memory of my Dad, who I loved with all my heart and soul ... Dad and Me 1979 on the back veranda of Abbots Mead.”
In the early eighties, after he had finished making the The Shining, Stanley Kubrick began to look for another story to film, another movie to make.
“When I don’t have a story, it’s like saying a lion walking around in the veld isn’t looking for a meal. I’m always looking.”
Eventually, he found his story: The Short-Timers, a semi-autobiographical novel by Gustav Hasford about Vietnam. In 1987, Kubrick explained the book’s appeal to the Washington Post:
“This book,” Kubrick says, “was written in a very, very, almost poetically spare way. There was tremendous economy of statement, and Hasford left out all the ‘mandatory’ war scenes that are put in to make sure you understand the characters and make you wish he would get on with the story ... I tried to retain this approach in the film. I think as a result, the film moves along at an alarming – hopefully an alarming – pace….”
“I think it tries to give a sense of the war and the people, and how it affected them. I think with any work of art, if I can call it that, that stays around the truth and is effective, it’s very hard to write a nice capsule explanation of what it’s about.”
From 1983 on, Kubrick read everything he could find about Vietnam including “countless movies and documentaries, Vietnamese newspapers on microfilm from the Library of Congress and hundreds of photographs from the era.” He was relentless, obsessive, single-minded. He worked on a screenplay with Hasford and Michael Herr, which he then filmed at an old T.A. barracks, and at disused gasworks on the banks of the Thames River at Beckton. The result was Full Metal Jacket.
These brief clips of Kubrick directing Full Metal Jacket shows (as Michael Herr once described) the legendary director as “control freak” also being “philosophical about the things he can’t control.”
Bonus documentary on the making of ‘Full Metal Jacket,’ after the jump…
Fifty years ago today, on January 29th, 1964, Stanley Kubrick’s film Doctor Strangelove or: How I Learned t to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was released.
In light of the Cold War, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kubrick (like millions of others) was deeply concerned at the thought of a possible nuclear war between America and Russia. He decided to make a movie about it, and read numerous books on the subject. At first, he considered making a straightforward thriller about a possible nuclear accident. As this rough idea evolved, Kubrick bought the rights for Peter George’s Red Alert (aka Two Hours to Doom) and began working on a screenplay.
As he researched the subject further, Kubrick began to see the total absurdity of an all out nuclear war, and opted to make “a nightmare comedy.” An original draft opened with extra-terrestrials viewing Earth after a nuclear holocaust. It was to be called The Delicate Balance of Terror. Kubrick then decided the film required a level of “inspired lunacy” within a realistic framework. He therefore brought in “Existentialist hipster” and controversial author of Candy, Terry Southern.
As the late film critic Alexander Walker described it, the result was:
“...the most perfectly written comedic screenplay of post-war cinema.”
Stanley Kubrick was a notorious perfectionist—Slim Pickens turned down the role of Dick Hallorann in The Shining, eventually played by Scatman Crothers, because Kubrick refused to promise to limit his number of takes on any of Pickens’ shots to under 100.
So it’s no surprise that Kubrick gave some thought to the foreign-language versions of his movies. One of the pivotal scenes in The Shining occurs when Wendy Torrance, played by Shelley Duvall, comes upon the thick, typewritten manuscript that her husband Jack has been working on for weeks, only to find that every single page is covered with thousands of iterations of the creepy phrase “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
Kubrick understood that the power of the scene is considerably blunted if you can’t understand the text and therefore must rely on a bland, impersonal, possibly poorly translated subtitle at the bottom of the screen. So Kubrick took the time to shoot four other versions of the scene, for use in the Spanish, Italian, French, and German cuts of the movie. According to The Overlook Hotel, a website run by Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich that is dedicated to Shining ephemera and lore, “Kubrick filmed a number of different language versions of the ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ insert shot as Wendy leafs through Jack’s work. Many of these alternate language stacks of paper can be seen in the Stanley Kubrick Archive.”
Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca
(The morning has gold in its mouth)
Was du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf morgen
(Never put off until tomorrow what can be done today)
No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano
(No matter how early you get up, you can’t make the sun rise any sooner)
Un Tiens vaut mieux que deux Tu l’auras
(What you have is worth much more than what you will have)
The link provided by The Overlook Hotel is 404, and my lengthy, feverish attempts to track down pictures of these “alternate stacks of paper,” alas, came to nothing. I would love to see these stacks of paper!
I was able to track down stills of the German and Italian versions on the Internet, but I can’t vouch for their authenticity. They do look legit, though.
Here’s the legendary “All work and no play” scene—in English:
According to Todd Brown at Twitchfilm, an uncompleted outline for Son of Strangelove, a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s immortal 1964 Cold War satire Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, was found among the effects of the legendary screenwriter Terry Southern (Easy Rider, Barbarella) after his death in 1995. The story was set in the underground bunkers discussed in the infamous war room scene of the original film. As tantalizing as it is to wonder how such a film would have turned out had it indeed come to pass, it turns out that Kubrick had Monty Python refugee and great visionary of the dismal Terry Gilliam in mind to direct. Straight from Gilliam himself:
I was told after Kubrick died - by someone who had been dealing with him - that he had been interested in trying to do another Strangelove with me directing. I never knew about that until after he died but I would have loved to.
This is my face, just thinking about ‘Son of Strangelove.’
Stanley Kubrick, the great cinematic genius was born on July 26, 1928, in the Bronx, NY.
To mark this occasion, here’s Kubrick’s first for hire directing job, the 1951 documentary short he made for RKO-Pathé Screenliner, Flying Padre. The short film, later called “silly” by Kubrick, portrays the work of Father Fred Stadtmuller, a Catholic priest in rural New Mexico whose 4000-square mile parish is so large that he uses an airplane to get from one end of it to the other.
You will know Ken Adam for the War Room in Stanley Kubrick’s Doctor Strangelove. Or, perhaps his car design for Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang. And of course, his unforgettable designs for the James Bond movies - from the specially adapted Aston Martin car, to his vision of Fort Knox in Goldfinger; the jet pack in Thunderball; or his stunning rocket base, within a hollow volcano in You Only Live Twice - Adam has created some of the most brilliant and unforgettable set designs ever filmed.
The 007 Set: A Profile of Ken Adam tells the story of cinema’s best known production designer from his birth in Berlin, between the wars, to his escape to England after the rise of Hitler, his training as an architect, and his career as the Royal Air Force’s only German fighter pilot during World War 2. First broadcast in 1979, this is a fascinating portrait, with great archive and an excellent interview with Ken Adam.
In 1964, Stanley Kubrick wrote to science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke. He explained he was a “a great admirer” of his books, and that he “had always wanted to discuss with [him] the possibility of doing the proverbial really good science-fiction movie.”
Kubrick outlined his ideas:
My main interest lies along these broad areas, naturally assuming great plot and character:
The reasons for believing in the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life.
The impact (and perhaps even lack of impact in some quarters) such discovery would have on Earth in the near future.
A space probe with a landing and exploration of the Moon and Mars.
The pair met, and a treatment was written, based around Clarke’s short story, “The Sentinel” (later published as “The Sentinel of Eternity” in 1953), in which a strange, tetrahedral artifact is discovered on the Moon. The story’s narrator speculates that the object has been left as a “warning beacon” for some ancient alien intelligence to signal humanity’s evolutionary advance towards space travel.
At the same time Kubrick was making 2001: A Space Odyssey, Clarke was writing his own version as a novel.
Having viewed Kubrick’s film rushes, Clarke wrote an explicit interpretation of the film, explaining many of the themes left open-ended in the movie. In particular, how the central character, David Bowman ends his days in what is described as a kind of living museum or zoo, where he is observed by alien life forms.
Kubrick was never as explicit, and refused to be fully drawn over the film’s meaning, or its many differences from Clarke’s novel, usually stating that his intention had been to make a “really good science-fiction movie.”
In an interview with Playboy in 1968, Kubrick gave an answer on the meaning and purpose of human existence, which could almost be a description of 2001:
“The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism – and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But, if he’s reasonably strong – and lucky – he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s elan. Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death – however mutable man may be able to make them – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”
The documentary 2001: The Making of a Myth is introduced by James Cameron, who looks at the stories behind 2001: A Space Odyssey, examining why the film has endured and why it still generates such interest. With contributions form Arthur C. Clarke, Keir Dullea, Elvis Mitchell, and Douglas Trumbull.