Friday, September 5, 2008

Kubrickian Friday

Stanley Kubrick's widow, Christiane, has made available 900 boxes of material belonging to her late husband -- scripts, letters, designs, props, and photographs.

And so, some Letters...


June 5, 1959
To Laurence Olivier

Dear Larry, I am sorry the rushes were late yesterday and I was unable to come by for that drink. I hope that when you see the finished film you will be less disturbed about certain things than are now. In any case, I should like to thank you for the decent way you have behaved about the things with which you were in such disagreement. Good luck and Best Regards, Stanley.

June 26, 1964
Notes on a proposed deal with Columbia Pictures

I cannot accept this under any circumstance. I do not agree under any circumstances to be required to make any changes or revisions of the script, the picture or my style of combing my hair when ordered by Columbia. I do not wish to consult with Columbia on songs or instrumental numbers. It is utterly impractical and inconsistent with the artistic control I should have over the picture... I must have complete, total and final annihilating control over the picture.

Columbia should only be allowed to attend rushes at my invitation.

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, 1968

March 31, 1964
Dear Mr Clarke,

It’s a very interesting coincidence that our mutual friend Caras mentioned you in a conversation we were having about a Questar telescope. I had been a great admirer of your books for quite a time and had always wanted to discuss with you the possibility of doing the proverbial really good science-fiction movie. My main interest lies along these broad areas naturally assuming great plot and character.

1. The reasons for believing in the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life.

2. The impact (and perhaps even lack on impact in some quarters) such discovery would have on earth in the near future.

3. A space probe with a landing and exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Would you consider coming sooner with a view to a meeting, the purpose of which would be to determine whether an idea might exist or arise which could sufficiently interest both of

us enough to want to collaborate on a screenplay?


Kubrick does not cede control easily, as seen by the involvement he ensures he has when the film head for the 1972 Venice Film Festival. He asks nine questions of its organisers.

July 26, 1972
To Umberto Orlandifont

What is the make and type of the projectors which will show the film? Will the film be shown on 2,000ft reels. Is there control of the sound inside the auditorium during the screening? If so, where, approximately is it located? Is there a sound system or telephone which is connected with the projection booth? Please describe this. If someone wanted to leave the auditorium during the screening and go into the projection booth, how long would it take to get to the projection booth and would it create a disturbance? Where is the film actually to be screened at Venice? What is the name of the place and its address? Are all the films at the festival being screened in the same room?


August 3, 1973
To the make-up team

I saw Ryan’s make-up tests and basically I think you are on the right track. I would criticise, however, that the ageing make-up on Ryan in close-up looks exactly like make-up but I think with a little less on the day it will be all right. The make-up for his young Irish look doesn’t work. In my opinion it looks like make-up and doesn’t contribute anything towards making him look any younger. I think we should just drop this. The bows in his hair in Germany and Dublin are too large and in many angles look unattractive. They should be smaller and I would like to see them redone and rephotographed next week when you have him again. best S K


June 27, 1995
From Frederic Raphael (Screenwriter) to Kubrick

Dear Stanley, Do you know the joke about the Jewish tailor, to whom his customer said, "The good Lord made the world in six days and you've taken six months to make one bloody pair of trousers? To which the tailor answered, 'Ah, but look at the world and then look at the trousers.' Why did this story occur to me? As ever Freddie.

And, since you made it this far, here are two treats:

HAL9000 Desktop Wallpaper

A TV Promo, filmed as a one-take tracking shot from the point of view of Stanley Kubrick as he walks through the "Shining" set, ending up in his director's chair as the crew prepare to shoot the famous scene of Danny Torrance, the son of Duvall and Jack Nicholson's characters, riding round and round the deserted corridors of the Overlook Hotel.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Movie Review Haiku

Rosemary's Baby

A thinking man's scare
Falling in love with Mia
Makes the spiral ache

**** Stars (out of 5)