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Farewll Stanley Essay Research Paper Stanley Kubric

Farewll Stanley Essay, Research Paper

Stanley Kubric was one of the great filmmakers, died in his bed of a heart attack on Sunday

morning, March 7th 1999. When I first heard the report, I blinked twice

in disbelief. It just seemed WAY too soon to bid good-bye to Stanley.

Somehow, he was one of those people you get to think will always be

there. And it’s appealing to have known all these years that up there in

Hertsfordshire, he was working away on some new project or other.

SOMEone had been doing something new and special. After all, creative

perfectionists have become nearly an anathema as the centuries

increment. So much of what we are asked to read, to hear, to look at,

even to eat, seems the result of expedience, a matter of pure commerce.

Intelligence, even touches of genius (as he had ample times,) have

become quaint relics of an earlier age. Our loss, more than you may


I was one of the few artists to have worked more than once with him. The

experience and memories are indelibly etched on my brain. The

face-to-face meetings for spotting music to compose for “A Clockwork

Orange” and “The Shining” couldn’t have lasted very much more than a

week or two each for me and my then partner and producer, Rachel (it

would be unfair to Rachel to characterize her impressions here, and so

these are only my observations, although she was present and worked with

me throughout the details that follow.) Since my none-too-portable

studio was located in New York, and Kubrick didn’t travel, the rest of

the collaboration took place via long phone calls and messages, express

packages of cassettes, tapes, film and video footage, and written memos

and notes. If faxing had been more available, and the Web had existed

back then, it’s certain we’d have used these media to communicate in

great detail, too!

Stanley Kubrick was not an easy man to work for. He was vastly

interesting, completely open about all his “secrets”, and had a dry

sense of humor. You were always stimulated working with him. But it was

seldom painless. I would truly have preferred to be another director or

friend. Read Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Lost Worlds of 2001″ for another

parallax on this observation — even if it’s essentially a congruent

conclusion. (Once Stanley told me that aside from A.C.C. I was the most

outspoken, candid person he had worked with. This merely means in my

case that I had a big mouth, and sometimes still say too much, perhaps

even here.) One works (damn, I keep using the present tense…) worked

with him for other good reasons.

All of this is completely in keeping with a demanding, even obsessive

person of great depth who is trying to find the optimum answer for the

smallest decision, however much time and effort it takes. I’m rather

“tarred by the same brush” in many ways, close (= brave) friends inform

me , and understand, even empathize with such an attitude, including

the times when it bites back. It’s just that my new media music medium

is more tractable to watch-making “godzinthuh” details, than the

large-scale collaborative and social interactivities of making feature

films. Who’s to complain if I go for a fifty-seventh retake except my

lazy side alter-ego (or possibly Heinz…?) Whereas Stanley got tagged

early on as “overly demanding” or “inhumane”. Having been the target

myself of redo after redo, I empathize with both sides of this coin.

You can understand why recent attempts since his death to paint a

revisionist (revisionary “historians” — right out of Orwell — feh!)

image of Kubrick as some kind of warm and fuzzy fond old uncle are both

ignorant and bizarre. The world has plenty of avuncular supportive

seniors already. What’s in short supply in the world is Stanley

Kubricks: artists who will spare no effort to do work of the highest

caliber. Yes, it’s impractical, and not a role most artists are able to

inhabit with comfort, unless you command the respect and financial

support system he needed.

It allowed him to “wing it”, the way most creative projects are

intuitively “steered”, kind of groping forward towards some kind of

inevitability. He’d often risk experiments, creative trial and error.

When Stanley liked what you were doing he supported you “all the way”;

you’d be hard pressed to find a more canny supporter. Many young

directors got messages and calls from him if he loved their newest film.

(I’ll bet Hitchcock, another real master, never did that!) Kubrick

assembled a support system/nest to avoid most usual external needs to

compromise. We may all envy him in this.

Stanley loved animals, and was often surrounded by assorted purring cats

and affable dogs. He was mostly quiet-spoken and easy to take in person,

a bit detached like the cool chess expert he also was, and I seldom

heard him angry. That left me to be the more volatile and voluble one in

our meetings and conversations. He would meet you and at once gather

closer and focus on you, your thoughts, experiences, and collected

tidbits of knowledge and expertise. It made one feel rather important,

and valuable to the project afoot, you know? But it did not seem to me

to be either planned or phony. Since he also held his own methods and

“secrets” as fair game to any impertinent question (my spe-ci-al-i-ty

, what transpired probably could be best described as a “mutual

brain-pick”. And why not? A chance to showoff and absorb, play with the

language and ideas, and feel intellectually stimulated. It’s a style of

personal interaction that’s quite familiar to me, especially in New York

City, which is where he was born and grew up, not so coincidentally…

It’s also said that he was a recluse. Not really. A true recluse does

not enjoy meeting new people, having hour-long phone calls with friends

and associates, and inviting many of the most able people in a given

field to come work with him. That allowed him to study them and their

Stanley Kubric..

Loved life. His ideas, to figure out what makes them tick, in those most agreeable,

flattering ways. I had the feeling Stanley enjoyed getting to know

people. The reasons he seldom traveled were due more to human foibles:

the risks of flying, or even driving much in a car, were unacceptable to

him. It’s an understandable matter of fear and statistics. With modern

communications technology, it gets easier to pull this off each day,

without becoming a hermit or misanthrope. Sad that with all the

precautions he took, he did not gain a notably long life, as one might

expect as fair trade for so modest a lifestyle.

Many others knew him and his wonderful wife (Christiane is a genuinely

gifted painter and artist,) daughters (Vivian’s a fine film maker and

talented musician,) and family much deeper than I did. Others worked

much longer right there with him, not “remote control” as we had to.

Still others, like his urbane and witty, ultra-sharp Brother-in-law,

Jan, were truly close, and knew him when no project was in progress,

when he was relaxing, in “off” mode. They will have to speak for

themselves. We shall miss him not as a mere celebrity (which many news

reports and broadcasts did, damn them), but as a gifted artist and

creator of some of the best films ever made. They will be watched,

studied, and remembered long after the rest of us are gone, too. Pace,