The most complete account yet of one of the most original and stimulating film-makers of the post-war years (and also one of the most reclusive): Paths of Glory, Dr Strangelove, Lolita, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Barry Lindon, Full Metal Jacket … magnificent, powerful dystopias.
A biography of this pre-eminent cultural figure is long overdue. Few film-makers have managed to maintain their mystique over forty years; Kubrick succeeded by preparing his films for years, so that each distilled the essence of the zeitgeist. To the generation of the 1950s, he was one of the few directors to achieve, with Paths of Glory, the dignity and stature of the European cinema in an American film. To 1960s audiences, he’s the man who made both Dr Strangelove, the ultimate anti-war movie, and the counter-culture classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the 1970s he created that archetypal hymn to urban violence, A Clockwork Orange. In the 1980s, he put Stephen King on screen in The Shining.
In continental Europe especially, Kubrick is regarded as one of the handful of great living film-makers. Born in the Bronx in 1928 of Central European stock, Kubrick still lives in moody seclusion in Borehamwood, where he bought a house soon after moving to the UK in 1961.
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"What's Kubrick doing next?" has been, for nearly forty years, one of the film world's constant questions. That Stanley Kubrick has maintained his mystique for so long is both a tribute to his exceptional powers as a film-maker and a consequence of his decision, made early in life, to live and work on his own terms, whatever the price.
For decades, the films of Stanley Kubrick have distilled the essence of the 'zeitgeist'. In the 1950s, he was one of the few American film-makers to achieve, with 'Paths of Glory', the dignity and stature of the European cinema. To 1960s audiences, he was the man who made 'Dr Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb', the ultimate anti-war movie, and the counter-culture classic '2001: A Space Odyssey.' In the 1970s, he created the archetypal hymn to urban violence, 'A Clockwork Orange'. In the 1980s, he anatomised the nature of private madness and the collective insanity of war in 'The Shining' and 'Full Metal Jacket'.
Kubrick has created a gallery of indelible images that will last as long as the cinema – porcelain-white spaceships, fragile as Dresden, posed against the velvet of space ('2001: A Space Odyssey'); wigged fops fencing in a misty dawn (' Barry Lyndon'); elevator doors gushing dark blood that floods in slow motion through the corridors of an empty hotel ('The Shining'); and the riddled landscape of Vietnam under a sky filthy with the smoke of war ('Full Metal Jacket').
Yet little is known of the man behind these films. Born in the Bronx in 1928 of Central European stock, Kubrick has lived since 1961 in moody seclusion in rural England, "a Prospero", in the words of critic David Thomson, "who has kept people off the island". With the help of actors, writers, directors, technicians and childhood friends, John Baxter offers the most complete account yet of Kubrick's life, the production of epics like '2001: A Space Odyssey', his conflicts with Kirk Douglas and other stars, the story behind his failure to make 'Napoleon', which promised to be his greatest work, and the remarkable truth about the production and eventual banning of his most notorious film, 'A Clockwork Orange.'
Kubrick emerges as a man both sensitive and ruthless, petulant and generous, who adulates reason but whose films can reflect the wildest excesses of passion, and who above all is ruled by a relentless need to place his personal vision on screen.
John Baxter is a film critic, novelist, biographer and broadcaster, whose books on the cinema include 'The Hollywood Exiles', 'The Cinema of Josef von Sternberg', 'The Cinema of John Ford', and biographies of Ken Russell ('An Appalling Talent'), Fellini and Bunuel. Of his most recent book, 'Steven Spielberg: The Unauthorised Biography', Bryan Forbes wrote in the 'Daily Telegraph': "Baxter has got beneath the skin of his subject for a detailed and eminently readable biography of an enigmatic and complex personality … a most intelligent piece of detection work, totally engrossing."
John Baxter was born and brought up in Australia, has worked in London and taught in the United States, and now lives in Paris with his wife Marie-Dominique Montel.About the Author:
John Baxter is a film critic, novelist, biographer and broadcaster (born in Australia), whose film books include The Hollywood Exiles, Stunt: The Great Movie Stuntmen, An Appalling Talent: The Life of Ken Russell, Science Fiction in the Cinema, The Cinema of John Ford, The Cinema of Josef Von Sternberg, Fellini and Bunuel. His Steven Spielberg: The Unauthorised Biography was published by HarperCollins in June 1996.
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Book Description HARPERCOLLINS, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110002555883