As one of the most widely acclaimed and influential directors of the postwar era, Stanley Kubrick enjoyed a reputation and a standing unique among the filmmakers of his day. He had a brilliant career with relatively few films. An outsider, he worked beyond the confines of Hollywood, which he disliked, maintaining complete control of his projects and making movies according to his own ideas and time constraints. To him, filmmaking was a form of art and unlike Hollywood, not a business.
Working in a vast range of styles from dark comedy to horror to crime to drama, Kubrick was an enigma, living and creating in almost total seclusion, far away from the watchful eye of the media. His films were a reflection of his obsessive nature, perfectionist masterpieces that remain among the most thoughtful and visionary motion pictures ever made.
Stanley Kubrick was born on July 26, 1928 in the Bronx. In 1942, while still in high school, he initially had an interest in photography, which his father 2
introduced. Stanley father, Jacques Kubrick, spend his life as a physician. His first brush with fame occurred when Look magazine published one of his early photographs of a newspaper seller overwhelmed by the headlines announcing the death of President Roosevelt. Shortly there after, Kubrick started work at Look magazine as an apprentice photographer. In 1946 he became a reporter for the magazine and traveled across the United States and Europe. While a student at Columbia University, Kubrick became interested in filmmaking and attended the Museum of Modern Art showings regularly. To supplement his income, he played chess for money in Greenwich Village.
In 1951 at the age of twenty, Kubrick and a school friend, Alfred Singer used their life savings to finance his first film, Day of the Fight, a sixteen-minute documentary on boxer Walter Cartier. This short film was later purchased by RKO for its This Is America series and played in theaters in New York. Encouraged by his success, Kubrick quit his job at Look and pursued filmmaking full-time. Soon, RKO assigned him to head a short film for their documentary series Pathe Screenliner.
The title, Flying Padre was a nine-minute film highlighting Fred Stadtmueller, a priest who piloted a small plane around his four hundred mile New 3
Mexico parish. After this he filmed other documentaries, including his first color film The Seafarers. Kubrick, with the aid of friends and relatives, raised $13,000 to finance his first feature film, the war story Fear and Desire. The film was silent at first with the dialogue dubbed in later. It never made back its initial investment. Then in 1955, he directed his second feature film, the gangland melodrama Killer's Kiss. This film was more successful and was sold to United Artists.
In 1956, Kubrick directed his first studio picture, The Killing with a screenplay by Jim Thompson. This was his first artistic success and it brought him to the attention of MGM production head Dore Share. In 1957, Kubricks hot Paths of Glory, which was rejected by many studios until Kirk Douglas decided to star in the film. This led to a much-needed financing deal with United Artists. The film won considerable critical acclaim and promoted Kubrick's reputation as a rising talent.
In 1958, Marlon Brando hired him as director for his Western One Eyed Jacks. Kubrick resented Brando's constant intervening in his work and he left the film forfeiting $100,000. In 1959, Kubrick became director of Spartacus. He took the job even though he had no influence on screenplay, production and distribution. Spartacus is Kubrick's first commercial success. The most costly film produced at that time, with a budget of $12 million, it proved to be a major hit 4