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Stanley Kubrick Shots: A Masterclass In Visuals

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by Sanjeev Nanda, Apr 4, 2020.

  1. Sanjeev Nanda

    Sanjeev Nanda Active Member

    I was recently binging on some Stanley Kubrick movies, and I came to realize something - Hot Take: Kubrick is great with shots, but not that great with plots. He tends to compensate for 'PLOT' with really mesmerizing visuals - and most of us love him for that. I went back and watched the movies again, just the admire the camerawork of it all. I hope his style of cinematography makes a comeback in the next few years.

    What do you think? Was Stanley Kubrick a better screenwriter, or cinematographer.

    ~Sanjeev Nanda
     
  2. Sanjeev Nanda

    Sanjeev Nanda Active Member



    Like this one, It's spectacular!
     
  3. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    I thought he was not a writer, the plots were by others.

    S
     
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  4. Sanjeev Nanda

    Sanjeev Nanda Active Member

    He's listed as a screen-writer on a lot of his movies. There are a couple, like The Shining, which are adaptations - but in the end, it is a screenwriter who brings the entire script together.
    ~Sanjeev Nanda
     
  5. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Be fair, the whole film was spectacular!

    S
     
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  6. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    True but that is someone who adapts a plot to the screen, I think.

    S
     
  7. Sanjeev Nanda

    Sanjeev Nanda Active Member

    I agree!
     
  8. Sanjeev Nanda

    Sanjeev Nanda Active Member

    491c5f5ec728f6e24300f649cc495cef.jpg

    Even Eyes Wide Shut (1999), his last picture, was really beautiful cinematic-ally as well.

    ~Sanjeev Nanda
     
  9. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Perhaps you can define who "most of us" are in this context and just how many people you asked.
     
  10. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Dare I say that The Shining was his weakest film? When I saw it, people were laughing at it.

    However, I did see 2001 on a big screen when I was 12, and have never fully recovered (in the best way). Whenever I hear certain pieces of music, images from the film always come to mind.

    Many years later I managed to see the 70 mm print of the restored version of Spartacus on the largest screen at the NFT in London.
    Using the word correctly, it was awesome.

    Full Metal Jacket is probably the best film made about the Vietnam war, and it was filmed in east London with a few scenes in surrounding areas (look at the road markings at the army camp when the recruits are on basic training).

    I think you've missed the point when you ask 'Was Stanley Kubrick a better screenwriter, or cinematographer?' He was a unique film maker who usually worked in collaboration with talented writers, cinematographers and actors. Try to watch 2001 on a big screen if you ever get the chance, and be amazed at the images you see that were not created with CGI.
     
  11. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    The person to compare him with is Fritz Lang. In my opinion Lang was associated with much more groundbreaking work than Kubrick. Compare "Metropolis" with "2001" and you see someone who's really pushing the boundaries. "The Big Heat" is an excercise in spine chilling cinema that I think Kubrick should have noted carefully before embarking on "Killer's Kiss". If he had done so it might not have been such a flop. Kubrick was competent but far less innovative in my opinion than many other directors of his period.
     
  12. Sanjeev Nanda

    Sanjeev Nanda Active Member

    I couldn't agree more. The Shining didn't do it for me as a "plot-movie" so much, as it did for me as a "visual-movie". Spartacus goes soooo under the radar, its almost criminal, really - if it was any other director, it would've released it to glorious accolades. Full Metal jacket, has some great direction behind it as well (will definitely watch out for the London setting next while lol). true, he was a filmmaker, through and through, no doubt! But like the Shining example you gave, his strengths are not conventional, by any means.

    2001: ASO is a great example in this regard. Only Kubrick could've seen the non-Hollywood-esque appeal of the movie to fruition. Not only that, it's also one of the industry's best outputs ever.
     
  13. Sanjeev Nanda

    Sanjeev Nanda Active Member

    2001-A-Space-Odyssey-1968-by-Stanley-Kubrick.jpg
    Pictured Above; NO CGI
     
  14. Sanjeev Nanda

    Sanjeev Nanda Active Member

    Kubrick came with his own set of self-implied limitations. He wanted to break out from Hollywood conventions, but couldn't think beyond his own "institutionalized" frame of thinking. Metropolis, for example, is stark and impactful, because of it's usage old timely cinema conventions, like set design, and deliberately choppy camera-work, for a subject matter that was way beyond the paygrade of anyone making films at the moment. Kudos for the Fritz Lang mention btw!

    metropolis-1.jpg
    Just look at this shot! Absolutely spectacular!!!

    ~Sanjeev Nanda
     
  15. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    And what about the music you heard whilst watching this mating shot? I hope you remember that too.
     
  16. Sanjeev Nanda

    Sanjeev Nanda Active Member

    I cannot remember, Chester! Please enlighten us what it is.
    ~Sanjeev Nanda
     
  17. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Blue Danube by Strauss

    S
     
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  18. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    The thing about the music soundtrack is that was originally just a guide soundtrack for the composer doing the 'proper' soundtrack. But Kubrick decided to stick with that rather than what Alex North wrote. I have a copy on CD somewhere - not listened to it for a while, must dig it out.
     
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  19. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    The Blue Danube waltz by Johann Strauss II(junior), as 'steveandthedogs' has already noted. This scene starts with what is probably one of the best visual edits in cinema history, and when watching the film in a cinema at the age of 12 I was stunned by the jump. I've just played this bit on my DVD copy, and it still amazes me. Also, if you like technical stuff, watch for the part of this scene when the stewardess plucks the fountain pen that is floating in zero gravity and holds it in her hand, and try to work out how it was done without CGI, wires or matte shots. I know, and it is really clever...

    Re. Fritz Lang. Many years ago I saw a new print of 'Metropolis' (on a big cinema screen), accompanied by live musicians playing a newly composed score. I still think that Brigitte Helm 'in costume' makes Robocop look like Sooty. Lang made so many great films in Germany, and in the USA later, that it is impossible to pick a favourite. But if you ever get a chance to see 'M' on a big screen, cancel all other plans and go.
     
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  20. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Our favourite print is the Giorgio Moroder cut; not only for the music but for the smoothly integrated stills of the missing footage.
     

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