Stanley Cubic

Kubrick, Who’d Have Been 90 & the   
Odyssey to a Future That Never Was

A New Yorker who spent most of his life in the U.K., Stanley Kubrick had been an accomplished photojournalist before his movie career as a director took off. His 1946 series for Look magazine, Life and Love on the New York City Subway, displays the same keen eye and compositional style that would mark his filmography later on.
In just a few years, the man who would say at one point that ‘the most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile, but that it is indifferent.’ went on to become anything but, with a string of now classics, such as Path of Glory, Spartacus, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001, A Space Odyssey, and A Clockwork Orange, to name a few.
Today, when he would’ve become 90, Stanley Kubrick is intrinsically connected with the future that he realized with his movies, more than anything he’s ever envisioned. And that’s no small feat for such an overachiever. Even as he just missed the dawn of the iconographic year that named his sci-fi masterpiece, much of what he and Arthur C. Clarke anticipated is finally rising on the horizon of our times.
Not that we should feel too nostalgic about the future that could’ve been, with its interstellar travel, and dreams of finally understanding our evolutionary connection with the ‘indifferent’ universe surrounding us. We’re actually lucky that another one of his disturbing dystopias of what may lay ahead, A Clockwork Orange, based on an Anthony Burgess book, hasn’t quite materialized. Yet.
Before going back to those pictures of a post-war Manhattan, and to a few interesting audio and visual tchotchkes about Kubrick we’ve found on the Internet, let’s do him some justice. For even at the heart of his enormously challenging techno-futuristic visual parables, there was his deeply humanistic option for a different construct of our own fate.
From his anti-war trilogy of sorts, Paths of Glory, Dr. Strangelove, and Full Metal Jacket, to his portraits of individuals at odds with an all too powerful system, either stoically like Spartacus, or as a crook, like Barry Lyndon, or even one succumbing to his own creeping madness, as in Stephen King’s The Shinning, Kubrick remained faithful to his non-religious but highly moral Jewish working class roots.

RIDING THE UNDERGROUND
The Museum of the City of New York has some 40 thousand negatives that the young photographer took of Manhattan in the 1940s. Some of his pictures are so cleared eye they could’ve been taken now. Subway riders fast asleep, hanging from the overhead bars, or with their faces buried in newspapers. Yes, you could make that iPhones, but the underlying content would be the same.
Calling him Stan Kubrick, the Camera Quiz Kid, Mildred Stagg wrote in 1948 about ‘the boy who said that had turned nineteen a week ago, and has been a staff photographer for Look magazines since age seventeen.’ And registered the kid’s own impressions about (more)
___________
Read Also
* The Shinning
* Polly & Meow
* Checking In
* Strange Love

Continue reading

Polly & Meow

Kubrick’s Psychic Pet
& a Farewell to a Cat

Extra Sensory Perception, the supposedly ability of some people to be aware of things without the use of the their five senses, was one of the main themes of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 screen adaptation of Stephen King novel The Shinning. The director acknowledged as much when he spoke with French film critic Michel Ciment. And mentioned his own cat, Polly, to exemplify how he perceived the issue.
There’s nothing ESP about the death of 2-year-old Meow, the Albuquerque, New Mexico, cat who made headlines around the world because of his weight, a whooping 39 pounds. Despite efforts to trim it down by an animal shelter in Santa Fe, to where he was brought over after his human companion could no longer care for him, he passed away due to respiratory failure.
The yellow and white tabby managed to make a lasting impression after only one TV appearance, who knows why, unlike millions of fat animals and people we see everyday. He was not even the fattest either, a dubious honor bestowed to an Australian feline who died years ago. That was the last time the Guinness Book of Records accepted entries in this category.
A wise decision indeed, if at least to prevent unethical owners from deliberately overfeeding their pets. We’re not so sure about our own decision, of even making a post out of this non-event. But since people seem to have taken a liking of Meow, which is reflected in the outpouring of grief and support directed at the shelter where he lived his last days, we said, let’s go for it.
Even if we have to scratch the surface of, heaven forbid, the paranormal.
But if you are among those who consider The Shinning the best movie made out of King’s work, a sentiment not shared by the novel’s own author, then you too may be having a feeling of Deja Vu right now Continue reading