Some would say "difficult and remote". Others would say "brilliant, bold, daring but an absolute control freak". The late Stanley Kubrick was labelled many things in his time but no one can doubt the man had a rich talent for realising cinema as a grand, sensory spectacle. This month marks the 12th anniversary since his death and as a tribute to his talents I would like to propose 50 reasons why the filmmaker may have actually been the greatest director of all time. In no particular order;
1. Was a Master Of Almost Every Genre
There's little doubt that Kubrick was a cinematic connoisseur. To prove it he created a classic entry in almost every genre, whether it be a clever comedy satire (Dr Strangelove), a masterful psychological horror (The Shining), innovative sci-fi's (2001: A Space Odyssey & A Clockwork Orange), a beautiful period drama (Barry Lyndon), controversial anti-war movies (Paths of Glory & Full Metal Jacket) an heroic sword and scandal epic (Spartacus) or cleverly constructed crime dramas (The Killing) he mastered them all and with absolute conviction. In terms of the most masterpieces in different genres, he has no equal.
2. Was 'An Actor's Director'
Though often criticised for being a cold, distant - Kubrick was able to nurture indelible performances from a plethora of talent. Whether it was Kirk Douglas' career best turns in Paths of Glory and Spartacus, Jack Nicholson's iconic Jack Torrence in The Shining or Peter Sellers' unforgettable triple incarnations in Dr Strangelove, Kubrick was responsible for extracting powerful performances from them all, while Ryan O'Neal and Malcolm McDowell arguably gave the performances of their career under the helm of Stan.
3. An Endless Pursuer of the Perfect Scene
Kubrick wasn't exactly known as 'one take Stan' and as a result collaborating with the great man was an endurance test in itself (if Shelley Duvall's near breakdown or the post Eyes Wide Shut divorce of Cruise and Kidman is anything to go by), but the master filmmaker's tireless pursuit of perfection resulted in cinematic works of art. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP5w0yE0r6Q
4. The Killing (1956)
This thriller about a near flawless race track robbery thwarted by weakness in character and misjudged relationships is rightly considered a crime classic. The way it meticulously details the timing, planning and execution of the perfect heist with the use of an intricate flashback/flash-forward structure makes it a master class of intrigue and suspense. It is also littered with compelling characterisations, a brilliant lead performance from Sterling Hayden and hard-boil dialogue courtesy of Jim (The Killer Insider Me) Thompson.
Oliver Pfeiffer is a freelance writer who trained at the British Film Institute. He joined OWF in 2007 and now contributes as a Features Writer. Since becoming Obsessed with Film he has interviewed such diverse talents as actors Keanu Reeves, Tobin Bell, Dave Prowse and Naomie Harris, new Hammer Studios Head Simon Oakes and Hollywood filmmakers James Mangold, Scott Derrickson and Uk director Justin Chadwick.
Previously he contributed to dimsum.co.uk and has had other articles published in Empire, Hecklerspray, Se7en Magazine, Pop Matters, The Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle and more recently SciFiNow Magazine and The Guardian. He loves anything directed by Cronenberg, Lynch, Weir, Haneke, Herzog, Kubrick and Hitchcock and always has time for Hammer horror films, Ealing comedies and those twisted Giallo movies.
His blog is: http://sites.google.com/site/oliverpfeiffer102/