The Influence of Stanley Kubrick

     Sometimes I feel like Icarus flying higher and higher as I seek to grasp that which I desire most before realizing somethings will always be out of reach. Such is the nature of life. Way back when I discussed my film influences, I somehow manged to leave Stanley Kubrick out of the mix. With films like Full Metal Jacket, The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, and, of course, 2001: A Space Odyssey, it’s hard to imagine a world where Kubrick hasn’t influenced aspiring filmmakers and writers alike.

     To me, Kubrick is Icarus. He wasn’t afraid to spread his wings and fly high. You can definitely see his willingness to push the limits of filmmaking in his film 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s one of those films that makes you think. Nowadays that’s quite a rarity. 2001: A Space Odyssey also seems to be something of a prerequisite for watching Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. The references and allusions just make more sense if you go into Interstellar with a working knowledge of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

     Then of course, you have A Clockwork Orange which pushes more than just the limits of filmmaking. For me, though, Kubrick’s best works are some of his older films like Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb and The Killing. It was fun to watch Kubrick take on satire in Dr. Strangelove. And who can forget the iconic scene where Major Kong rides the bomb? The Killing, on the other hand, strikes a more serious tone and helped to pave the way for so many other “one last heist” films. Then there’s that memorable last line: “What’s the difference?”.

     When it comes to writing, I’ve aspired to follow what I see to be Kubrick’s approach: Don’t be afraid to spread your wings and fly high. Have I been successful at it, or have I flown too close to the sun and melted my wings? The answer to that question isn’t up to me. That being the case, I don’t worry about it. I just keep writing. In the end, I suppose that is all that I can do. I’ll leave it up to the readers to decide if I have scorched my wings or not.

     So, thank you Stanley Kubrick. You inspired me. Now it’s time for me to get back to writing. I need to stretch out my wings and get ready to spread them wide. Just in case, though, I suppose it wouldn’t be a bad idea to grab a parachute while I’m at it…

vintage old film

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8 thoughts on “The Influence of Stanley Kubrick

  1. I love Kubrick’s films, and the documentaries people make studying his films, although some are a bit far fetched. I loved reading 2001 the novel as well. Write on good sir, let us enjoy your enigmatic nature.

    1. Glad to hear that you love Kubrick’s films and those documentaries. The far fetched documentaries are interesting and fun to watch as long as you don’t take them too seriously. That’s usually not a problem for me as there isn’t much of anything that I take too seriously.

      1. When the documentaries make illogical leaps of thought and then build on that, that is when I get frustrated. A thought provoking chap though and well worth watching all his films again in a quality binge.

  2. Indeed Kubrick was to me and with my limited knowledge of the art of filmmaking – the greatest. I agree ‘Dr Strangelove was a masterpiece – but so was The Shining – which apparently displeased Stephen King – and so was Eyes Wide Shut. The only ones I have reservations about were Barry Lyndon and Spartacus. Ryan O’Neil was wooden in Barry Lyndon – and the brilliant camerawork couldn’t save it. Kubrick had to try and direct Kirk Douglas in Spartacus. Douglas may have helped finance the fiasco and could not get along with Kubrick – or was it the other way around? Not surprising because the romantic heroic acting style of Douglas would have been much too stereotyped for Kubrick. Then there is the film of the moon landing that Nixon arranged with Kubrick – which bothers me. Why would Kubrick agree to deceive the people – not only of America but all over the world? So Kubrick is something of an enigma. He died shortly after finishing Eyes Wide Shut. Some say he was assassinated.

    1. You make some good points. We’ll probably never know the whole truth behind all of the rumors, speculation, and conspiracy theories. In the end, I think Kubrick was an interesting person and a great film maker. Oh yeah, and he’s fun to talk about too….

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