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Paperback Stanley Kubrick: A Biography Book

ISBN: 0786704853

ISBN13: 9780786704859

Stanley Kubrick: A Biography

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Book Overview

For decades, the films of Stanley Kubrick have staked out a claim at the core of the cultural landscape. In the 1950s he was one of the few American filmmakers, with Paths of Glory, to achieve the... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings


Stanley Kubrick was an enigma of a man. Because of the secrecy that shrouded his life, there is much that fans of his work may never know. John Baxter's work is gives insight mostly into Kubrick's films and their creation. Baxter's first two chapters seem irrelevant and tedious in the scope of the book. They only serve to allow Baxter to praise Kubrick's work. After these chapters, we are introduced to Stanley's growth and development in films. Kubrick's early films which he thought were bad in hindsight, show his growth and experimentation. Going through his other films, I found the chapters which discussed "A Clockwork Orange" and "2001" to be the best presented. This is adventageous because these are his best loved films.I believe that it was merciful for "Eyes Wide Shut" to be given so little coverage since Kubrick never truly was able to put his final stamp on the film. He tinkered with work often up until days before its release. Aside from his horrid choice of actors, his death left this work unfinished.Kubrick's idiosincrisies, including his fear of cars, flying, and distrust for machines, are discussed in the book. While they may seem irrevelant, these discussions help us to know who Kubrick was. The discussions are no more irrelevant than some sections of the book which talk about events regarding his movies that have little to do with the overall picture. Also, I felt it was unnecessary to go into discussion of every script he rejected. Some ideas he rejected to quickly to be important enough to mention. I was grateful that Baxter mentioned "Artificial Intelligence", being developed by Kubrick. Fans are curious as to how his final script may have looked. I am certain that it would have been better than Speilberg's.

Readable, enjoyable--not terribly deep

I found Baxter's book an enjoyable read, lively and somewhat informative, though apparently not the work of awesome scholarship that Lubrutto's book is. I haven't read that tome yet, but will soon, fascinated as I am by all things Kubrick. I didn't have the reaction that others have had concerning Baxter's feelings toward Kubrick. As far as I could tell, he seemed to have an appropriate level of respect. Baxter is obviously not a film scholar or someone too well versed in the technical side of filmmaking, but he keeps the book moving along briskly. This certainly a good start-up for someone new to Kubrick's films.

parts of a puzzle

There's no doubt somewhere down the line, someone might write the definitive biography of the great film maker, Stanley Kubrick. Mr Baxter's book isn't quite it, just as several other Kubrick bios aren't either. Kubrick was an enigma and writing about not just an enigma but an intensely private person is always a problem. Mr Baxter's book looks at Kubrick's life and film's ina an entertaing and readable fashion without getting much past the surface.Combined with several other books on Kubrick (most notably the out of print book by Michel Ciment)John Baxter's book compiles some of the most famous Kubrick "stories" and some lesser-known ones. Given the author's long-standing credentials as a film historian as well as popular biographer of film identities, it would have made the book a more valuable addition to film culture had Mr Baxter included some more analysis of the films themselves. If this review seems a little at odds with a four star rating it's because ANY book which contributes in any way to help understand the artist who created a small but extraordinary body of work is worthy of that.

A Tough Flat Literate Knowing English Labor Viewpoint

This guy, Mr. Baxter, sounds to me like a working-class stiff damned proud of and uneager to let go of the advantages unions brought to English labor - appropriate because Kubrick made his most famous films in England with English labor, rarely going on location, scorning 9-5 hours as imposed by unions. Baxter has presented both the Kubrick and the union viewpoints, however, and allows you the reader to make up your own mind about them. Baxter also surprised me by saying that both Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, one of Kubrick's collaborators in 2001: A Space Odyssey, had streaks of homo-eroticism in their characters and in their work. He called 2001 the sort of film one would expect from this tendency: "sleek, sexless, preoccupied with style." It is plainly another look at a film that floored me when I first saw it almost thirty years ago and probably gave me feelings of awe and gratitude, awe at the images and music and gratitude for the care so carefully taken, feelings that I would say are part and parcel of religious attitudes. Baxter has, by the way, much more admiring things to say about the film than that one revelation. Baxter's further revelations made me wonder, though, if I would ever want to be this man -- as an example, Kubrick's overpowering desire to maintain quality control of all, and I mean all, of the theaters in which his films were shown. Again, Baxter presents this attitude and then presents the example of the opposite attitude, through Federico Fellini. Between the release of Kubrick's Barry Lyndon in 1974 and the completion of Kubrick's The Shining in 1980, Fellini made three films -- Casanova, Prova d'orchestra, and La Città delle donne. In short, Baxter is trying as much as possible to present choices and to refrain as much as possible from taking them away through abject worship. But he does know how to express admiration, others' when he does not express his own. He ends the first chapter of his book with the phrase "Stanley's **good**," the end of a solliloquy in a Jack Nicholson interview. He ends the book itself in admiration of Kubrick's consistency, of his choice to pioneer the path of the lone popular artist, long before the computer and entertainment industries threw several of them up to the headlines for our admiration. And he frequently lets Kubrick speak for himself. He presents Kubrick's own reason, and in Kubrick's own words, for his isolation from Hollywood - the need to escape an unnecessary insecurity he felt was wrapped up, part and parcel, with involvement in Hollywood's movie industry. For someone like me, who knows nothing about Kubrick and is suddenly, abjectly on fire to hear his story due to the end of it with his death, Baxter's book is an invitation to consider the several worlds he inhabited and a sample of the people within them.

informative and very interesting

This book is greatly researched, and an extremely interesting read. For all of Baxter's effort's though, the man Kubrick remains an enigma, as he has to all authors, journalists and the general public. Insight is offered however into his mind by Baxter's excellent 'essay' writing ability, and from quotes by those who have worked with stanley.Because Stanley Kubrick is such an intelluctual, this book seems to come under flak becasue it is not written in this style. Shame on Baxter for trying to broaden public knowledge on Kubrik! How dare he not use big words all the time! I have read 3 books on Kubrick, and while this is not the best, it is still a good read.Most importantly though, is it shows Kubrick for what he really is, modern cinema's greatest intellectual, mastermind, and genius. A sad, black day for the cinema world with his passing.
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