Kubrick and his team protected him from the scary stuff, Lloyd says. In one scene, where Wendy runs screaming through the hotel with Danny in her arms, Duvall carried a lifesize doll. “I specifically remember I was banned from the set for the entire time Scatman Crothers was being axed,” he says laughing. There is something nice and Tom Hanks-y about his measured tone and efforts not to say anything mean or controversial.
I read that he accidentally walked in on Jack Nicholson filming “Here’s Johnny!” (voted the scariest scene movie history a few years ago). Is that true? “Yes, but not the actual ‘Here’s Johnny’ bit. Jack was out in the hallway with the axe. He was having fun and goofing off. I think it was a plastic axe he had. Both my parents were there and we were laughing. That wasn’t scary.”
[kubrick] Forever and Ever and Ever: Uncanny Doubles in ‘The Shining’ … A look at how Kubrick heightened a sense of the Uncanny in the Shining … ‘Robert Kolker writes that the film also features many instances of symmetrical framing. He notes that each side of the frame is doubled and perfectly composed, and therefore any horrific event happening within the frame seems even more out of place and strange. The symmetrical shots are almost too perfect, which can be uncanny and off-putting in itself. Kolker cites the red bathroom as an example of a symmetrically framed scene, with its rows of white urinals and sinks lining either side of the wall and the long mirrors running along the wall. The bathroom is symmetrical, yet Jack and Grady discuss violent, murderous plans in the middle of the room, throwing the symmetry off balance and into uncanny space.’
[movies] An electrician remembers: I worked with Jack Nicholson and Stanley Kubrick … ‘It was a small crew and he used us for bit parts. Because they rarely shoot leading artists when you can’t see their face, he said to me: “You look like Jack – put on the jeans and boots.” In the film, when a semi-conscious Jack is dragged into the food store, those are my legs on screen. He asked me to be the guy in a bear suit with his arse hanging out and his head in a man’s lap at the end. But I said: “No, mate, I ain’t having that.” Could you imagine? Everyone at home saying: “That’s Bobby Tanswell.” Nope, sorry.’
[kubrick] There’s Something About Stanley: Kubrick’s Strange Science Of Obsession … the search for meaning in Stanley Kubrick’s films… ‘What if the most meaningful clue is not in anything that the Kubraphiles are proposing, but in the fact that they are looking, and what if Kubrick intended this to happen? Allowing that it was more than just the deluded bid for immortality of a cosmically inflated ego, what might the end game be here? As I suspect every good Zen master will tell you, the nature of such a many-layered puzzle is that it’s not the answer but the experience of finding it that leads to understanding.’
[life] Stanley Kubrick: ‘The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death — however mutable man may be able to make them — our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.’ [via Letters of Note]
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July 28, 2015
[movies] 2001 A Space Odyssey: Unwrapping the Slit Scan sequences … ‘While watching Kubrick’s “2001 A Space Odyssey”, I thought it would be fun to write some software to unravel the slit scan artwork in the psychedelic sequences of 2001, to see what they were.The technique used to unravel the sequences involved using an SGI’s real time video hardware, with a hacked version of ‘videoin.c’ (from the SGI example programs) to accumulate scanlines from the DVD and concatenate them back into the original artwork. So as the film played, the program ran, unrolling the scanlines in realtime…’
[kubrick] Rejected ‘The Shining’ Poster Designs From Saul Bass, With Stanley Kubrick’s Notes … fascintaing look at Kubrick’s process … ‘While the final result is the iconic, yellow one-sheet, there were a number of iterations, and we can now see the rejected ones. Drawing from different aspects of the film, including the maze, the hotel, and the family unit, there’s some striking imagery, but we can see why Kubrick went with the one he did.’
[kubrick] The 10 Most Outrageous Theories About What The Shining Really Means … ‘Stuart Ullman’s Paper Tray is Trying to Have Sex with the Audience – Top-notch conspiracy hunter Jay Weidner has many, many theories about the work of Kubrick (and other things) but some of the more eye-popping are his thoughts about how the director used the subliminal messaging of advertisers in his films. To wit: In the scene where Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) meets Stuart Ullman (Barry Nelson) in his office and, Weidner says in 237, his hips line-up perfectly with his paper try making it look like an erection.’
[kubrick] Stanley Kubrick’s Keys To The Shining … going far too deep on Kubrick’s The Shining and a conspiracy / cover-up by NASA … ‘Stanley Kubrick embedded the Narrative of a Murder in this Film. I believe it was His wish that it be found – by his Audience. I’m motivated to share this Narrative here, because ultimately it contains information that is profoundly pertinent – to All of Us.’
[comics] In The Comic-Book Pages Of 2001, Two Sorts Of Genius Collided … comparing and contrasting Stanley Kubrick and Jack Kirby’s versions of 2001: A Space Odyssey … ‘The 2001 comic also caught Kirby at a low creative ebb. He’d poured a lot of himself into his Fourth World saga for DC, without much to show for it, and by the time he returned to Marvel, Kirby was back to thinking of himself as a hired gun, sweating to fill as many pages as his bosses required, governed by the mentality of a boy who grew up in a ghetto during the Depression. Where Kubrick was a meticulous planner, taking years to develop a project and fussing over every detail, Kirby was a disorganized workaholic, who according to his wife Roz would accidentally throw away about half the good ideas he scrawled onto notepaper and napkins, and who felt like he was on the verge of destitution if he didn’t generate at least 20 pages a week.’
[lego] How to build a Lego Monolith Anomaly … a brief guide to building the Monolith from 2001 … ‘A scaled down Lego Monolith Anomaly (LMA) would be 7 1/2 units high but there are no 1/2 height pieces. Flat Lego pieces are 1/3 height. I find coupling 7 standard 1×4 bricks with 2 flat 1×4 pieces to be the most geometrically sound.’
[movies] What Stanley Kubrick got wrong about “The Shining” … a look at Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick’s different approaches The Shining … ‘The two men represent diametrically opposed approaches to creating narrative art. One is an aesthete and the other is a humanist. Kubrick was a consummate and famously meticulous stylist; King’s prose is workmanly and his novels can have a shambolic bagginess. The great theme of King’s fiction is the capacity of the average person — especially working-class or similarly humble men and women — both for evil and for heroism. Although there’s almost always a battle against a supernatural antagonist in King’s books, the best of his novels hinge on the protagonists’ struggles with themselves. In “Doctor Sleep,” it is just as valiant for Danny Torrance — the psychic child character in “The Shining,” now grown up — to stay sober as it is for him to challenge the novel’s Big Bad.’
[chess] Playing Chess With Kubrick… Jeremy Bernstein reminisces about meeting and playing chess with Stanley Kubrick … ‘The next day Clarke called to say that I was expected that afternoon at Kubrick’s apartment on Central Park West. I had never met a movie mogul and had no idea what to expect. But as soon as Kubrick opened the door I felt an immediate kindred spirit. He looked and acted like every obsessive theoretical physicist I have ever known. His obsession at that moment was whether or not anything could go faster than the speed of light. I explained to him that according to the theory of relativity no information bearing signal could go faster. We conversed like that for about an hour when I looked at my watch and realized I had to go. “Why?” he asked, seeing no reason why a conversation that he was finding interesting should stop.’
[shining] This is Uncanny: Number-play in Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ … ‘If one needs further proof of Kubrick’s fascination with number play, the title page of his copy of Stephen King’s novel of The Shining is filled with Kubrick’s own handwriting as he works out creative ways to use the number 217. Room 217 was the number of the dead woman’s room in the novel, which Kubrick changed at the request of the Timberline Hotel management. His selection of 237 was not without forethought.’
[shining] The Top 5 Wacky Theories About ‘The Shining’ in New Frontiers Doc ‘Room 237’ … some perfectly reasonable theories about The Shining from a new documentary about Kubrick’s movie … ‘One of the more spectacular theories in the movie: That Kubrick was hired by the American government to fake the Apollo moon landing, and “The Shining” is his way of explaining himself. An interviewee says that owning “The Shining” on Blu-ray allows one to see enough detail to reach this conclusion. Jack Torrance’s constant bickering with his wife about his job responsibilities voice Kubrick’s own justification for why he had to comply with government orders.’
Q: You are a person who uses his rationality, who enjoys understanding things, but in 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Shining you demonstrate the limits of intellectual knowledge. Is this an acknowledgement of what William James called the unexplained residues of human experience?
A: Obviously, science-fiction and the supernatural bring you very quickly to the limits of knowledge and rational explanation. But from a dramatic point of view, you must ask yourself: ‘If all of this were unquestionably true, how would it really happen?’ You can’t go much further than that. I like the regions of fantasy where reason is used primarily to undermine incredulity. Reason can take you to the border of these areas, but from there on you can be guided only by your imagination. I think we strain at the limits of reason and enjoy the temporary sense of freedom which we gain by such exercises of our imagination.
[movies] Ask Metafilter On The Shining … ‘In my opinion the thing that really makes the movie is the payoff of the scene where Shelly Duvall is backing up on the stairs while Jack Nicholson terrorizes her, and she slowly, bravely and desperately crosses over from trying to keep the reality of the situation at uncomfortable arm’s length (by appeasing him when he gets scary and/or distant), to finally giving in to it and accepting it, fighting back as best as she can, even if she might not win. While the book is a heartbreaking story of a family falling apart, that scene in the film portrays one person’s descent into madness and evil, and another person’s defeated but brave decision to slowly but steadily escape from it so brilliantly. It’s painful and captivating to watch.’
[kubrick] Stanley Kubrick Interviewed In Rolling Stone … On dressing the set of Full Metal Jacket: ‘To make that kind of three-dimensional rubble, you’d have to have everything done by plasterers, modeled, and you couldn’t build that if you spent $80 million and had five years to do it. You couldn’t duplicate, oh, all those twisted bits of reinforcement. And to make rubble, you’d have to go find some real rubble and copy it. It’s the only way. If you’re going to make a tree, for instance, you have to copy a real tree. No one can “make up” a tree, because every tree has an inherent logic in the way it branches. And I’ve discovered that no one can make up a rock. I found that out in Paths of Glory. We had to copy rocks, but every rock also has an inherent logic you’re not aware of until you see a fake rock. Every detail looks right, but something’s wrong. So we had real rubble. We brought in palm trees from Spain and a hundred thousand plastic tropical plants from Hong Kong. We did little things, details people don’t notice right away, that add to the illusion. All in all, a tremendous set dressing and rubble job.’ [via Daring Fireball]
What a shame, I remark, that he never got to work with Stanley Kubrick, the king of the neverending takes. And with that, Reeves is off and running.
“I would’ve been his wet dream!” he enthuses. “After take 400, Kubrick would’ve been, [adopts grizzled Brooklyn accent] ‘All right, cut!’ and I’d be, like, ‘Stanley, can I do one more?’ ‘Whaaat?’ ‘Look, I know I’m just drinking this glass of water, but I think I can find another side to this. Let’s just do one more, OK?’ ‘Arrrgh, OK, Reeves.’ You know what? I would’ve broken Kubrick. ‘Please, sir, can I have some more?’ ‘Take 600. All you gotta do is walk across the road.’ ‘Come on, Stanley, one more!'”
From the very outset of work on the film we all discussed means of photographically depicting an extraterrestrial creature in a manner that would be as mind-boggling as the being itself. And it soon became apparent that you cannot imagine the unimaginable. All you can do is try to represent it in an artistic manner that will convey something of its quality. That’s why we settled on the black monolith — which is, of course, in itself something of a Jungian archetype, and also a pretty fair example of “minimal art.”
‘He went to the computer that he was using to write the script. He typed, marked, cut, pasted, while I faked interest. When he was finished with the routine, Christiane phoned to say that dinner was ready. As we left, I reminded him that he hadn’t turned the computers off.
“They like to be left on,” he said ironically, factually, tenderly.
[kubrick] Don’t Open The Elevator … Metafilter discuss the trailer for The Shining … ‘Now I’m imagining the reverse shot, which would be the blood patiently sitting in the elevator, listening to Elevator music, until there’s a *ping* and the doors open and it rushes out.’
[movies] Is Christopher Nolan the new Stanley Kubrick? … ‘Kubrick made films about paedophilia, military justice, atomic obliteration, urban violence and the Vietnam war; his emigration to England was partly fuelled by the desire to avoid controlling Hollywood types. Nolan is – at present, anyhow – a confirmed establishment figure; nothing he’s done has caused the smallest ripple of disquiet. This may change, but with another Batman film in the works I can’t see it happening just yet.’
[kubrick] Scorsese on Kubrick … Martin Scorcese on Stanley Kubrick, Full Metal Jacket, Eyes Wide Shut and the Shining … ‘I also love the visions—the maze, the elevator, Nicholson bouncing a rubber ball across the vast expanses of the hotel lobby to kill time, the enormous golden ballroom, the red Formica bathroom in which Nicholson “meets” the butler. And, perhaps most frightening of all, the vision of an ordinary American family, beautifully acted, who’ve wandered into deep psychic waters.’
[conspiracy] Secrets of The Shining … a totally loopy conspiracy theory involving Stanley Kubrick and the Shining … ‘The truth is that The Shining is the story of how Stanley Kubrick cut a deal with the U.S. Government to fake the Apollo moon landings.’ [via Metafilter]
[rEDrUM] Finally Published: All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy by Jack Torrence … you can buy a copy at blurb.com: ‘If it’s nearly impossible to read, let us take a moment to consider how difficult it must have been to write. One is forced to consider the author, heroically pitting himself against the Sisyphusean sentence. It’s that metatextual struggle of Man vs. Typewriter that gives this book its spellbinding power’
[movies] The letters of Stanley Kubrick … Kubrick on Full Metal Jacket: ‘My intention was not to relish violence for its own sake but to emphasise the reality of both the training process undergone by the recruits and the war situation in which they found themselves. A crucial aspect of this process is the use of language to dehumanise the young men. This had to be presented in a totally truthful way otherwise I would have compromised the reality of the story. I make no apology for taking such an approach. Full Metal Jacket offers no easy moral or political answers. It is not intended to be either pro-war or anti-war. It is concerned with the way things are.’