Friday, June 29, 2007

Kubrick And Kirby

If ever there was a match made in bizarro world heaven it was the one that occurred in 1976 when Marvel Comics commissioned Jack Kirby to adapt 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY for their new tabloid sized comic book line. The 72 page adaptation was written & penciled by Kirby with inking duties carried out by Frank Giacoia. The almost 2 times larger than the regular comic-book format suited Kirby's outlandish pop style, but this was a great talent merely going through the motions. Kirby's script although based on the final film also drew on Clarke's novel & earlier drafts of the shooting script & pretty much eradicates the story of all it's non-verbal sense of spectacle & wonder.

Kubrick's official view of this travesty isn't on record but considering that upon completion of the film he had all models, sets, blueprints & most physical records of his achievement destroyed in order to prevent MGM re-using his designs ad infinitum, as they had done with FORBIDDEN PLANET, I think it's safe to assume that he wasn't impressed.

The hurt didn't end there, the publication of the Marvel Treasury Special was merely a forerunner to Marvel's ongoing 2001 series which launched in December of that year. Pictured here are the front & back covers of the Treasury Special & several pages of Kirby's original pencils.


In September 2005 Robert Ryang, a 25 year old assistant editor working in Manhattan, entered this SHINING trailer into a contest for assistant editors organized by the New York chapter of the Association of Independent Creative Editors. The contest involved cutting a trailer, for any movie, but into an entirely different genre. Ryang duly won with his inspired THE SHINING as a light, feelgood flick about a writer searching for his muse & a boy lonely for a father.

After posting the trailer on a secret link within his employers website, it wasn't long before the world heard about it. Within two weeks the clip had infiltrated every corner of the web & launched a whole new sub-genre of movie trailer mash-ups.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Philip Castle And Full Metal Jacket

The work of British illustrator Philip Castle became universally known through his design for the poster of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. When Kubrick again approached him to work on FULL METAL JACKET he knew exactly what he wanted, as can be seen by the first image here drawn in Kubrick's own hand. He wanted an image that would be as recognisable in black & white even when reduced to the size of a single column in a newspaper.

The Polaroid is the reference that Castle worked from. Originally he drew the helmet as if it was sitting flat on a surface. It was Kubrick himself who suggested that pitching the helmet at an angle, as if been worn, would be more dynamic & striking.

Castle has said that Kubrick had planned on contacting him for EYES WIDE SHUT just before he died.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Kubrick At The National Film Theatre 1979

It was in October 1979 that the world at large first became aware of Kubrick's self-imposed homeland ban on A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. The NFT (London) requested a print for their Kubrick season in November 1979 & were told that the film was "absolutely withdrawn from distribution". The ban remained in place for another 21 years until the films long overdue re-release in 1999. I'll always remember the day I found the DVD for sale in Tescos alongside those other bete noires of the video age THE EVIL DEAD & STRAW DOGS. It seems that as with buildings & ladies of the night a certain level of respectability is acquired with old age.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Lost Illustrations Of 2001 Part 2

In a post earlier today I mentioned that Kubrick hired two artists to document the making of 2001, the second artist was the then 25 year old Jan Parker. The above illustration was published in the Spring 1966 issue of SIGHT & SOUND to accompany an article by David Robinson on the then concurrently shooting FAHRENHEIT 451 & 2001. The release of the former beat 2001 by a good 17 months.

The picture below first appeared in Piers Bizonys 1994 book 2001 FILMING THE FUTURE. It astounds me that such intriguing & accomplished work has till now been seemingly disregarded.


The Lost Illustrations Of 2001

It's now well known that from 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY onwards Kubrick used frame blow ups from his films rather then on-set still photography to represent his movies. Capturing a still on set can be hindered with a multitude of obstacle's. Generally, unless the photographer has a silent housing for the camera, stills are taken during rehearsals or after the scene has been completed. In all cases this is not ideal, for one thing the stills camera will never be in the exact position that the film lens is in, surely the optimal position for lighting, performance etc. With a director as exacting as Kubrick this could only have been a disappointment to have his films consistently misrepresented in print.

Having successfully tackled the on-set photography on DR. STRANGELOVE with the deft choice of hiring the renowned Weegee for the task, Kubrick insisted on a new level of control & representation on 2001. 29 year old British illustrator Brian Sanders was one of two artists hired in 1966 to cover the shooting of 2001. With so many ground breaking technical achievements on show Kubrick may have felt that the artists pencil could be more easily controled. The work that the two artists produced was eventualy unused & remained unpublished until these few pieces were printed alongside an article in THE INDEPENDENT MAGAZINE on 20th January 2001.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Good Day, Mr. Kubrick

Last year this video appeared on You Tube. Brian Atene's homemade video audition for FULL METAL JACKET is a cripplingly funny display of hubris. It's well worth another viewing. Atene's recently posted retort is just plain strange.

If this was actually Atene could we consider this a happy ending?

Stanley Kubrick's Archive

In 2005 The University of Arts London acquired Stanley Kubrick's archive, which constitutes of approximately 1000 boxes of material. The Archive will be secured in a new purpose-built Archives & Special Collections Centre on the campus of London College of Communication, based at Elephant & Castle in South London. The archive is expected to be open for public viewing from October 2007. You can read the full press release here.

Stanley Kubrick's Grave

Some of the best stories start at the end & work their way back. Kubrick was buried in the grounds of his home, Childwickbury Manor, Hertfordshire, under the shade of his favourite tree. These pictures were taken in 2001.

Welcome To Kubrickonia

First post. Consider Kubrickonia as a place. An alternative archive where those rare & unknown elements associated with the work of Stanley Kubrick can be deposited.

I have a number of posts planned featuring illustrations, photographs, posters, video & memorabilia. When that well occasionally runs dry expect news posts & other titbits gleamed from the world wide web.