Born in New York City in 1928, Kubrick became interested in photography in high school and at 17 got a job as a staff photographer for Look magazine.
An assignment to cover a boxing match inspired him to make The Day of the Fight, a documentary short (1951) that was bought by a news service, and he was launched. He directed his first five feature films he was living in the United States. The next eight were produced when he was living in Britain. These 13 feature films explore the Dark Side of human existence–war, murder, horror, pederasty, cults.
- Fear and Desire (1953) was his first feature-length movie, dealing with war. An indie movie, it got little attention outside New York City, where it was praised.
- Killer’s Kiss (1955) and
- The Killing (1956) brought him Hollywood interest.
- Paths of Glory (1957) starred Kirk Douglas. It was about military injustice in the French army during World War I.
- Spartacus (1960) was another Douglas movie, about the slave rebellion led by the Roman slave Spartacus in 73 B.C. The film was a hit and won four Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography, which was attributed to Russell Metty but was largely Kubrick’s work.
- Lolita (1962) was based on the novel by Vladimir Nabokov. By this time Kubrick had moved to the UK and lived in Hertfordshire near his studio.
- Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was another success. Starring Peter Sellers and George C. Scott, it made fun of the nuclear arms race. It earned Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor.
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) was co-written with English writer Arthur C. Clarke.It is considered by many to be the greatest sci-fi film ever made. It won a Best Visual Effects Academy Award.
- A Clockwork Orange (1971) was a social commentary set in the near future. The U.S. rating was X and the UK banned it. However, it collected four Oscar nominations including Best Picture.
- Barry Lyndon (1975) was a picturesque movie based on the 19th-century novel by William Thackeray. Kubrick took a record 300 days to shoot the film.
- The Shining (1980), starring Jack Nicholson as the caretaker of a mountain resort who goes insane, was a horror masterpiece. Jack Nicholson said in an interview that his acting for this movie was helped by his having taken experimental drugs.
- Full Metal Jacket (1987) covered the Vietnam War and had an anti-war theme. It was popular with cinemagoers and critics.
- Eyes Wide Shut (1999) was a puzzling thriller about a monkish sex cult, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Kubrick died at 70 after turning in his final cut of the film.
I met Stanley Kubrick in England in the 1980s. I remember him looking like he does in the photo at top. His wife was a member of a group of painters in Hertfordshire that included my sister Brigid and I attended a party that he was at. Kubrick was extremely intense and seemed to be looking for intensity in return. I was surely a disappointment.