Introduction to S.K
Stanly Kubricks reign as a director was well lived, even though most critics disapproved his work his public audience always respected his films as works of art. I myself have greatly enjoyed his films, examples being full metal jacket, the shining and 2001 a space odysee. Kubrick liked to get every detail correct in his films and spent hours on set making sure the scenes themselves were symmetrical and well designed. I suspect from his films he likes to keep historically accurate as I learned during the SK exhibition we went to at UAL. We were shown that most of the boxes in the archive held SK research as he would send his assistants to thousands of locations to take as many pictures as possible. The costumes he used for Barry Lindon were rentals as the clothing was so well made and authentic there was no other way. He researched old paintings to see what different forms of power wore in the time his film was set and had books with these photos and small cut outs of the materials next to them.
Dr. Strangelove was a dark comedy expressing what would happen if an atomic bomb was set off during the war. Dr. Strangelove himself (played by Peter Seller) was an ex Nazi as you see him saluting in a comedic fashion when he talks about saving certain people within the human race. Just from these small actions the audience can depict so much of his past and clue together everything else to see how he’s involved. This actor also had two other rolls within the film, the Group Captain Lionel Mandrake and President Merkin Muffley. He played these three characters as SK was impressed on Sellers’s performance in which his single character assumes a number of identities in his film Lolita.
I have always loved how Kubrick can pack so much detail into the small actions of his characters to show his audience their previous backstory and make them wonder what is going on inside their minds.
Part of the Mise En Scene is that the film is in black and white. I feel that if the film was in colour it would not have had the same effect as it makes it feel that it was set in the past and the lack of colour helps you focus on the scene itself instead of being lost in the colours of the scenes. Having colour, as well as pulling focus from the scene, would have taken authenticity from the film as well.
In my opinion this film is very well made even though Stephen King (the writer of the novel) disapproved of the film. Every scene served a magnificent purpose of symmetry and key points to the psychological state of all of the characters. Jack Nicholson played a truly amazing roll and I have also loved his amazing acting skills since I first watched The Shining. He truly took insanity to a whole new level and made SK proud to have chosen him for his film although I wish I could have said the same for the actress for the mother of the film Shelly Duvall. I have always disliked her as an actress and her performance in The Shining was shockingly bad in my opinion. She always back chatted SK when he asked for a better performance from her and she always found some excuse to not do her best whilst filming the scenes. On a brighter note the symmetry is very well placed throughout this film, here are some examples;
He has always used symmetry in all of his movies as this was very important for him. It portrayed style and art within movies and not just slapping some shots and cuts together like a rookie director as he took great pride in his work (because as a perfectionist this was very important to him). Here are some examples from 2001: A Space Odysee and A Clockwork Orange.