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Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick


Director, Producer, Screenwriter, Editor,  Cinematographer
Date of Birth: July 26th, 1928
Place of Birth: Bronx, New York, USA
Date of Death: March 7th, 1999
Personal quote: I would not think of quarreling with your interpretation nor offering any other, as I have found it always the best policy to allow the film to speak for itself.

“You don’t have to be a nice person to be extremely talented.  You can be a shit and be talented and, conversely, you can be the nicest guy in the world and not have any talent.  Stanley Kubrick is a talented shit,” quipped Kirk Douglas after working on Spartacus with Stanley Kubrick as the director. 

Stanley Kubrick butted heads with many well-respected people in Hollywood and he always demanded respect when he was on the set. Through his unique directing style and groundbreaking movies, Kubrick managed to separate his works from “typical” Hollywood films. As a result, the way audiences think and interpret movies has been changed forever.  Stanley Kubrick truly is a legend that will never be a forgotten name in the film industry.

Stanley Kubrick was born in the borough of Manhattan at 307 Second Avenue in Lying-In Hospital on Thursday, July 26, 1928.  At the time Stanley’s father, Jacques, and mother, Gertrude, resided at 2160 Clinton Avenue, a six-story brick apartment building.   Jacques was a local doctor and therefore the family was well off and lived in several nice places in New York. Stanley had one sibling, Barbara Mary, who was born on May 21, 1934.

His parents could tell their son was not utilizing his full potential.

Stanley started his schooling in September of 1934 at the local public school, P.S. 3.  Throughout his years in grammar school and up through high school Stanley was absent quite a bit from school, and in the spring of 1945 he was reported to the attendance bureau for absenteeism.  His parents could tell their son was not utilizing his full potential.  

After trying home school for a session and then realizing their son was getting U’s (Unsatisfactory) in several different courses (including Personality, Works and Plays Well with Others, Completes Work, Is Generally Careful, Respects the Rights of Others, and Speaks Clearly), the Kubricks’ decided to send their son out to California to live with his Uncle Martin Perveler. Martin was an entrepreneur who started a chain of pharmacies on the West Coast. Through numerous wise business investments Martin eventually became a multimillionaire.  It’s believed that Dr. Kubrick felt time on the West Coast could do the curious boy some good.  

Stanley came back a year later and returned to his new school P.S. 90 for eighth grade. During this time, he had scored above average on the reading and intelligence tests given out by the New York school system. His parents and the school both saw this mysterious boy as untapped potential. 

To stimulate outside interests, Dr. Kubrick let Stan use his Graflex camera, introduced him to his library of literature and taught him to play chess.  These hobbies would eventually be vital to unlocking the potential this young boy had bottled up inside.  They would stay with him the rest of his life.

Although his attendance at school was still very poor, Stanley never failed to miss a movie at the local theaters.

After moving many times between 1942 and graduation from William Howard Taft High School, Stan met someone in the Grand Concourse who also shared his love for photography.  This someone was Marvin Traub.  With Marvin’s own dark room in his bathroom, it was much easier for these two ambitious boys to pursue their hobby quite regularly.  While most boys at the time belonged to a Social Athletic Club (SAC’s) of some sort, Marvin and Stanley did not.  

Donald Silverman, an outgoing fellow resident of the Grand Concourse had this to say about Stanley. “Stanley was a very private person.  He wasn’t invited to play stickball with us.  He wasn’t invited to play roller hockey with us.  He may not have wanted to, but he was so private that we never asked him.  It was a very close-knit neighborhood.  The fellas grew up on the Concourse.  Everybody knew everybody else’s parents…Stanley and Marvin were really never in the group that I was in.  I was friendly with Marvin Traub and Stanley Kubrick-I crossed boundaries…Marvin’s keen interest in photography captivated Kubrick’s interest.” 

At William Howard Taft High School Stanley was a member of the band and the photography club where he was assigned to take pictures of sporting events and school sponsored events for the school magazine.  Although his attendance at school was still very poor, Stanley never failed to miss a movie at the local theaters. He would go to the Loew’s Paradise and RKO Fordham twice a week to see double features. 

Kubrick told Bernard Weinraub of the New York Times that watching poorly made films sparked his interests. He stated “One of the things of seeing run-of-the-mill Hollywood films eight times a week, was that many of them were so bad.  Without even beginning to understand what the problems of making films were, I was taken with the impression that I could not do a film any worse than the ones I was seeing.  I was seeing, I also felt I could, in fact, do them a lot better.”

The youngster captured a great set of photos that seemed to symbolize the nation’s feeling of despair and sold the photos to Look magazine for twenty dollars.

Stanley Kubrick was also a member of his school’s band (called the Taft Assembly), in the percussion section.  With this love he joined a few other band members and formed the Taft Swing Band.  It was there that Stan befriends Robert M. Sandelman.  Stanley also started to explore his artistic side by enrolling (in February of 1943) in a Saturday morning art class at the Art Students League of New York and watercolorist class (in high school) taught by Anne Goldthwaite.

In Stanley’s senior year he continued to take photographs on a regular basis.  After the death of the President FDR, Stanley happened to stumble upon a chance encounter with a newspaper salesman (holding a paper with the news of the tragedy) who looked quite distraught.  The ever-ambitious youngster took full advantage of the opportunity and captured a great set of photos that seemed to symbolize the nation’s feeling of despair.  He sold the photos to Look magazine for twenty-five dollars.  He continued to take photos for the magazine the rest of his senior year and was published quite frequently.  This opportunity would end up jump-starting his artistic inhibitions and provide a job for Stanley after high school.

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