Without a doubt, one of the most celebrated filmmakers of his generation – and perhaps of all time was Stanley Kubrick. He was an auteur in every sense of the word and was responsible for a long list of some of the greatest films ever made. From early films such as Dr. Strangelove to later films such as Eyes Wide Shut, he made masterpiece after masterpiece.
In fact, Eyes Wide Shut was considered to be his magnum opus and even he said it was his best achievement in the cinema.
So perhaps it’s fitting that this was to be his last film as he died shortly after its completion.
Or perhaps, there’s a darker story as to why this became his final film…
Join FactsVerse to learn about Stanley Kburick’s life and career, the making of Eyes Wide Shut, and how his final interview his death was a FRAUD…
STANLEY KUBRICK’S EARLY LIFE AND CAREER
Stanley Kubrick was born on July 26, 1928, in New York City.
His father was physician, and this helped the Kubrick family live a rather well-off live – certainly they lived more comfortably than most of his peers and neighbors.
He was a shy child and was rather introverted. He liked his comfort and became obsessive with being in control of his environment – something that he would carry with him for the rest of his life – especially while working on a film set.
As a young teenager, he developed an interest in photography and would spend most of his time snapping pictures and developing them. He soon decided to pursue a career in photography and he eventually became one of the foremost photographers for LIFE Magazine.
He developed a reputation as an astute photographer and loved working in the medium. He had an eye for creating frames and understood how to capture emotions, moods, colors, and much more through photography.
Nevertheless, he eventually realized that photography had its limits and that he couldn’t fully express himself or fulfill his artistic desires with a still camera. He had to eventually graduate to a movie camera.
As he was approaching his twenties, he decided that he needed to make the switch to work in cinema. He began his film career in 1951 and directed the documentary short films Flying Padre and Day of the Fight.
His first major film was in 1955 when he made the thriller film Killer’s Kiss for which he wrote the story. The film was a hit and his career as a filmmaker was now solidified.
STANLEY KUBRICK’S FILMS
Stanley Kubrick’s first masterpiece was arguably the 1956 The Killing. This was a suspense film that followed a group of criminals getting together and planning to rob money from a horse race track. The film showed his skill with cinematography and his ability to bring out some of the best performances from his actors – as this was considered to be one of Sterling Hayden’s finest performances.
The Killing was followed up with two back-to-back hits starring Kirk Douglas. Paths of Glory is now considered to be one of the best war films made in the USA and Spartacus is a great historical epic. Both these films are also lauded for their cinematography and excellent acting.
In 1962, Stanley Kubrick really decided to not only make a great film but also make the audiences uncomfortable – which would define much of his career going forward. He made an adaptation of the novel Lolita. This film was about a university professor attracted to his young student.
Needless to say, the film was and still is controversial.
But Stanley Kubrick, for whatever reason, wasn’t afraid of controversy. By the time he made Lolita he realized that cinema had the power to entertain but also to engage and even to disturb. He wanted to do this with all of his films.
Lolita was followed up with Dr. Strangelove – a fantastic dark comedy film about the horrors of war and the powerful people who cause nations to turn against each other. The film is still a masterpiece today and is just as poignant as its ever been. The fact that he made a war film that was also a comedy might seem commonplace today but it was truly one of a kind back in 1964.
In 1968, one year before Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon Stanley Kubrick made 2001: A Space Odyssey.
This film is still considered a landmark in cinema history and though it was made over 50 years ago it seems just as modern as ever. Or perhaps, it still seems futuristic. It was one of the early films to explore our relation with Artificial Intelligence and made us look deeper into human evolution. Stanley Kubrick wasn’t afraid to push buttons and make his audience think while they were being entertained.
This film, though haunting at times, was one that the whole family would watch together. His next film brought discomfort to many adults and was certainly off-limits to children. A Clockwork Orange was an adaptation of Antony Burgess’s novel and is perhaps one of the few examples of a film being superior than the novel.
It was a film that showed a young man addicted to “ultra-violence” and explored how we as a culture were growing increasingly desensitized to violence. This has become a common theme today but once again, Stanley was ahead of his time when he made the film. This was perhaps one of his most controversial films – and we’ll get to the controversies a bit later on.
Barry Lyndon was a slower film that showed us 18th century Europe. Since it was a period piece, Stanley had to be heavily involved in the cinematography, acting, decoration, and lighting process. This is considered to be another one of his masterpieces and many critics have stated that the character of Barry Lyndon is an outsider and that Stanley could relate to the character since he himself was often seen as an outsider.
Barry Lyndon was followed up with one of the greatest horror films of all time – The Shining. While Stephen King wasn’t completely pleased with this adaptation of his novel, audiences and critics alike still believe it’s a masterpiece. It’s arguably one of Jack Nicholson’s best performances and even one of Shelley Duval’s greatest performances. It’s a film that’s been discussed for its excellence, hidden messages, as well as Kubrick’s perfectionism – once making Shelley Duvall do a take a total of 127 times!
This film was followed up by another war film. This time, Stanley Kubrick explored the Vietnam War in the film Full Metal Jacket. The film focuses first on military training before showing us the horrors of war. The acting performances are considered to be among the best in any Kubrick film and this is often a great introduction to his work.
Full Metal Jacket was released in 1987. For 12 years, Stanley Kubrick wouldn’t make another film. Until he made Eyes Wide Shut…
But, we’ll get to that in just a moment…
One can’t discuss Stanley Kubrick’s career without discussing the many controversies surrounding his films. But perhaps, of his earlier career no other film was met with controversy that A Clockwork Orange had.
The film was intended to deter people from the sickness of violence. But it supposedly inspired many people to commit violent acts for no reason. The film was one of the early examples of a piece of art being blamed for inspiring violence.
Kubrick was deeply hurt by the acts of violence that were inspired by the film. He requested the film to be banned and even once sued a pub for showcasing the film. It wasn’t until after his death that the film was re-released and released on home video.
While the film is still controversial, the bigger point is that Kubrick wasn’t afraid to explore the darker sides of our world through his films. Those who only look at his films as being provocative are perhaps not understanding the deeper message.
And with that established, we now come to Eyes Wide Shut…
STANLEY KUBRICK’S FINAL INTERVIEW BEFORE DEATH WAS A FRAUD
In late 1999, six months after Stanley Kubrick’s death from a heart attack on March 7, an interview of his was published. In this final interview of his, he discussed his career and his experience of working on Eyes Wide Shut.
Stanley was notoriously private and seldom gave interviews. When he did, he gave interviews only after the film was released. The interview was published on TV Times but there’s a controversy on whether he gave this interview at all. It’s believed that this interview was fabricated though it still remains up in the air.
What we do know is that before his death, Stanley Kubrick stated that Eyes Wide Shut was his greatest cinematic achievement.
And to think, he died shortly after the film was completed but before it was released.
Was this a coincidence?
We won’t give away too much about this masterpiece. But despite the fact that it’s close to 3 hours, the most shocking part of the film is a sequence – around 15-20 minutes long that takes place in a mansion – which was later revealed to belong to very wealthy people. The sequence showed dark rituals that will make you glued to your screen though will also greatly disturb you.
Was Stanley Kubrick trying to expose something horrific about the powerful people who run our world? Perhaps they knew about this and wanted to silence him?
These are the many theories that surround the film and the fact that Stanley Kubrick died after completing this film. Just as many believe his final interview was a fraud but are still asking questions, we expect to keep hearing questions surrounding the deeper reasons as to why Stanley Kubrick made Eyes Wide Shut.
But for now, we’ll just say he was a fan of the novella that it was based upon and just really wanted to make a film adaptation of it! Or perhaps he just wanted to work with Tom Cruise…
So, now let’s hear from you:
Are you a fan of Eyes Wide Shut? Did you know about the controversy about the film and the conspiracy theories surrounding Stanley Kubrick’s death?
And now…brace yourself…here’s what we want to know from you:
Do you believe these conspiracy theories?
Or is it as Hitchcock would say ‘only a movie…’?