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Stanley Kubrick: A Biography Paperback – August 26, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (August 26, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780786704859
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786704859
  • ASIN: 0786704853
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,581,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This book is timed to appear with the release of Kubrick's new film, Eyes Wide Shut, his first movie since Full Metal Jacket in 1987. The decade-long gap between projects is, by the author's reasoning, part of the price Kubrick pays for being himself. Baxter (Fellini, LJ 11/1/94) portrays Kubrick as a gifted man with an instinctive talent for directing. Indeed, Kubrick has a unique genius for film images, for how a scene looks and how it should be lit. But Baxter also reveals a man obsessed with his privacy who controls everything even remotely connected to his work. Kubrick is also apparently the boss from hell, especially for writers. Baxter effectively uses extensive interviews with people who have worked on Kubrick's movies to support these characterizations, and this raw material makes his book stand out among the few biographies of Kubrick.?Marianne Cawley, Charleston Cty. Lib., S.C.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

THE FIRST MAJOR BIOGRAPHY TO FULLY ENGAGE THE KUBRICK MYSTIQUE For decades, the films of Stanley kubrick have staked out a claim at the core of our cultural landscape. In the 1950s, he was one of the few American filmmakers to achieve the gravitas of European cinema with Paths of Glory. To 1960s audiences, he was the man who made both Dr Strangelove, the influential anti-war movie, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, the counterculture favorite. In the 1970s he created his hymn to urban violence, A Clockworh Orange, and in the 1980s he distilled the nature of private madness and collective insanity with The Shining and Full Metal Jacket. His first film of the 1990s will be Eyes Wide Shut, starring Tom Cruise, scheduled for release in July 1999.

Yet little is known of the man and the influence exerted by his private life on his public art Born in the Bronx, Kubrick has lived since 1961 in seclusion in rural England. From in-depth interviews with a range of people who have known the man best, spanning from his childhood to the present John Baxter now presents the most complete account available of Kubrick's life. The conflicts with partners and stars, the failure to make Napoleon, the failed marriages and broken friendships, the use and abuse of writers and other collaborators-this detailed and complex study addresses all these to reveal a man who, above all, has dared to live life on his terms.

Praise for John Baxter:

"John Baxter's biographies enjoy their subjects to the full." - Spectator

"The achievement of Baxter's book lies in the skill with which it weaves together a convincing understanding?" - Times Literary Supplement

"John Baxter gets beneath the skin of his subject for a penetrating and eminently readable biography . . . a most intelligent detective whose writing is completely engrossing." - Bryan Forbes, The Times (London)

JOHN BAXTER is a film critic, novelist biographer, and broadcaster. His books include a study of John Ford and the lives of Ken Russell, Fellini, Bunuel, and Steven Spielberg. He lives in Paris.

Customer Reviews

This is adventageous because these are his best loved films.
JMack
Never thought I'd ever be sympathetic with Ken Russell, but noticing that he's already suffered this same sort of Baxterization gives me pause.
M. Packo
Not being a Kubrick fundi and not knowing all that much about the man behind the (enormous) myth, I found this book readable and interesting.
jsiebrits@yahoo.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
John Baxter's biography of Stanley Kubrick rings essentially true and many facts and quotations are confirmed in Vincent LoBrutto's biography and elsewhere, but certain minor though obvious errors make one wonder how careful the author has been. Fans of Kubrick's films will cringe when they encounter mistakes that any repeat viewer would catch. Combined with a tendency towards the unflattering, it makes the reader wonder whether Baxter is merely cynically exploiting his subject rather than illuminating it, as others seem to have done, especially since Kubrick's death.
LoBrutto's biography, the only other one currently available, is so tediously written and poorly edited that this reader couldn't bear to finish it. Perhaps excellent biographers avoid so difficult a subject as Stanley Kubrick.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Munch (kenmunch@hotmail.com) on July 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
I found Baxter's book an enjoyable read, lively and somewhat informative, though apparently not the work of awesome scholarship that Lubrutto's book is. I haven't read that tome yet, but will soon, fascinated as I am by all things Kubrick. I didn't have the reaction that others have had concerning Baxter's feelings toward Kubrick. As far as I could tell, he seemed to have an appropriate level of respect. Baxter is obviously not a film scholar or someone too well versed in the technical side of filmmaking, but he keeps the book moving along briskly. This certainly a good start-up for someone new to Kubrick's films.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is greatly researched, and an extremely interesting read. For all of Baxter's effort's though, the man Kubrick remains an enigma, as he has to all authors, journalists and the general public. Insight is offered however into his mind by Baxter's excellent 'essay' writing ability, and from quotes by those who have worked with stanley.
Because Stanley Kubrick is such an intelluctual, this book seems to come under flak becasue it is not written in this style. Shame on Baxter for trying to broaden public knowledge on Kubrik! How dare he not use big words all the time! I have read 3 books on Kubrick, and while this is not the best, it is still a good read.
Most importantly though, is it shows Kubrick for what he really is, modern cinema's greatest intellectual, mastermind, and genius. A sad, black day for the cinema world with his passing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is nothing more than a sorry attempt at trying to make the life of man who shys away from the limelight seem sensationalistic. Throughout the book the writer seems to be dieing to reveal some bit of scandal, some skeleton in the closet of Stanley Kubrick, and he fails at it repeatedly. Baxter writes like a smug, holier-than-though iconoclast who deeply resents the success of the man he writes about. This book is fit only for the grocery store tabloid rack and even then it wouldn't sell because Kubrick has led a sober and quiet life only surfacing every ten years or so to deliver a quality film to quality-strarved audiences. If you want to read a decent biography of Kubrick, check out Vincent Lobrutto's book...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By jsiebrits@yahoo.com on July 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
Not being a Kubrick fundi and not knowing all that much about the man behind the (enormous) myth, I found this book readable and interesting. I have to agree that it does not contain much in the way of analysis of Kubrick's movies, but that is probably not what the author had set out to do. It would have been a colossal and much less accessible work had he dealt at length with each of the movies.
What I cannot understand is the reaction of some of the reviewers, saying that the author was intent on crucifying Kubrick. That was certainly not my impression when I read the book, but then I do not regard Kubrick as per se a wonderful person becasue he made acclaimed movies. He comes across as a much warmer and more human person than I expected, give his reclusive lifestyle, but also as someone who had some flaws, like an inability to start and finish projects. And that is also what was said about him after his death, so I think Baxter is maybe not that far off the mark in his portrayal.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Naj on September 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
Helps you realize why you love Kubrick, if you can read between the lines and if you don't get fixated on the tales of Kubrickophobism. While entertaining, they are not all that the book is about. The author does not present Kubricks work in 5-syllable Aestheto-socio-philosophical terms, nor does he fuss about the geometrical aspects of panning and scanning, yet he encourages you to re-visit Kubrick, and multiply your viewing experince!
Not a text book, for sure!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
There's no doubt somewhere down the line, someone might write the definitive biography of the great film maker, Stanley Kubrick. Mr Baxter's book isn't quite it, just as several other Kubrick bios aren't either. Kubrick was an enigma and writing about not just an enigma but an intensely private person is always a problem. Mr Baxter's book looks at Kubrick's life and film's ina an entertaing and readable fashion without getting much past the surface.Combined with several other books on Kubrick (most notably the out of print book by Michel Ciment)John Baxter's book compiles some of the most famous Kubrick "stories" and some lesser-known ones. Given the author's long-standing credentials as a film historian as well as popular biographer of film identities, it would have made the book a more valuable addition to film culture had Mr Baxter included some more analysis of the films themselves. If this review seems a little at odds with a four star rating it's because ANY book which contributes in any way to help understand the artist who created a small but extraordinary body of work is worthy of that.
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More About the Author

John Baxter was born in Sydney, Australia, but raised in a small country town called Junee. With little else to do, he went to the movies three times a week for most of his adolescence, which provided an instant education in Hollywood movies with which he was often able to embarrass film celebrities ("You SAW that thing?")
His second interest, however, was science fiction, which he began writing in his late teens. He sold stories to the same British and American magazines as J.G. Ballard and Thomas M. Disch, and in 1966 his first sf novel, THE GOD KILLERS, was published in both the US and Britain. He also edited the first-ever anthologies of Australian science fiction, and wrote the first history of the Australian cinema.
In 1969, he came to Europe, settled in London, and began writing books on the cinema, including a biography of the director Ken Russell, and studies of John Ford, Josef von Sternberg and the gangster and science fiction film genres, and working as an arts journalist for various magazines, and for BBC radio. He also served on the juries of European film festivals.
In 1974 he was invited to become visiting professor at Hollins College in Virginia, USA, where he remained for two years. While in America, he collaborated with Thomas Atkins on THE FIRE CAME BY; THE GREAT SIBERIAN EXPLOSION OF 1908,and wrote a study of director King Vidor, as well as completing two novels, THE HERMES FALL and BIDDING.
Returning to London, he published the technological thriller THE BLACK YACHT. In 1979 he moved to Ireland, and the following year returned to Australia, where he co-scripted the 1988 science fiction film THE TIME GUARDIAN, starring Carrie Fisher and Dean Stockwell. He also wrote and presented three TV series on the cinema, and produced and presented the ABC radio programme BOOKS AND WRITING.
In 1989 he moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a screenwriter and film journalist. The following year, he met his present wife, Marie-Dominique Montel, and re-located in Paris.
After moving to France, John published biographies of Federico Fellini, Luis Bunuel, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas and Robert De Niro, as well as five books of autobiography, A POUND OF PAPER: CONFESSIONS OF A BOOK ADDICT, dealing with his fascination for collecting books, WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS: SEX AND LOVE IN THE CITY OF LIGHT, of which the SUNDAY TIMES of London wrote "it towers above most recent memoirs of life abroad," IMMOVEABLE FEAST: A PARIS CHRISTMAS, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WALK IN THE WORLD: A PEDESTRIAN IN PARIS, and THE PERFECT MEAL. IN SEARCH OF THE LOST TASTES OF FRANCE.
John has co-directed the annual Paris Writers Workshop and is a frequent lecturer and public speaker. His hobbies are cooking and book collecting. He has a major collection of modern first editions. When not writing, he can be found prowling the bouquinistes along the Seine or cruising the Internet in search of new acquisitions.



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