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The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick (Library of Great Filmmakers) Paperback – June 1, 2002
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Although this reference lives up to its promise of far-reaching coverage, its short, specific, alphabetically arranged entries tend to fragment information. Still, Phillips, the author of many film books and a friend of the director, and film scholar Hill have compiled an impressive fund of information, including a little over 200 well-researched entries on all 13 films, major cast and crew members, sources of the films' plots and musical scores, genres (with emphasis on the significance of Kubrick's films), and technical innovations. Each usually concludes with a short list of references, augmented by a selected bibliography of about 50 works by or about Kubrick. Many interesting stills and behind-the-scenes photos enliven the text. Unfortunately, numerous facts about the films appear in biographical entries only and are virtually lost due to limited indexing and cross references. For instance, details about lighting techniques in Barry Lyndon are mentioned only in entries for John Alcott and Ed DiGiulio. The entry for The Killing does not even mention its cinematographer, Lucien Ballard, or Kubrick's conflicts with him, whereas the entry on Ballard himself does discuss their disagreements. Michel Ciment's Kubrick: The Definitive Edition and Phillips's own Stanley Kubrick: Interviews offer more well-rounded views of the controversial director and his ground-breaking films. Suitable for large film collections.
Vivian Reed, California State Univ. Lib., Long Beach
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Facts On File's Great Filmmakers set includes individual volumes on three major directors (Hitchcock, Kubrick, and Orson Welles) as well as the two-volume Encyclopedia of Filmmakers (p.2008). Entries in the volume reviewed here are arranged alphabetically and cover films and screenplays, (A Clockwork Orange, Eyes Wide Shut); themes and motifs (Film noir, Science fiction); people (Kubrick, Christiane; Sellers, Peter); process ( Steadicam) ; and other important topics (HAL-9000).
Biographical entries focus on the subject's importance and influence on Kubrick's life or works and are especially informative and interesting to read. The book also includes entries for prominent biographers and critics. Each film analysis discusses its significance in the director's oeuvre as well as describing the plot, characters, acting, production details, critical response, and other notable data. Reference lists for articles are often extensive. A surprising omission is a straight filmography, with works in chronological order, though this may be gleaned from the biographical narrative for Kubrick. Cross-references are noted in the text by capitalized words. Attractive black-and-white photos accompany many of the major articles.
Because Kubrick is among the best, most popular, and most-studied film directors, this authoritative books will get a lot of use in both public and academic libraries. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The entries of course all have some connection with Kubrick. Included are actors who played in his movies, and people related to him and his friends and other people he worked with. There are also entries on movie business phenomena like "antiwar themes" and "censorship." There is an interesting entry on Steven Spielberg's Artificial Intelligence (2001) in which I learned that the original conception came from Kubrick. There are a number of black and white photos spread throughout the text and some line drawings, mostly of Kubrick and the actors who played in his films. Often the photos are stills from the movies. It is interesting to see Kubrick at various stages of his career and how time changed his appearance. My favorite photo is of George C. Scott and Stanley Kubrick playing chess on the set of Dr. Strangelove underneath the "War Room" mock up. By the way, Scott is reported to have gained respect for the younger Kubrick when Kubrick beat him at chess.
There is rather a lot of repetition in the entries, some of it unavoidable of course because entries overlap in content. However the entry for Sue Lyon, for example, who was Kubrick's Lolita, contains a summary of the plot of Lolita to the exclusion of the rather sparse information about Lyon. Also the editing and proofreading of the entries is not first rate. The text was begun by Rodney Hill and then taken up by Gene D. Phillips, which may account for some of the avoidable repetition. Some of the entries were written by John C. Tibbetts and others tagged with initials and identified as "Contributors" near the back of the book.
Clearly the strength of the book is in the light it sheds on Stanley Kubrick and his life in film. The detail is fascinating and the writing, in spite of the repetitions, is engaging. There are nice pieces on George C. Scott, James Mason, Peter Sellers, Malcolm McDowell, Nicole Kidman, Shelley Winters, Arthur C. Clarke, etc. as well as essays on all of Kubrick movies. Included are behind the scenes information about what went on during the shooting of the films, how the films were conceived and how they progressed. I was intrigued to learn that Kubrick was able to get a fine performance from the otherwise undistinguished Sue Lyon partly because he sometimes allowed her to use her own vernacular instead of words from the script. Also interesting was the difficulties that Shelley Winters experienced (from her viewpoint!) in working with James Mason and Peter Sellers in Lolita (1962). The relationship between Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, who wrote the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey and worked with Kubrick on the screenplay for the film, is interesting to follow. One realizes again that at the base of Kubrick's film creations is an abiding interest in science and human psychology.
Bottom line: an irresistible companion to the films of Stanley Kubrick, one of cinema's greatest directors and one of my personal favorites.
First off, instead of an encyclopedia it's more of a dictionary with entries alphabetically listed such Dr. Strangelove or Lolita. In no case is any section more than two or three pages which makes for a lot brief superficial coverage of different areas of the famous director's life and work product. People interested in this format should know that at least two other such books exist including one on Orson Welles and the other on Alfred Hitchcock.
In most cases the entries amount to fun reads which will probably exhaust most readers interest in different Kubrick related issues.
For a deeper discussion of Kubrick's life and work readers are probably best directed elsewhere. For me though I thought it was a fun grazing type book that you can either follow alphabetically or just access at random as the mood and the opportunity hits.
It's the ancillary discoveries (like the aforementioned example) that make this book a great supplementary resource. If you are an enthusiast of Kubrick's films, I recommend having a copy of this book to accentuate your viewing experience of his films.
(For example, Kubrick says that at the end of Lolita, Humbert realizes that he loves her --- he's not just feeling lust for her. Kubrick calls this the most poignant moment in the story. This particular quote is repeated in the book at least five times.)
If you've read every other book about Kubrick, get this one. If not, read the books by Ciment, Walker, Herr, LoBrutto, and Baxter first.