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Stanley Kubrick: A Biography

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For decades, the films of Stanley Kubrick have staked out a claim at the core of the cultural landscape. In the 1950s he was one of the few American filmmakers, with Paths of Glory, to achieve the gravitas of European cinema. To 1960s audiences he was the man who made Dr. Strangelove, the influential anti-war movie, and the counterculture favorite 2001: A Space Odyssey. In For decades, the films of Stanley Kubrick have staked out a claim at the core of the cultural landscape. In the 1950s he was one of the few American filmmakers, with Paths of Glory, to achieve the gravitas of European cinema. To 1960s audiences he was the man who made Dr. Strangelove, the influential anti-war movie, and the counterculture favorite 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the 1970s he created his hymn to urban violence, A Clockwork Orange, and in the 1980s distilled the nature of private madness and collective insanity in The Shining and Full Metal Jacket.Yet little is still 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, from his childhood to the present, John Baxter has extracted 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 creative collaborators.Kubrick emerges from this detailed and complex telling as a man both sensitive and ruthless, petulant and generous: a man who adulates reason but whose films reflect the wildest excesses of passion and who, above all, has dared to live life on his terms, whatever the price.


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For decades, the films of Stanley Kubrick have staked out a claim at the core of the cultural landscape. In the 1950s he was one of the few American filmmakers, with Paths of Glory, to achieve the gravitas of European cinema. To 1960s audiences he was the man who made Dr. Strangelove, the influential anti-war movie, and the counterculture favorite 2001: A Space Odyssey. In For decades, the films of Stanley Kubrick have staked out a claim at the core of the cultural landscape. In the 1950s he was one of the few American filmmakers, with Paths of Glory, to achieve the gravitas of European cinema. To 1960s audiences he was the man who made Dr. Strangelove, the influential anti-war movie, and the counterculture favorite 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the 1970s he created his hymn to urban violence, A Clockwork Orange, and in the 1980s distilled the nature of private madness and collective insanity in The Shining and Full Metal Jacket.Yet little is still 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, from his childhood to the present, John Baxter has extracted 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 creative collaborators.Kubrick emerges from this detailed and complex telling as a man both sensitive and ruthless, petulant and generous: a man who adulates reason but whose films reflect the wildest excesses of passion and who, above all, has dared to live life on his terms, whatever the price.

30 review for Stanley Kubrick: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    While Stanley Kubrick is an extremely interesting figure for a biography (he being my favorite director), John Baxter is a terrible writer. Almost all of the material is culled from 2nd hand accounts, so the entire thing reads like it was cobbled together from here-say and conjecture. The parts which Baxter does not just whole sale lift from his quotes are consistently awful, exemplified by his hilariously out-of-context quotes to begin each chapter. This book is certainly an enjoyable read, but While Stanley Kubrick is an extremely interesting figure for a biography (he being my favorite director), John Baxter is a terrible writer. Almost all of the material is culled from 2nd hand accounts, so the entire thing reads like it was cobbled together from here-say and conjecture. The parts which Baxter does not just whole sale lift from his quotes are consistently awful, exemplified by his hilariously out-of-context quotes to begin each chapter. This book is certainly an enjoyable read, but only because Kubrick is such a fascinating person that there's probably room for dozens of biographies on him. The book works best when you forget that Baxter is even there, which is difficult as I cannot remember the last book that made me stop in the middle of a sentences from poor word choice and uneven flow. His critiques of Kubrick's work, both good and bad, are laughable as well. Check out "Kubrick" By Thomas Allen Nelson. While not a biography per say, there is much of Kubrick's life in that work, and his films are explored in much greater depth, and with much greater scholasticism.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    Worth a read, even if the author seemed to have an ax to grind. If you can overlook the patronizing and resentful tone, there is a bit of content here. 'The Stanley Kubrick Archives' and 'Stanley Kubrick and Me' are much more satisfying though.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ramiro

    Excelente biografía de este gran director. Preciosos detalles que le hacen justicia al genio imposible de Kubrick. La disfruté como un niño a un dulce y como disfruto cualquier cosa que tenga que ver con Kubrick.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael Karpusas

    A bit dry writing

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    John Baxter writes as comprehensively as one can in a biography of Kubrick that was completed just before the Master died in 1999. It covers in great detail and with first hand testimony the difficulties of working with Kubrick but also captures Kubrick's own sense of self, his choice to isolate himself and create art in a way that was totally true to himself and his vision, no matter how it availed others. The result is a truly personal and up close account and one that is well recommended. If John Baxter writes as comprehensively as one can in a biography of Kubrick that was completed just before the Master died in 1999. It covers in great detail and with first hand testimony the difficulties of working with Kubrick but also captures Kubrick's own sense of self, his choice to isolate himself and create art in a way that was totally true to himself and his vision, no matter how it availed others. The result is a truly personal and up close account and one that is well recommended. If it lacks anything it is that opportunity for a reflection on Kubrick's work after his death and consideration of his body of film making as a whole - but that is not something for which the author can be faulted.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Filippo Ulivieri

    Al posto di un accurato lavoro di ricerca, Baxter si affida alle testimonianze dei collaboratori di Kubrick, correndo il rischio di scadere nel pettegolezzo. Gli intervistati si dimostrano interessati ad accentuare il lato "strano" del regista, con aneddoti sull'ossessione di Kubrick per le tette delle sue attrici o sulle sue abitudini igieniche, e lo stesso Baxter tradisce spesso la sua costante voglia di parlar male, non solo di Kubrick ma di tutti gli attori, produttori e funzionari di Hollyw Al posto di un accurato lavoro di ricerca, Baxter si affida alle testimonianze dei collaboratori di Kubrick, correndo il rischio di scadere nel pettegolezzo. Gli intervistati si dimostrano interessati ad accentuare il lato "strano" del regista, con aneddoti sull'ossessione di Kubrick per le tette delle sue attrici o sulle sue abitudini igieniche, e lo stesso Baxter tradisce spesso la sua costante voglia di parlar male, non solo di Kubrick ma di tutti gli attori, produttori e funzionari di Hollywood. Quando invece si affida a fonti primarie, come riviste e altri libri, Baxter sbaglia puntualmente riferimenti bibliografici o cita articoli inesistenti. Tutto sommato un lavoro piuttosto sciatto che punta soprattutto al sensazionalismo. Inserto di 24 pagine con fotografie in bianco e nero.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alejandro Orradre

    Extensa y minuciosa biografía de uno de los grandes directores de cine de toda la historia, Stanley Kubrick: La biografía se sumerge en su vida de una manera exhaustiva y sin escatimar muchos detalles. Especialmente interesante es todo lo que rodea a cómo fueron los rodajes de sus películas, antes, durante y después de ellos, el proceso creativo a través del cual vieron la luz y lo que supusieron para el mismo Kubrick. Una obra que hará las delicias de cualquier cinéfilo.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    not that great...I've been fascinated by Kubrick the filmmaker and the man for a long time. I haven't had the chance top read any other bio of him, though of course there's better and more penetrating ones out there. This one's not so hot. there's some interesting information and anecdotes but it's not very detailed. Just an fyi....

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jaime Bayona

    EL libro está lleno de datos interesantes que son valiosos para cualquier seguidor de Kubrick, sin embargo, el estilo de escritura de Baxter cansa, por lo que en ocasiones la lectura se vuelve pesada.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Zach

    There's a lot of great information in this book. It's unfortunate, though, that it falls into the trap that a lot of biographies do: "And then this happened. And then this happened. And then this happened."

  11. 5 out of 5

    Djll

    Pretty good. I already knew Kubrick was another genius asshole (like many of my other heroes, Stockhausen, Miles Davis, Van Vliet, Godard), but this book really lays the shit bare. Ouch, ouch. A master chessman who used human beings as his pieces. But, shit, then there's the work.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Hasan

    More about the circumstances surrounding the making of his movies than about the man himself. Not the writer's fault but was hoping for more.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Francis J.

    Not too detailed, but very interesting.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Drew Raley

    Galloping gossip-filled rehash of well-worn Kubrick stories. However, if gossip is junk food, Baxter's bio is pure rock candy. Enjoyably bitchy and generous in the spreading of purple prose.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    This is a realy cool book about Kubrick. It has a lot of background biographical information about the director as well as interesting inside facts about the industry.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    Stanley Kubrick: A Biography by John Baxter (1997)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    I loved Kubrick's films when I was younger, I still do, and I thought this was quite a good book with lots of details of how he made his films. Gotta love Paths of Glory, Full Metal Jacket and 2001.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lycke

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Berardi

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Burley

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andy

  23. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

  24. 5 out of 5

    James

  25. 5 out of 5

    Luis López

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stefan Boublil

  27. 4 out of 5

    Phillip Gary Smith

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chema Sainz

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sandorkrasna

  30. 4 out of 5

    Guid

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