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Article: Kubrick : from Stanley to Medicom

Kubrick : De Stanley à Medicom

Kubrick : from Stanley to Medicom

Kubrick is a name that leaves no one indifferent, discerning moviegoers or Toy Design enthusiasts alike. So let's go on an adventure with a little chronological story that will combine Stanley Kubrick on one side, and Medicom's Kubricks on the other.

We are in 1928, the Ku Klux Klan finally begins to be repressed, Calvin Coolidge is the thirtieth president of the United States of America while Leon Trotsky finds himself exiled by Stalin in Almaty. In July, July 26 to be precise, a man is born in Manhattan who will change the face of cinema, and let's be clear, of the world. His name ? Stanley Kubrick.

A mediocre student, he found no interest in school, he preferred chess and jazz, his father's passions and which would continue them throughout his life. And then for her thirteenth birthday comes a gift that will change her life: a camera. He quickly became an official photographer for his college and at 16 became a freelance photographer for Look magazine following a photograph of a newspaper salesman in tears after Roosevelt's death.

Self-taught and passionate about cinema, he embarked on documentaries in 1950 with two documentaries for which he was both screenwriter, cameraman, sound engineer, editor and director. For his first documentary, Day of the Fight, he films boxer Walter Cartier while in his second, Flying Padre, he follows Fred Stadtmueller, a Catholic missionary, for two days.

From 1952, he continued as assistant director and second-team director for various TV projects, therefore an omnibus on Abraham Lincoln, and a year later he produced his first color documentary on the merchant navy: The Seafarers.

In 1953, he borrowed money from his parents to make his first feature film: Fear and Desire. Once again, he does everything in the film, except the script given to a poet friend, and decides not to record the sound with the images, a small mistake which will cost him the modest sum of 3,000 dollars in post synchronization. If he is initially proud to have finished the project, he will deny it later and will do everything to make it disappear.

Although being a commercial failure, Kubrick will leave the magazine look to devote himself only to the cinema and to realize, in 1954, the kiss of the killer. The only original script to his credit, the film is still a draft of his cinema, but will attract the attention of producer James B. Harris.

Together, the two men found Harris-Kubrick Pictures and embark on Stanley's first big project: The Killing. If we stay in a film noir all that is more classic, Kubrick fragments his story and connects the pieces with a voice over.

If it is objectively this film which launches the career of the director, it is the following one which will make of him a great man of the seventh art. With a weak budget and hardly convincing the majors, everything changed for Paths to Glory when Harris sent the script to Kirk Douglas who was already a recognized actor at the time and who wanted to make the film even though he did not believe to commercial success. Pulling a red bullet (blood) on the French army, the film will be largely shunned in Europe and following the discontent of associations of veterans, the producers decide not to release the film in France. It will not be released with us until 1975, that is, 18 years later.

Following an aborted Western project with Marlon Brando, he will be contacted by Michael Douglas to finish the film Spartacus, something he will do and which will give a huge success crowned with 4 Oscars although the film is today considered a rather impersonal film for a Kubrick.

The following film will be shot in England for several reasons, Peter Sellers cannot leave the country following a divorce proceeding, because he wants to bypass American censorship, but also because he finds that London is the second best place to shoot movies after Hollywood. Adapted from the sulphurous novel by Nabokov, Lolita will also unleash passions once brought to film, causing many debates and clashes. This sulphurous side will make the film a commercial success and morally destroy the main actress: Sue Lyon.

To know more

A few weeks ago, ARTE devoted a very good documentary on Nabokov's work and on how it was misinterpreted, consciously or not. "Lolita", méprise sur un fantasme is available free of charge on the ARTE website

Lolita will also mark the end of the Kubrick / Harris duo. Kubrick will then embark on a project of a science fiction trilogy. The first part will be Doctor Strangelove with once again Peter Sellers in Kubrick's one and only comedy. A fiercely anti-militarist farce, we see nations ready to wipe themselves off the map only out of pride and stupidity. Once again, the film is nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Film Adaptation.

The director's latest black and white film, Dr Strangelove also marks a milestone in the film making time by this brave Stanley. Between 1953 and 1964 (11 years) he made 7 films while from 1965 to 1999 (34 years) he only released six.

This is explained by an ever stronger desire (and difficult to manage for the teams) for perfection and a passion for innovation.

Question innovation the following film arises there since it is about a monolith of the cinema of science fiction: 2001 A space Odyssey

If on this simple film there is enough to write an article of an inordinate length full of analyzes and theories, we will do nothing here, accepting to be undoubtedly less relevant than others to analyze a work. metaphysics of this caliber.

What we do know, however, are toys and that's a good thing, 2001 is the most represented film in our catalog.

Let's start with this sublime Bearbrick in 1000% version that will reach us exactly in time for the holiday season.

Get it here

Let's stay at Medicom with two VCDs bearing the effigy of Dave Bowman.

Get them here

To end with 2001, let's salute the incredible work of Taschen editions which offers a sublime Book / DVD / Poster combo of the film.

Get it here

Unfounded theory n°1

What if the last shot of 2001 was a message for the first Clockwork Orange? The similarities between the two plans are, in any case, numerous and we (the editor of the article at least) are saying that there is a connection between the two.

The last film of this futuristic trilogy is, with Lolita, one of the most sulphurous of its author: Clockwork Orange.

Following Alexandre de Large and his gang of droogs in a futuristic England, the film mixes eroticism and ultraviolence to the point of being deprogrammed from English screens following numerous incidents including death threats received by the author of the original book.

It remains one of the huge successes of Warner Bros with no less than 62 weeks on the screens.

Again, it is at Medicom toy that we will find a sublime UDF of Alex in his iconic costume.

Get it here

After an aborted project for a biopic on Napoleon, Kubrick delves into the historical film with what the author of this article considers his best film: Barry Lyndon. The rise and fall of a young Irishman over almost three hours will require Kubrick to use a lens initially designed for NASA to illuminate several scenes of his film only by candlelight and 300 days of shooting. Exceeding the budget of nearly 10 million dollars, the film will also definitely confuse Kubrick and Ryan O'Neal.

If it is a success in Europe, it receives a very lukewarm reception in the Anglo-Saxon countries, but the film receives 4 Oscars all the same (best artistic direction, better photography, better costumes, better musical arrangement).

To recover from this semi-failure, Kubrick will adapt, with Diane Johnson, a novel by Stephen King, author whose last six novels at the time sold more than 22 million copies. For this adaptation of Shining, the changes will be such that King will not even want to appear in the credits.

Once again, the film is a failure in the United States. It is also on this film that Kubrick will confirm his reputation as a perfectionist maniac. Wandering the studios, long hair and monstrous dark circles, the similarities with the character of Jack Torrance are there and will never leave the reputation of the director.

To know more

If you want to know more about The Shining and the mysteries that surround it, I can only recommend the movie Room 234 which is a great documentary.

Let us mention in passing the The Shocking Shining Super Mario figurine from Fools Paradise which combines with relish the universes of Kubrick and Nintendo.

Wanting to make a war film, Kubrick embarks on the adaptation of "The short timers" by Gustav Hasford. Once again diverting the work to give it a very personal vision, Kubrick will offend the author, but the latter will still be credited as the co-writer of Full Metal Jacket.

Returning to success thanks to this film, Kubrick will be able to focus on his final feature film: Eyes Wide Shut.

Unfounded Theory n°2

Intellectual films, Kubrick's feature films have led to more recreational reinventions. The filiations between Barry Lyndon and The Last of the Mohicans or 2001 with Interstellar are there. They are not the same films and to compare them from a qualitative point of view does not make sense, on the other hand to analyze them as works which have drawn inspiration from Kubrick in order to come out of them less intellectual works seems interesting to us.

Sublime film on the double, the fantasy, and the border between the real and the imaginary, Eyes Wide Shut will be released a few months after the death of Stanley Kubrick in March 1999 from a heart attack, and consecrate Tom Cruise as a multi-faceted actor .

If you want to know more about the director's immense career with four films in the American Film Institute's Top 100, we can only redirect you to Taschen's extraordinary book "The Stanley Kubrick Archives", which exists in two editions, a massive and a smaller one.

Get them here

Let's finish this article on Medicom Toy with the Kubrick figures. Ancestor of the Bearbrick, these figurines in 100%, 400% and 1000% have for logo a tribute supported to clockwork orange and, coincidence, Kubrick can be interpreted as the fusion between the Japanese word Kyu (9 like the number of parts which make up the figurine) and the English word Brick.

On our site, we still have a set of two figurines of this type of figurines.

Get them here

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