And now for something completely different. . .

Believe it or not, esnl was something of a geek in his younger years [yah, we know, it’s obvious].

We fell in love with film very early, because we were going to movie theaters before we ever had a television at home. We’d either sit very close to the screen or up in the balcony [the latter if it was a horror film, the former for cowboy flicks, then a staple of Saturday matinees at the Plaza Theater in Abilene, Kansas].

We were six when we got our first TV, but it was always film that was our first choice.

We were in high school when we became conscious of directors, in part because one of the greatest, Alfred Hitchcock, had a weekly crime series on the tube.

But the first director to compel out attention was the great Stanley Kubrick, who shot movies the way we would shoot still photographs — understandable, we later learned, because he was also a passionate still photographer, with an incomparable eye for composition.

Four films he made during the 1960s would revolutionize our experience of film, starting with 1960’s Spartacus, a film that played a central role in last year’s Oscar-grabbing Trumbo [which, strangely, neglected any role for a Kubrick character].

We were a passionate student of Roman history, and Spartacus brought to live an era and people we had studied in our high school Latin class. And for its time, the film was a true spectacular.

The following year came Lolita, and then in 1964 came the film that changed our life, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, the stark and brilliant filmed devastating satire on the horror that lurked in deepest recesses of everyone’s mind at a time when children learned“duck and cover” exercises in the classroom and weekly nuclear attack siren tests shrieked out every fourth Friday at noon, chilling every spine at the height of the Cold War. The film was a profound catharsis, forcing us to laugh at the thing we most feared.

And then in 1968, that pivotal year in Western culture when Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were shot and students revolted in Paris and Chicago, came 2001: A Space Odyssey, probably the greatest psychedelic film ever made [and, yes, we were stoned the first time we saw it, as were most of the people in the audience in a geodesic dome theater in Orange County, California].

Other equally memorable films followed, but it was that four that awakened our deep appreciation for film, along with those Ingmar Bergman films every college student with intellectual pretensions flocked to back then [and, yes, they, too, were brilliant].

So what made Kubrick’s films so compelling?

For that we turn to a video from Channel Criswell Extra:

Stanley Kubrick – The Cinematic Experience

Program notes:


0:24-1:39 Handel – Sarabande
1:37-4:40 Schubert – Piano Trio In E-Flat
5:08-6:09 Beethoven’s 9th Symphony
6:20-8:45 Strauss – Voices of Spring Waltz
9:11-10:46 Rossini – The Thieving Magpie
10:50-12:22 Handel – Sarabande (Duel)
12:45-13:47 Gene Kelly – Singin’ In The Rain
13:53-15:44 Dr. Strangelove – Try A Little Tendreness
15:44-16:40 Mozart – March From Idomeneo
16:57-18:12 Beethoven – Ode To Joy
18:12-18:41 Strauss – The Blue Danube
18:46-20:04 – Strauss – Thus Sprach Zarathustra
20:05-20:30 Dmitri Shostokavich – Waltz No.2

It wasn’t just Crisswell and esnl who were permanently affected by Kubrick’s masterpieces.

The folks at a certain TV show were, too.

From via Really Dim:

#kubrick – The Simpsons – Candice Drouet

Program notes:

Stanley Kubrick And The Simpsons – Candice drouet

Here you have 25 years of visual references

Music (Midi) : Christian Cabrera /
Paths of Glory / Dr. Strangelove / 2001: A Space Odyssey / A Clockwork Orange / Barry Lyndon / The Shining / Full Metal Jacket / Eyes Wide Shut

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