February 24, 2016
Edit, Kubrick, Powell/Pressburger
Doing research has been one of the most enjoyable parts of writing this blog; you never know what nugget you’ll stumble upon. I really got a kick when I happened upon the material for today’s post which is technically 2 shots. Well, I guess it’s 4 shots, because not only am I serving up Kubrick’s stunning editorial truncation of millions of years of human evolution, but I’m also serving Kubrick. Oh, yes, he’s been served. The second shot (or 2 shots) is what Kubrick stole from. But no worries. As Oscar Wilde quipped, “Talent imitates, genius steals.” While I don’t believe Kubrick ever commented on or admitted to this, as far as I could find, it’s hard to believe he didn’t get the idea here, consciously or unconsciously.
Kubrick steals from the best
Now, everyone is super familiar with the famous, brilliant, awesome, mind-blowingly simple yet profound, etc, match cut transition in 2001
from the pre-historic primate’s bone-throw to the space ship millions of years later. But not many probably know the shot from Powell/Pressburger’s A Cantebury Tale
(1944) — including myself, until I stumbled upon it doing research for the recent post on Deliverance
, of all things. This must have inspired Kubrick’s master stroke.
In the 1944 application of the technique, we leap centuries in one edit. Check out how cool and ahead of its time this cut is – a falcon turns into an airplane. Military technology jumps 600 years. Pretty bold and cool. It’s in the youtube video at 3:17.
As cool as that is, Kubrick was able to give the same technique an even deeper resonance. Instead of centuries, it’s millions of years, and the entire evolution of mankind is expressed in one-twenty-fourth of a second by way of a single edit. Doesn’t get more efficient than that, does it? That’s what a director is always striving for, to communicate the most information in the simplest way, with the greatest story impact. Earth to Kubrick, mission accomplished.
November 16, 2011
I can’t get enough of The Shining right now – Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall‘s kabuki performances included – so much so that today’s shot isn’t even from the movie. I wanted to make a case study of it, so I recently read the novel, then watched the movie twice, which then led me to the fascinating wiki article on the film (click above photo for that article). All in all, I have a whole new level of appreciation and understanding of the film, if one can actually have the latter. But it was a commercial for British television’s channel 4 that has my mind blown today.
From Vivian & Stanley Kubrick’s Camera
In researching The Shining on youtube, for today’s post, I happened upon this absolutely incredible tribute to the film, in the form of a :65 ad for Channel 4’s “Kubrick Season.” There is so much crazy, loving detail in this single oner that it’s almost hard to believe – complete with behind-the-scenes beats from Vivian Kubrick’s making-of documentary: recognize the ‘bowing man’ at :41 in video below? Check out Vivian’s documentary at 3:32!
According to this brief article on the making of the promo, “The spot, which was shot over two days at London’s Bray Studios, was filmed using a 25mm Cooke lens – a favourite of Kubrick’s.” So cool. Even more so because ‘favourite’ has a ‘u’ in it.
I tell you, I would totally redrum to see a making-of of this shot!