Stanley Kubrick

1 January 2017

In order to openly explore whether Kubrick is an optimist or pessimist, we must first understand the man. We must look into his origin and the history of the world at that time. We have to take his life’s time line in consideration. We have to take his family heritage into account, his place of birth, and where he is from. Once we take all these circumstances into consideration; I think we will understand why he is the way he is. I will convey why I think Kubrick is a pessimistic optimist and in many ways a realist.

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So to answer the question whether Kubrick is an optimist or pessimist, I would have to say both. Stanley Kubrick was born on July 26 1928 in the Bronx district of New York, into a family with Jewish ancestry. As a child, Stanley was considered intelligent, but he did not achieve particularly high grades at school. His father, Jack, who worked as a doctor in New York, was concerned to find a remedy for his son’s poor academic performance, so in 1940 he sent him to stay with his uncle in California, hoping that a change of scene would help to improve Stanley’s grades.

Stanley returned to New York in 1941 but his grades remained below average . He developed a passion for jazz drumming. In desperation, his father taught him to play chess, hoping that this would stimulate him mentally and spur him on to greater intellectual achievement. His dad was right – Stanley took to chess and soon became an accomplished player. He even played chess for money at the Marshal and Manhattan clubs and in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Kubrick graduated from William Taft High School in 1946 but was unable to get into college because his grades were so low.

His father then hit upon the idea of giving Stanley a camera for his birthday, which led indirectly to his son’s discovering his future destiny as a film director. Stanley soon developed a passion for photography and began taking trips all over New York in order to take photographs, which he then developed in a friend’s darkroom. Whilst he was still a teenager, Stanley succeeded in selling an unsolicited photograph to “Look” magazine. At the age of 17, he landed a job as a staff photographer at “Look” magazine and spent the next few years traveling throughout the United States working on photographic assignments.

Meanwhile, Stanley had also developed a keen interest in cinema and attended as many movie screenings as his busy schedule would permit. By 1951, when he was just 23 years old, he had begun to dream of becoming a film director. He used his own savings to finance his first film, a 13-minute documentary short about the boxer Walter Cartier, called Day Of The Fight. Stanley acted as producer, director and cinematographer on this first film; he’d first met Cartier whilst shooting a magazine photo assignment. The young Kubrick knew nothing about filmmaking and was taught how to use the equipment by the man who rented it to him.

Stanley’s first short film was a success and was bought by RKO for its This Is America series, earning Stanley a small profit. Several other short films followed, including Flying Padre (1951) and The Seafarers (1952). Finally, thanks to the money he’d earned hustling chess games, Stanley raised enough cash to be able to make his first full-length film, Fear and Desire, which he filmed in California in 1953.

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