Stanley Kubrick was born on July 26, 1928, of a middle-class Bronx family. He got his first camera at thirteen, a present from his physician father, who introduced him to still photography. He was a class photographer at Taft High School, but an "F" in English and a 68 average lost him his place in college to some returning veteran. "Out of pity," he recalls, LOOK magazine hired him as a sixteen-year-old photographer, after buying one of his candid stills. Kubrick stayed on the staff of LOOK until he was twenty-one. He describes himself at the time as a "skinny, unkempt kid who carried his cameras in a paper bag so he wouldn't be mistaken for a tourist." The job was a good opportunity to learn and experiment with the photographic aspects of cinema: compositions, lighting, location, and action shooting, but all Kubrick knew about filmmaking was photography and Pudovkin's FILM TECHNIQUE. He still agrees with Pudovkin that editing is the basis of film art. "The ability to show a simple action like a man cutting wheat from a number of angles in a brief moment, to be able to see it in a special way not possible except through film -- that is what it is all about." Kubrick had always been interested in films, and since he was nineteen he'd been almost obsessed with them, spending five evenings a week at the Museum of Modern Art looking at famous old movies, and weekends looking at all the new ones. Kubrick recalls that PM, the long-gone New York daily, would list every single movie in New York City in four- point type, and weekends he might even take the ferry to Staten Island to catch something he'd missed. Kubrick now believes that those trips, and particularly the long screening sessions at the Museum of Modern Art, were the finest training in directing he could have had. Paying extremely close attention to a very few good films were of much greater value. Even the poor films had their uses, encouraging Kubrick: "I'd keep seeing lousy films and saying to myself, `I don't know anything about moviemaking, but I couldn't do anything worse than this.'" Kubrick still recommends FILM TECHNIQUE to anyone interested in films. (contributed by H.N. from "The Cinema of Stanley Kubick" by Norman Kagan)
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