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The Genius of Stanley Kubrick Revealed. This is How he Made His Films

The Design Museum, London is celebrating the work of one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century.

Marking the 20th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s death, the
exhibition explores his unique command of the whole creative design process of film making, from story teller to director to editor. The exhibition will allow visitors to relive iconic scenes and discover unseen material from his genre-defining films, including The Shining, Barry Lyndon, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Full Metal Jacket and A Clockwork Orange.

Barry Lyndon is a 1975 period drama film by Stanley Kubrick, based on the 1844 novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackeray. The film recounts the early exploits and later unravelling of a fictional 18th-century Irish rogue and opportunist who marries a rich widow to climb the social ladder and assume her late husband’s aristocratic position.

For the first time, the internationally acclaimed touring exhibition about the life and work of Stanley Kubrick is coming to Britain, Kubrick’s home and workplace for over 40 years. It was in the UK that Kubrick created the battlefields of Vietnam for Full Metal Jacket (1987), an orbiting space station for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Dr Strangelove’s War Room (1964). The exhibition tells the story of Stanley Kubrick the obsessive genius. It shows step by step how he created genre-defining worlds for his films and how London was his endlessly inventive canvas.

The War Room with the Big Board from Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film, Dr. Strangelove.

The exhibition features several themed rooms, each shaped around a separate film, including Barry Lyndon, 2001: Space Odyssey, Full Metal Jacket, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Paths of Glory, Spartacus, Lolita, Eyes Wide Shut, and Dr Strangelove. Visitors will enter the exhibition while walking on a replica carpet from the iconic scene in The Shining, before entering a ‘one-point perspective’ corridor — mirroring Kubrick’s famous camera technique.

A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 dystopian crime film adapted, produced, and directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on Anthony Burgess’s novel A Clockwork Orange. It employs disturbing, violent images to comment on psychiatry, juvenile delinquency, youth gangs, and other social, political, and economic subjects in a dystopian near-future Britain.

Commenting on the exhibition, Steven Spielberg said: “Nobody could craft a movie better than Stanley Kubrick. He is an inspiration to us all. Stanley was a chameleon with the astonishing ability to reinvent himself with each new story he told. I defy anyone who just happens upon a Kubrick film while channel surfing to try with all your might to change the station – I have found this to be impossible. So, to all film lovers and filmmakers, if you want to understand and experience how Stanley Kubrick created these unforgettable worlds don’t miss this wonderful exhibition at the Design Museum in London.”

Kubrick on set with Jack Nicholson, who plays an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic (Jack Torrance), who accepts a position as the off-season caretaker of the isolated historic Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies.

Alan Yentob, Special Advisor said: “If you want to step inside the mind of one of the greatest film directors of all time, this exhibition will take you there. Stanley Kubrick’s imagination was boundless and his mastery of every aspect of filmmaking will be on display.”

The Shining is a 1980 horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick and co-written with novelist Diane Johnson. The film is based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel The Shining.

Featuring about 700 objects, films and interviews, the exhibition brings to the fore Kubrick’s innovative spirit and fascination with all aspects of design, depicting the in-depth level of detail that he put into each of his films. From predicting the modern tablet and defining the aesthetic of space exploration a year before the Moon Landing, in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), to the use of NASA-manufactured lenses to film by candlelight in Barry Lyndon (1975), Kubrick was just as much an inventor as a filmmaker.

2001: A Space Odyssey is the 1968 science fiction novel written by Arthur C. Clarke, turned into a film by Kubrick that same year.

Expect to see the Centrifuge-set that Kubrick had developed for 2001: A Space Odyssey; film props such as the platoon flags and the infamous Born-to-Kill helmet worn by Private Joker in Full Metal Jacket, costumes worn on set during Barry Lyndon as well as pre and post production materials loaned from the Stanley Kubrick Archive at the University of the Arts London Archives and Special Collections Centre.

Despite receiving mixed reviews upon release, 2001: A Space Odyssey is today thought by some critics to be one of the greatest films ever made and is widely regarded as one of the best science fiction films of all time.

Stanley Kubrick’s philosophy and his ability to create complete worlds with each of his films will be explored through a vast archive of research and production documents, props, set designs and storyboards. Visitors will be able to relive key scenes from The Shining (1980), Eyes Wide Shut (1999), A Clockwork Orange (1972), and hear personal anecdotes from those close to him — to find out who Stanley was as a person and how he used innovative techniques to create his films.

The War Room in Dr. Strangelove, 1964, was an enormous concrete room, 130 feet long and 100 feet wide, with a 35-foot-high ceiling, suggesting a bomb shelter. It formed a triangular shape, based on Kubrick’s idea that this particular shape would prove the most resistant against an explosion.
Kubrick behind the camera during the filming of 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968.

The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum devoted to contemporary architecture and design. Its work encompasses all elements of design, including fashion, product and graphic design. Since it opened its doors in 1989 the museum has displayed everything from an AK-47 to high heels designed by Christian Louboutin. It has staged over 100 exhibitions, welcomed over five million visitors and showcased the work of some of the world’s most celebrated designers and architects.

Kubrick on the set of Full Metal Jacket, 1987.

The exhibition runs until 15 September 2019. www.designmuseum.org

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