[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 10 April, 2004, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Kubrick's odyssey on show
By Alexandra Fouché
BBC News Online, Frankfurt am Main

The first major exhibition of legendary director Stanley Kubrick's film props, possessions and memorabilia is being held in Frankfurt am Main in Germany.

Stanley Kubrick
Kubrick's meticulous planning comes through in the show
When Kubrick died in 1999, shortly before the release of his last film, rumours abounded about his compulsive obsessiveness and predilection for reclusion.

There were many myths about the man, but little was known about the methods he used to conjure masterpieces such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Dr Strangelove.

The exhibition, put together with the help of Kubrick's widow Christiane (herself German) and his long-standing executive producer Jan Harlan seeks to remedy that.

Although what is on show represents a fraction of the material of the Kubrick estate at his home near St Albans in England, the array is simply mind-boggling.

It ranges from costumes to props, camera equipment to extensive working and research documents, and his chess set - he played a lot when shooting - to annotated scripts.

Kubrick's widow Christiane in the exhibition's Eyes Wide Shut set
Kubrick's widow Christiane in the exhibition's Eyes Wide Shut set
It is public knowledge that Kubrick planned his film projects down to the minutest detail.

Nowhere is this more evident than in exhibits relating to the preparation of the film Napoleon, which Kubrick never made.

For two years in the late 1960s-early 1970s, Kubrick researched the project in depth, working on the screenplay, finding locations, commissioning costume designs and bombarding a Napoleon expert with detailed questions on the great man's smallest habits.

The most impressive exhibit is the shooting schedule of the film Kubrick said would be the best ever made.

The schedule is timed to the second and includes information on sequence order, cross-referenced to their order of appearance in the screenplay, whether the scene would be shot by day or night, its location, in which country, and in which season.

But Kubrick did not stop there. Displayed are also the armoire-full of books on the French emperor - Kubrick reckoned he had read almost everything published on the subject - with index cards cataloguing information on all the important persons around Napoleon and their movements ordered by year.

1999: Eyes Wide Shut
1987: Full Metal Jacket
1980: The Shining
1975: Barry Lyndon
1971: A Clockwork Orange
1968: 2001: A Space Odyssey
1964: Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
1962: Lolita
1960: Spartacus
1957: Paths of Glory
1956: The Killing
1955: Killer's Kiss
1953: The Seafarers, Fear and Desire
1951: Flying Padre, Day of the Fight
In the end, the monumental project never came to pass because of technical problems - Kubrick wanted to shoot inside scenes by candlelight only - and high production costs.

Other goodies on show include personal letters - one from Katharine Hepburn, gently turning down a request to star in a Kubrick film - and letters from fans marked "F-P" for the positive ones and "F-N" for the negative ones.

Plus there are photographs of the so-called pie scene, which never made the final cut in Dr Strangelove.

It was shot over five days and required 3,000 pies - but was taken out because Kubrick thought it would turn the film he described as a "nightmare-comedy" into a mere farce.

Then there is the famous Dali-inspired, lip-shaped red settee used in Lolita; the zero-gravity loo door used in 2001; the outrageous naked-woman coffee table of A Clockwork Orange; sketches for Artificial Intelligence, eventually completed by Steven Spielberg; and the small-scale model of the war room in Dr Strangelove - never entirely seen on screen.

The exhibition gives an insight into the methods of the great director, but reveals very little about the man himself.

1928: Born on 26 July in The Bronx, New York
1946-1951: Photographer for Look magazine
1953: Produces and directs first feature film Fear and Desire
1957: Paths of Glory is banned in Switzerland and Israel. Not distributed in France until 1975
1961: After filming Spartacus, Kubrick quits Hollywood and moves to London
1974: Withdraws Clockwork Orange in the UK due to adverse public reaction and personal threats
1999: Dies on 7 March

One of his quotes on the attraction of ghost stories hints at his grasp of psychology and philosophical search for meaning.

"Ghost stories appeal to our craving for immortality," he said. "If you can be afraid of a ghost then you have to believe that a ghost may exist. And if a ghost exists, then oblivion might not be the end."

Of 2001, his most seminal work, he said it was about the search for God.

But his most revealing insight came from what he said about Napoleon: "He fascinates me. He was one of those rare men who moved history and moulded the destiny of their own times and of generations to come."

A comment that could be easily applied to the man whose vision and directorial techniques influenced film as an art form in the 20th Century.

The Stanley Kubrick exhibition is at the Deutsches Filmmuseum and the Deutsche Architektur Museum in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, until 4 July.

Kubrick's passion for Napoleon revealed
25 Jun 02  |  Entertainment
Turning sci-fi into fact
03 Jan 02  |  UK News
Kubrick's Odyssey: Out of this world
30 Mar 01  |  Entertainment
Strangelove scripts sold
13 Jul 00  |  Entertainment


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific