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by Thomas Allen Nelson

ePub Kubrick, New and Expanded Edition: Inside a Film Artist's Maze download
Thomas Allen Nelson
Indiana University Press; New and Expanded edition (June 22, 2000)
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Stanley Kubrick ranks among the most important American film makers of his generation, but his work is often misunderstood because it is widely diverse in subject matter and seems to lack thematic and tonal consistency. Thomas Nelson's perceptive and comprehensive study of Kubrick rescues him from the hostility of auteurist critics and discovers the roots of a Kubrickian aesthetic, which Nelson defines as the "aesthetics of contingency."

After analyzing how this aesthetic develops and manifests itself in the early works, Nelson devotes individual chapters to Lolita, Dr. Stangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, and The Shining.

For this expanded edition, Nelson has added chapters on Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut, and, in the wake of the director's death, reconsidered his body of work as a whole. By placing Kubrick in a historical and theoretical context, this study is a reliable guide into―and out of―Stanley Kubrick's cinematic maze.

  • By far the finest book on Kubrick, and one of the best full-length studies of a single director. The new chapters on Full Metal Jacket and especially Eyes Wide Shut are fascinating.
    I can't say I always agree with Mr. Nelson's take on some things. But the intelligence with which his ideas are set forth make the book more than worth the time and money.

  • Far to theoretical and complex for the sake of complexity. In Mr. Nelson's world every single Kubrickian shot and scene must somehow reflect ALL of his other work in all of his other films... "Alex unceremoniously falls face down in a plate of spaghetti. Like Bowman, he awakens a prisoner in an unfamiliar room (French Provincial decor), but unlike the Star-Child in his movement through the monolith, Alex and the camera go into space through a window, only to crash-land on the earth below." & it goes on and on... Tiresome, tedious and verbose. But that's just my opinion.

  • This book is amazing, in question of book of analysis of Kubrick films this is the one.

  • Love the man, love his movies? A must have! No questions asked.


  • Nelson's book is certainly well researched and an ideal handbook for the serious Kubrick fan but it's author's devotion to his subject, despite his knowledge of Kubricks work and his own obvious colossal intellect makes one feel that they are not only being talked down to but that Kubrick was the greatest film maker in the history of cinema and any problems with his movies were entirely the fault of other people. One of the books major inadequacies is Nelsons refusal to acknowledge the directors participation in Spartacus, other than about a page and a half at the beginning of the chapter on Lolita. This strikes one as very odd and overshadowed my reading of the book as Spartacus is a well made movie, now considered something of a minor classic. Nelson also seems to be reading a great deal into each movie based on his own criteria for Kubrick, which is fine, it's his work after all - but this leads to the same kind of frigidity often associated with Kubricks films, a coldness that excludes both the characters within the film and, more importantly, the viewer. Kubricks Maze is ideal for the film scholar eager to confirm their own assumptions, perhaps, or for those seeking an insight into the film makers own process- which is something Nelson captures admirably, but as a definitive work it feels overly analytical and excludes other opinions or ideas about the movies discussed.

  • Kubrick: Inside a Film Artist's Maze by Thomas Allen Nelson one of the best Kubrick books available. Nelson discusses all of the films, and devotes a chapter to each one beginning with Lolita. There are photographs, too, but the printing is so lousy for these that they are easily ignored. The text is the most important material here. Nelson is an astute critic, and his text is informed by a comprehensive knowledge of film history and the realist and formalist schools. Although he uses the term mise en scène more times that I would care to tell you, his prose is immediate, conversational, and engaging. Here's one example from his 30-page essay on The Shining:
    Early in the film, for instance, they learn how to negotiate the corridors of the hotel ("to leave a trail of breadcrumbs," to quote Wendy), and in once scene Danny moves in a circle around the Colorado Lounge on his Big Wheel tricycle, while Jack tends to remain stationary within its center. Wendy and Danny explore the hedge maze and complete a circular journey that travels into and out of its diabolical design. Jack, on the other hand, imitates what Borges characterizes as the death-in-life of the "North" (that is, northern European intellectualism)-that yearning for a totally rationalized world without those crevices of unreason that arouse despair in some and imagination in others-rather than the "South's" desire to traverse the maze and engage its multiplicity, to confront fate and choice, and to outface oblivion in an act of creation.

  • There can be no greater praise for a book about Kubrick than to say that it is worthy of its subject. This one is. The opening chapter gives the bare biographical facts, and attempts to dispel a few of the myths about Kubrick's personality - not least the idea that, for example, a man's real or journalistically endowed flying phobia should have the least relevance for a viewer or a critic of his films. The next chapter analyses the early films up to the first masterpiece, Paths of Glory; and each subsequent film (except for the compromised Spartacus) has a chapter to itself. Nelson's critiques are detailed, comprehensive, thoroughly readable and constructive - which is to say, favourable. He appreciates the films and wishes others to appreciate them too. This revised and expanded edition contains, in the first chapter, a charming tribute to the director and, in two new chapters, analyses of Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut which show that, in the intervening years between The Shining and the present, Nelson's abilities have diminished as little as Kubrick's. All the essays in the book can be read and enjoyed for their own sake - I was especially fond of the one on A Clockwork Orange, long before I was able to see the film itself - but they will also make you long to be back there in the dark, sharing the artist's vision with the eyes Nelson has widened for you.