Friday, 12 November 2010

Masters Of Cinema
Stanley Kubrick

Masters Of Cinema: Stanley Kubrick
Masters Of Cinema: Stanley Kubrick, by Bill Krohn, is the English version of Collection Grandes Cineastes: Le Livre Stanley Kubrick, published by the excellent Cahiers Du Cinema magazine. Krohn also wrote Masters Of Cinema: Alfred Hitchcock and Hitchcock At Work.

Unfortunately, the book is inadequate as an introduction to Kubrick's films, and is too superficial for anyone with prior knowledge of the director's work. Kubrick's five years as a photojournalist are summarised in a single paragraph, while trivial details (a wine bottle in Lolita; numerology in The Shining) are given un-necessary prominence. Krohn's analysis - mostly Freudian - is limited, and, even ten years after Eyes Wide Shut's release, Krohn refuses to engage with it, concluding simply that "its mystery remains".

Most of the book's illustrations are overly familiar publicity stills; the cover and frontispiece images are awful. Considering that the book is barely 100 pages long, it has too many full-page photos, and its half-page profile of Peter Sellers is both incongruous and superfluous. The short bibliography omits some significant texts. Paul Duncan's book Stanley Kubrick, published by Taschen, is a far superior concise introduction to the director's career.

2 comment(s):

nessuno2001 said...

I read the Italian version and unfortunately it is a very poor essay. The text is filled with factual errors and Krohn's interpretations and ideas about Kubrick's films are quite superfluous. The more recent the film is, the worse: until Paths of Glory it is readable with some interest, then it becomes a bore and in some point just silly.

Matthew Hunt said...

I agree. His book Hitchcock At Work was excellent, but this is very poor. Now that the book has actually arrived, I've expanded the blog entry above.