Magazine September 21, 2020, Issue

The Sources of Stanley Kubrick’s Mystique

A scene from Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut (Warner Bros.)
Stanley Kubrick: American Filmmaker, by David Mikics (Yale University Press, 248 pp., $26)

At what point does a filmmaker cease to benefit from an obsessed fan base? In the case of Stanley Kubrick, that point is reached when such obsessiveness starts to obscure the actual qualities of his films.

Trust me. When it comes to being obsessive about the maker of Dr. Strangelove (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), and A Clockwork Orange (1971), I know whereof I speak. In 1999, when I was 16, I spent my summer vacation seeing Kubrick’s final film, Eyes Wide Shut. From mid July through early September, I saw the film ten times in all. Every week or

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This article appears as “An Elusive Filmmaker” in the September 21, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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Peter Tonguette — Mr. Tonguette writes about the arts for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Examiner, The American Conservative, and other publications.

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