It was on this day, July 26, 1928, American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and editor Stanley Kubrick was born. Considered by many as having been one of America’s greatest filmmakers, his films, typically adaptations of novels or short stories, were noted for their “dazzling” and unique cinematography, attention to details to achieve realism and an inspired use of music scores.
Kubrick’s films covered a variety of genres, including war, black comedy, horror and science fiction. Also noted for being a perfectionist, Kubrick used painstaking care with scene staging. He also worked closely with his actors. Originally a photographer in New York City, Kubrick taught himself all aspects of film production and directing after graduating from high school.
His earliest films were made on a shoestring budget. After his Hollywood blockbuster, Spartacus, he spent most of the rest of his career living and filming in the United Kingdom where his home became his workplace. It’s here that he did his writing, research, editing and management of production details, allowing him to have complete artistic control, but with the rare advantage of having financial support from major Hollywood studios.
Several of his films broke new cinematic ground. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) was a science-fiction film noted for innovative visual effects and scientific realism. In Barry Lyndon (1975) Kubrick used specially-designed lenses to film scenes lit by natural candlelight. Kubrick’s The Shining (1980) was among the first feature films to make use of a Steadicam to allow stabilized and fluid tracking shots
Controversial, his films were met with mixed reviews, although they were acclaimed years later as masterpieces. Among these were Paths of Glory (1957), Lolita (1962) and A Clockwork Orange (1971). Widely admired by other prominent filmmakers, Orson Welles considered him a “giant” and a “great director”. Steven Spielberg called Space Odyssey his generation’s “big bang”.
From the mid-1950s onward, all of Kubrick’s films except The Shining were nominated for Oscars, Golden Globes or BAFTAs. His one personal win was for the special effects in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
1909 – Vivian Vance (Vivian Roberta Jones) (Emmy Award-winning actress: I Love Lucy ; The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, Lucy in Connecticut, The Lucy Show; died Aug 17, 1979)
1918 – Marjorie Lord (actress: The Danny Thomas Show, Sweet Surrender, Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!, Riding High, Sherlock Holmes in Washington)
1922 – Blake Edwards (McEdwards) (director: The Pink Panther, 10, Victor/Victoria, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Days of Wine and Roses, Switch, Peter Gunn; died Dec 15, 2010)
1922 – Jason Robards Jr. (Obie Award-winning actor: The Ice Man Cometh; Academy Award-winning Supporting Actor: All the President’s Men , Julia , Long Day’s Journey into Night, A Boy and His Dog, The Adventures of Huck Finn, Philadelphia, All the President’s Men, Tora! Tora! Tora!, The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre; son of actor Jason Robards, Sr.; died Dec 26, 2000)
1926 – James Best (actor: The Dukes of Hazzard, Ode to Billy Joe, The Naked and the Dead, Ma and Pa Kettle at the Fair)
1944 – Kiel Martin (actor: Hill Street Blues, Second Chance, Panic in Needle Park, Convicted: A Mother’s Story; died Dec 28, 1990)
1950 – Susan George (actress: Straw Dogs, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde [the musical], Jack the Ripper, Mandingo, Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry)
1959 – Kevin Spacey (Academy Award-winning actor: American Beauty ; Academy Award-winning supporting actor: The Usual Suspects ; A Time to Kill, Outbreak, Consenting Adults, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Lost in Yonkers, Henry and June, Working Girl, Wiseguy, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, L.A. Confidential)
1964 – Sandra Bullock (actress: Speed, Speed 2: Cruise Control, The Net, While You Were Sleeping, A Time to Kill, Hope Floats, Forces of Nature, Miss Congeniality, Fool Proof, Exactly 3:30, The Chambermaid)
1965 – Jeremy Piven (actor: The Larry Sanders Show, Ellen, Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde, Kiss the Girls, Cupid, Serendipity, Highway, Black Hawk Down)
1973 – Kate Beckinsale (actress: Pearl Harbor, One Against the Wind, Much Ado About Nothing, Haunted, Shooting Fish, Brokedown Palace, Alice Through the Looking Glass)
1993 – Taylor Momsen (actress: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Prophet’s Game, We Were Soldiers)