Stanley Kubrick: Warner Directors Series

Stanley Kubrick: Warner Directors Series

Warner releases its third Stanley Kubrick box in the last decade, and it’s both a significant improvement and a disappointment for fans of the legendary director. While the five included films are replete with good-to-excellent new extras - insightful commentary tracks and informative featurettes - it’s what’s not here that’s problematic. Three films in Kubrick’s Warner filmography have been removed: Lolita, Barry Lyndon and, most shockingly for any comprehensive Kubrick overview, Dr. Strangelove. Of most interest is the unaltered version of Eyes Wide Shut making its North American debut; the 30 seconds or so of restored imagery from an infamous orgy scene significantly alters the viewers’ impression of the film, as the carnality emphasises the contrast with the masked-and-robed Puritans who observe. Three films Kubrick never finished - Napoleon, The Aryan Papers and A.I. (taken up by Steven Spielberg after his death) - get a thorough examination, as does Clockwork Orange’s Kubrick-imposed UK ban. 2001: A Space Odyssey’s legacy is well explored, but missing are the significant scenes Kubrick cut on the eve of the film’s release. Like all of Kubrick’s films, Full Metal Jacket is better in retrospect than the post-Platoon comparisons that plagued it upon release, while The Shining’s commentary from Steadicam inventor/operator Garrett Brown reveals key insights about the film. The Tom Cruise-narrated documentary A Life In Pictures is also included, but without Strangelove in particular, and also the other two features, no true overview of Kubrick’s sensibility can be found. A delight for obsessives, but you can’t help but feel like Kubrick’s story has not yet been properly told. Plus: audio Kubrick interview, Wendy Carlos featurette, more. (Warner)