Net Gains: A life in pictures - Stanley Kubrick
Saturday 13 March 1999
He won't be remembered for it, but the late Stanley Kubrick was one of the first users of email. Even back in the early 1980s, when he was working on Full Metal Jacket, the last film he would actually see through to its release, he was already an enthusiastic Internet user. He used email alongside faxes as a way of consolidating his reclusive lifestyle, and the Internet has reacted quickly to his death. One site had a tribute page up within a couple of hours of the announcement of his death last Sunday evening.
The Internet needed Kubrick more than he needed it; as with anybody who protected their privacy so fiercely, the medium didn't allow the lack of information to create a hurdle. It just filled in the vacuum with any facts that were to hand; there are websites stuffed with essays, rumours and gossip about the great man. One of the best Kubrick sites, if you're interested in an introduction to the man and his work, is the web version of the newsgroup alt.movies.kubrick, () which contains a host of trivia. Also worth a look is Stanley Kubrick: Master Film-maker (pages.prodigy. com/kubrick) and Kubrick: The Man, The Films (www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Alley/6693).
If you're looking for something a bit more specific, there are, as you might expect, an enormous number of sites devoted to 2001: A Space Odyssey, clearly a favourite with netheads. One of the best is Underman's 2001: 30 Years On (www.underview.com/ 2001.html). It features soundtrack files, essays and script analyses. As its introduction points out, "Stanley Kubrick, with Arthur C Clarke, presented their vision and left the audience to work out what it was about." Which is certainly true, if a little bit obvious.
Despite the fact that 2001 really defies any kind of analysis, it doesn't stop people from trying to do it anyway. One site, 2001 and Beyond the Infinite (www.modemac.com/ 2001), is rather over-earnest but does point out how influential the movie was to become to future film-makers. "The film shattered the juvenile notion that all alien beings in the movies were `invaders' with antennae on their heads whose sole reason for existence was to conquer Earth. The aliens of 2001 were neither menacing nor were they actors in cheap rubber costumes."
There is an official website for Stanley Kubrick's last film, Eyes Wide Shut (www.eyeswideshut.com), which was completed just before his death. However, at the time of going to press the movie studio had put nothing but a title page up. For any kind of gossip about the film which stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, the best place to head is ain't it cool news (www.aint-it-cool-news.com).
Finally, if you're a fan of HAL, the psychotic computer from 2001, check out MIT's site (mitpress.mit.edu/ e-books/Hal/contents.html) which has a host of fascinating discussions about the fact and fiction of computers. It remains to be seen what Internet users will make of Kubrick's legacy, but thanks to his legions of on-line fans, he'll live on in cyberspace. And that's something that probably would have amused one of the greatest film directors of all time.
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