Stanley Kubrick - Warner Home Video Directors Series (1980)

Directors: Stanley Kubrick
Box set, Anamorphic, Widescreen, Color
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
Number of discs:
Studio: Warner Home Video



Description: Includes: 2001: A Space Odyssey (Two-Disc Special Edition), A Clockwork Orange (Two-Disc Special Edition), The Shining (Two-Disc Special Edition), Eyes Wide Shut (Two-Disc Special Edition), Full Metal Jacket (Deluxe Edition), and A Life in Pictures (documentary). -

Legendary director Stanley Kubrick was a control freak who was particularly fastidious about how his movies were presented. There are accounts of Kubrick visiting film festival cinemas where his films would be shown beforehand to determine if the cinemas are up to scratch. In one instance he made a hapless cinema owner remove the entire front row of seats because he felt it was too close to the screen!

After finishing 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968 he would film all his movies in the same aspect ratio as that of a standard television screen so as to prevent pan 'n' scan technicians from cropping his images for home video releases. For this same reason he also insisted on outdated mono audio tracks ? so that lazy cinema owners wouldn't mess the sound mix with wrong channels and sound coming from the wrong speakers, etc. You can't really mess up a mono track see. (Woody Allen is exactly the same by the way. Of all his movies only Manhattan is filmed in wide screen.)

When the DVD revolution began Kubrick was also opposed to any extras such as director's commentaries and featurettes which he felt would detract from the movies themselves. Audiences should make up their own minds without the director or anyone else around to tell them what to think. All of which explains why the initial releases of Kubrick's films on DVD were such bare bone affairs ? they could have added more content, but Kubrick probably didn?t want them to.

One wonders how Stanley Kubrick would have felt about this new box set containing five of his Warner Bros. movies, namely 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut. One cannot imagine that he'd too be happy because this first entry in Warner Bros.? new directors series come with all the accoutrements one would expect of major DVD releases nowadays: audio commentaries, theatrical trailers, featurettes, 5.1 Dolby Surround sound re-mixes, a 142 minutes-long documentary on the film-maker titled Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures ? you name it. In fact of all the five movies collected here only one (Full Metal Jacket) isn?t given the whole, lavish two-disc treatment.

Of course these are the sort of things that movie buffs - and in particular fans of this director - would expect from a box set such as this, but when one considers how subservient Warner were to Kubrick's whims and demands, it is obvious that Stanley Kubrick - Warner Home Video Directors Series is the sort of release that probably would never have seen the light of day had the director still been alive.

Of the five movies collected here, three at most are of particular interest to genre fans, namely 2001, Clockwork Orange and The Shining. A pity the director's Dr. Strangelove isn't collected as well, but this movie was given a spectacular 40th Anniversary re-release DVD recently and is available separately.

Ironically practically all the movies here were met by scathing reviews upon their initial release, but all of them grew in stature as time passed and are today regarded as modern classics. Well, except maybe for Eyes Wide Shut and for many the jury is still out on The Shining . . . (Author Stephen King disliked Kubrick's version so much that he was later instrumental in making a new version for television years later.)

One minor disappointing aspect about the box set is the rather lackluster and sparse cover art work which for some reason differs from their more colorful sold separately counterparts. Still, for fans of this director's work hungry for some decent DVD re-releases of his movies this is an auspicious and overdue start to Warner Home Video's Directors Series and one wonders which movie director will be featured next . . .

Here is the complete rundown:

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) extra features:
Channel 4 documentary: 2001: The Making of a Myth
Standing on the Shoulders of Kubrick: The Legacy of 2001
Vision of a Future Passed: The Prophecy of 2001
2001: A Space Odyssey - A Look Behind the Future
2001: FX and Early Conceptual Artwork
Look: Stanley Kubrick!
Audio-only interview with Stanley Kubrick
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

A Clockwork Orange (1971) features:
Channel 4 documentary: Still Tickin': The Return of Clockwork Orange
New featurette: Making A Clockwork Orange
Career profile: O Lucky Malcolm!
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

The Shining (1980) disc two features:
Documentary: "The Making of the Shining"
Three new featurettes: "View from The Overlook: Crafting the Shining",
"The Visions of Stanley Kubrick", and "Wendy Carlos, Composer"
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Extra features included are a new featurette and a theatrical trailer.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999) - features:
Documentary: The Last Movie: Stanley Kubrick and Eyes Wide Shut
Lost Kubrick: The Unfinished Films of Stanley Kubrick
Kubrick's 1998 D.W Griffith Award acceptance speech
Interview gallery with Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, and Steven Spielberg
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

Kubrick's Lolita and Barry Lyndon have also been re-released and are to be sold separately. This version of Eyes Wide Shut is the so-called uncensored international version which the rest of the world has seen but will now be available in the States for the first time. Don't worry: you didn't miss much.



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