Kubrick Tribute at LACMA

“Beyond the Infinite: Science Fiction After Kubrick”, a series of screenings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art of films that were influenced by 2001: A Space Odyssey, begins March 22. It’s part of the Kubrick exhibit at LACMA running through June 30. The LA Times reports —

The series opens with a true rarity — Saul Bass‘ only narrative feature, 1974’s “Phase IV.” Bass, a graphic designer renowned for his bold poster designs and movie title sequences, directed this thriller about a cosmic event that causes the rise of intelligent ants that kill people and animals alike. The film was restored by the Academy Film Archive and will feature Bass’ original ending.

Silent Running completes the first evening’s double feature. Still to come are THX 1138 and The Terminal Man on March 29, Dark Star and Solaris on March 30, Zardoz and Fantastic Planet on April 5, and Quintet and The Man Who Fell To Earth on April 6.

(Trivia fans take note — none of these movies, despite commercial success or devoted cult followings, won the Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo which Kubrick’s own films won twice – 2001 and A Clockwork Orange. As did 2010, a sequel written an directed by Peter Hyams.)

Additional interesting material is part of LACMA’s online Kubrick exhibit publicity

Stanley Kubrick was known for exerting complete artistic control over his projects; in doing so, he reconceived the genres in which he worked. The exhibition covers the breadth of Kubrick’s practice, beginning with his early photographs for Look magazine, taken in the 1940s, and continuing with his groundbreaking directorial achievements of the 1950s through the 1990s. His films are represented through a selection of annotated scripts, production photography, lenses and cameras, set models, costumes, and props. In addition, the exhibition explores Napoleon and The Aryan Papers, two projects that Kubrick never completed, as well as the technological advances developed and utilized by Kubrick and his team. By featuring this legendary film auteur and his oeuvre as the focus of his first retrospective in the context of an art museum, the exhibition reevaluates how we define the artist in the 21st century, and simultaneously expands upon LACMA’s commitment to exploring the intersection of art and film.

A LACMA blog post from one of Kubrick’s summer interns illustrates the director’s controlling style and command of details.

Another mystery quickly developed when the studio received a call from the manager of the Loews Capitol Theatre, MGM’s 5,500-seat showcase theater on Broadway (second largest in New York after Radio City Music Hall’s 5,700 seats). The projectionist was threatening to go on strike and close the theater, which meant no more showings of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Someone saying they were from MGM had gone into the projection booth and was using a chisel to file the aperture frame to remove the built up dust from the carbon arc projectors so that there would be sharp, not fuzzy, edges on the theater screen….

The smallest details, such as removing the built-up arclight dust, never escaped Stanley Kubrick, who was always finding new ways to ensure that his standards were met.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Makeup Artist Freeborn Dies

Stuart Freeborn, whose legacy as a movie makeup artist includes Yoda’s and Chewbacca’s looks in Star Wars, has died at the age of 98.

Freeborn’s six-decade career in film began in the 1930s, working with director Alexander Korda. In David Lean’s 1948 version of Oliver Twist he transformed Alec Guinness into Fagin.

Later he contributed to Peter Sellers’ portayal of multiple characters in Stanley Kubrick’s Doctor Strangelove, and designed the apes for 2001‘s “Dawn of Man” sequence.

He also created Jabba the Hutt for Star Wars.