title: The Killing
director: Stanley Kubrick
cast: Sterling Hayden, Elisha Cook Jr., Marie Windsor
one sentence or less: In his second feature, Stanley Kubrick shows glimmers of his bright future as one of film’s greatest directors.
Stanley Kubrick stepped on the set of “The Killing” at the ripe old age of 28 with a single feature and several shorts under his belt. Armed with a B-Feature budget(approximately $320,000), a cast of aging film noir stars, and little studio support (United Artists relegated the finished film to the second half of a double feature), Kubrick spun Lionel White’s short novel “Clean Break” into a classic caper film. It might not be able to stand amongst the best of Kubrick’s films, but it is an entertaining little heist film with equal bits suspense and humor that showcases an emerging talent in director Kubrick.
I made this video as an independent project while a junior Film and Media Culture major at Middlebury College. It was made, partly, in response to several interesting ideas proposed by my project advisor, Chris Keathley, that dealt with the disjunction of sound and image, as well as the video essay as a means of personal expression. The other inspiration came from Chris Marker’s “Sans Soleil” (the film’s title is derived from a line in that film), as well as the personal work of Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin. It was slated to screen at an exhibition of independent film work at Middlebury, but I declined to show it for personal reasons. I now, however, feel comfortable showing it to whomever cares to view it.
This film is my own meditation on my family’s history, as well as my place within that history. I tried to make the audio mirror the images in the beginning of the film, but as it goes on the audio and image become more disjointed, forcing the viewer to question the relationship between the two. I hope you enjoy.
Here’s a link to an interesting and ongoing discussion over at Girish Shambu’s blog about DVD Commentaries and the up-and-coming format of the Video Essay. An article in FILMKRANT by scholar and critic Adrian Martin provided some of the fuel to this discussion fire.
It’s a great read and includes some fascinating comments (including one by my former professor Chris Keathley) that lead to exceptional articles. I’m going to refrain from distilling all the great links here because I want to encourage all to go and read the entire post and discussion thread. But, here’s a hint: Catherine Grant at Film Studies for Free (which is also linked to on the sidebar) is where most of those great links are coming from…Peruse at your leisure.
Also, while I’m here: I watched John Huston’s “Across the Pacific” a few night’s ago on TCM. It reunites “The Maltese Falcon” stars Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, and Sidney Greenstreet and tells of espionage in the United States during the nascent days of its involvement in World War II. Understanding that the film’s plot had to be shuffled as a result of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, a question still remains: if most of the film takes place in Panama, why is it called “Across the Pacific?” The setting can be changed, why not the title?