Are you one of the league who find Kubrick's cinema fascinating and wonderful but are also confused by seeming peculiarities? Are you certain those often under-the-radar-over-the-head weirdnesses must mean something? Or maybe you're just curious?
Well, I am the person who "discovered" the open door opposite Room 237 (and a lot more besides) so if you're looking for Kubrick high strangeness then you've come to the right place. But if I delve into the high strangeness, the oddities are simply a component part of analyzing the themes and ideas that Kubrick carries from film to film.
Here's my request. That you, please, think in terms of art with intention, which isn't conspiracy and has nothing to do with conspiracy theories. Would you think of music composed of unspoken themes as being conspiracy? What's difficult is teasing out the artist's conscious intention as versus accidental as versus the viewer's role as an active pilgrim walking the road that art provides to accessing the unconscious and mythic archetypes. As an author and artist, I know what it is to hope for at least a few such pilgrims, confident they are the minority, that most think in terms of being only entertained, and to attempt to compose for both. Even with those who are just wanting a good story, or who want to dissect a film for practical good-cinema purposes, the majority would likely admit that it is the inherent mystery in Kubrick's films that functions as their primary gravity. It is that sense of something deeper, a subterranean coherence that provides the glue, that compels individuals to return and perhaps begin to move, without their even realizing it, from a passive state into a more active, participatory role where art becomes a transformative experience rather than just visual popcorn.
Note on method of analysis and a kind of disclaimer:
For the real film buff, I've gone through and listed shots, images from many, and length of time of shots. Because I raised myself on the old Evergreen Black Cat cinema books which took pains to do the same and loved studying them. And because that is the only way to really begin to do a good, involved analysis of Kubrick's films, which are very complex internally and in their relationships as an oeuvre.
Kubrick's films elicit a lot of whys and wherefores,"What does this mean?", because he included so many seeming puzzles inviting review, mysteries that demanded second and third notice, editing quirks and both subtle and obvious shifts in staging. My analyses haven't much to do with the psychology, but look at Kubrick's choices of stories, music, places he filmed, staging, the differences between the literature and the script that made it onto celluloid and how he chose to edit it all together, carrying themes from film to film, and based on these elements I dip into a variety of possible influences. But, of course, I do not know for certain about any of my insights, and I could very well be in error from beginning to end. So, please keep in mind I make no claim on knowing anything but that art should never be dissected like this and I apologize to Stanley for being a cinema heathen, well, except for the fact that I believe Stanley constructed his films for spelunking, for following the clues in the maze, so no apologies really are necessary.
My suggestion, if you're really interested in studying the films, is to start with my analysis of 2001. You will be glad for it as an introduction.
Link to the main Kubrick page for all the analyses.
I used to have all these posts on my blog, but converted them to html as Wordpress couldn't really handle the load.
Part One. Subheadings: On the "Funeral Music for Queen Mary" and Blood as Redemption - Mary's Husband, William of Orange, and the Orange Lodge; The Two Shades of Red; Introducing the Milk Bar and Alex and His Droogs; The Irish Bum - A Glimpse of Alex's Rage Which Distinguishes Him from His Peers; The Casino - The Famous Theater of the Principality of Orange (Arauncio) and Theatricality in A Clockwork Orange - On "The Thieving Magpie" - A Ballet - A History of Violence as Condoned by the Big Heads; Joyriding - The Durango; HOME - The Orange Globe - The Bookcases and the Hidden Blackboards - "Singing in the Rain" and the Secret Singer - Burgess as the Writer, Alexander; The Great Bird - Kilroy - The Ode to Joy and Brotherhood; On the Blackboards and Some Correspondences Between the Milk Bar, The Tunnel, and HOME (1-92, about 16:47)
Part Two. Subheadings: 18 A Linear North and the Cubist Blackboard - The Mural - Alex's Bedroom and HOME - Alex's Thieving of Clockworks - The Relationship of Cat Ballou to A Clockwork Orange and Use of Imagery From - The Theatrical Dancing Christs - Vampirism and Blood Religion; A Pain in the Gulliver - The Golden Apartment - Beethoven's Death Portrait Alongside the "Breathing" Beethoven - The Change from a Large Bulb to a Small Bulb in Alex's Room - Mr. Deltoid and the Extra Set of Teeth; The March Through the Drug Store (Music as a Drug) - Love is Colder Than Death - The Relationship of Fahey's The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death to A Clockwork Orange - The William Tell Overture and the Invisible Bowman - The Rainbow Phallus Women as the Gate to a Change, as with the Rainbow Women in Eyes Wide Shut (93-155, about 29:03)
Part Three Subheadings: Alex Unseated as Leader - The Declaration of a Move from Infancy to Manhood - Alex Regains Authority; The Duke of New York Pub - The Duke of York, The Orangemen, and the Battle of the Diamond; The Cat Woman and a Change of Fortune - The Paintings as Oracles and scenes from Alex's Life - The Cat Woman as Sphinx - A Comparison with Eyes Wide Shut - The Sphinx and the Chariot; In Police Custody - Alex Stripped of His Bloody Eye Cuffs - The End of the Line for Deltoid; Violence in A Clockwork Orange; The Use of the Overture and its Relationship to Concealing, Redemptive Blood (156-264, about 47:18)
Part Four. Subheadings: The Incarceration of Alex - Comparing the Prison Receiving Area with Home - Time Arrest - The White Lines of Restraint; The Prison Chapel - The Twin Blackboards of Home Merged in the Single Prison Blackboard - The Use of the Tale of Jacob and Esau - The Red Band; The Prison Library - The Necessity of the Persecutor of the Persecuted Christ - The Catechism of Revelation; The Minister of the Interior - The Pyramid and Circle in the Exercise Yard - On the Literature on the Desk in Alex's Prison Cell and That on the Desk of the Prison Governor - On Pomp and Circumstance, Othello and Lodovicio - Lodovicio the Humanist - The Theme of False Appearances and Erroneous Blame; The Prison Governor's Office - Alex Signs for the Ludovico Treatment - On the New View as Opposed to the Old Eye for an Eye (265-323, about 1:07:17)
Part Five. Subheadings are: Alex Transferred into the Care of the Ludovico Medical Facility; Alex Begins His Treatment With Serum-114; Alex Described as "Chosen" and Serum-114's Relationship to ChRM - 141 as a Permutation of 114, and its Commandment for Alex to Make His Suicidal Leap as Programmed in the Ludovico Cinema; The First Round at the Ludovico Cinema; The Second Meeting with Brodsky in Alex's Room at the Ludovico Facility; The Second Round of Films in the Ludovico Cinema - Comparing the First and Second Rounds of Films; The Projection Light; Overture to the Sun/Son - The Testing of Alex's Reformation into the Perfect Christian (324-453. about 1:26:04)
Part Six. Subheadings: Alex Revisits 18A-Linear North - The Art Work as an Oracle and Mirror of Alex's Life - What Will He Do Now; Alex Revisits the Irish Bum - The Mural as Representing the Embankment - Alex as 666; Decoding the Mural at 18A-Linear North - The Parcel and the Note Which Alex Delivers to the Clerk at the Music/Drug Store - Another Look at the William Tell Overture and its Relationship to the Mural and Embankment - Leviathan as Expressed in the Mural and Alex as 666 (454-528, about 1:39:26)
Part Seven. The Near Drowning of Alex - On the Symbolic Versus Literalism - 114 and its Permutations in the Timeline of the Film, Alex's Drowning During 1:41 and its Connection with the Mention of the Feeling of Drowning During 1:14; The Return to Home - On the Bodybuilder; Singing in the Rain Redux; Spaghetti and Wine for Alex; Alex Takes a Flying Leap - A Comparison of the Inspiration for Alex's Suicidal Leap with the Programming Alex Receives in the Book - Ode to Joy as a Death Song - The Suicide Scherzo, Alex' Leap, and the Dancing Christs - Bringing the "Divine Edgar" into the Mix (529-595, about 2:01:03)
Part Eight. Alex Resurrected - The Hermetic Pelican and the Red Blood of the Dragon; Alex Makes the Papers Again, Prompting a Visit from His Parents - Art, Reconciliation and the Great Work - On Paisley and Basel and Basilisks - The Gift Basket; The Psychiatrist - The Duke of York Pub and the Psychiatrist - Humbert Humber's Divine Edgar's "Ulalume" and Psyche - A Comparison of the Subject of Deja Vu in A Clockwork Orange and Deja Vue in The Shining - Memory and Forgetfulness; An Understanding Between Friends - Alex's Toes Behind the White Lines - A Round of Applause (596-678)
The Relationship Between the Chess Game in 2001, Dave’s Dinner in the Room Beyond the Infinite, and Danny on the Reversed Rug in The Shining, with notes also on Clockwork Orange
Notes on the Mungojerrie Effect and the Record Store Section of A Clockwork Orange. In which I discuss some of the musicial choices and a possible relationship to other films. Also a humorous and relevant aside on T. S. Eliot's poetic cats, Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer.