Perveler, Martin

Perveler, Martin
(1910– )
   Martin Perveler was an uncle of STANLEY KUBRICK. He was born in New York on March 8, 1910, a brother of Kubrick’s mother Gertrude; he helped to finance Kubrick’s first feature film. Perveler became a pharmacist in 1938 and eventually founded a chain of pharmacies in Los Angeles. When Stanley Kubrick decided to make his first feature, FEAR AND DESIRE, he sought financial backing from his father, Dr. Jack Kubrick, and his uncle Martin, who would receive an official screen credit as coproducer.
   Perveler was willing to invest in his nephew’s film because he was impressed with the shorts that Stanley had already made and saw him as a promising young filmmaker. Perveler offered Kubrick a contract which stipulated that Kubrick would have to pay him a percentage of the profits, not only of Fear and Desire, but of all of his subsequent films as well. Kubrick flatly refused to sign a contract that would have him paying his uncle for the rest of his professional life; and he visited his uncle in Los Angeles in order to obtain more favorable terms in return for Perveler’s financial backing. “I’m a businessman,” was his uncle’s laconic response. Stanley and Uncle Martin were still arguing even as Perveler drove his nephew to the airport. Finally, minutes before Kubrick’s plane took off, Perveler relented and excised the percentage clause from the contract, agreeing to make a one-picture deal with Kubrick on Fear and Desire. In retrospect it is clear that from the outset of his career he was going to drive a hard bargain with investors in his films. As JAMES B. HARRIS, coproducer of some of Kubrick’s early films, has observed, Kubrick started out as a shrewd businessman and remained so. Fear and Desire centers on some soldiers lost behind enemy lines in a forest, so Kubrick shot the forest scenes on location in the San Gabriel Mountains, near Los Angeles. This enabled Uncle Martin to keep an eye on how Kubrick was spending his production funds. While he was filming in the mountains, Kubrick went over budget, so he drove down to Los Angeles with two of the cast members in order to finagle an additional $5,000 from his uncle. He was determined to get the $5,000 he needed to finish the picture—and he did.
   Fear and Desire never earned back its initial investment, however, although JOSEPH BURSTYN, an independent distributor,was able to book the movie into some art houses. Not surprisingly, Martin Perveler did not invest in Kubrick’s next independent feature, KILLER’S KISS, so Kubrick turned to another relative, Kirk Douglas in Paths of Glory (Author’s collection) a Bronx druggist, to help finance Killer’s Kiss.
   ■ LoBrutto, Vincent, Stanley Kubrick: A Biography (New York: Da Capo, 1999).

The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. . 2002.

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