Schickel, Richard


Schickel, Richard
   Film critic Richard Schickel weighed in on STANLEY KUBRICK with his essay “The Futuristic Films of Stanley Kubrick” for Omni’s Screen Flights/Screen Fantasies: The Future According to Science Fiction Cinema, edited by Danny Peary and published by Doubleday/Dolphin in 1984. Schickel describes Kubrick as “one of the true intellectuals” in America “ever to make movies. ”The director’s “tricks with superbly misleading ex post facto rationalizations” compels “a certain caution when confronting his work critically. ” DR. STRANGELOVE is “not to be read solely as a cautionary tale comically put. ” In 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, Kubrick speculates on “the reverse of what he considered in Strangelove. It is not the triumph of unreason, but the triumph of reason that is presented here as a cause for alarm. ”The “bitterly ironic” A CLOCKWORK ORANGE lacks “the antic spirit of Dr. Strangelove, or the soaring optimism of 2001,” but it is,“in terms of sheer technique, Kubrick’s most arresting work as well as his most morally ambivalent one. ” In the last film of this “intellectual trilogy,” Schickel continues, Kubrick reminds us “that life is indeed too short, that salvation, rebirth of the kind he has proposed, is not a matter of hasty reform, not something to be quickly and easily achieved. ”
   Besides being the first-string film critic for Life magazine until it ceased publication in 1972 and for Time magazine since 1973, Richard Schickel wrote and produced several television specials and series, including Life Goes to the Movies, The Movie Crazy Years, Hollywood: You Must Remember This, and The Men Who Made the Movies for PBS. Besides a novel, Another I,Another You, he has written star biographies of Cary Grant, Marlon Brando, and James Cagney, as well as D. W. Griffith: An American Life (1984), and Clint Eastwood: A Biography (1996). Schickel’s critical studies include The Disney Version:The Life,Times,Art, and Commerce of Walt Disney (1968), Second Sight: Notes on Some Movies, 1965–1970, His Picture in the Papers: A Speculation on Celebrity in America, Based on the life of Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. (1973), and Intimate Strangers: The Culture of Celebrity (1985). The essay annotated above was also reprinted under the title “Stanley Kubrick:The Unbearable Brevity of Being” in the collection Schickel on Film (1989).
   J. M. W.

The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. . 2002.

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