Gaffney, Robert

Gaffney, Robert
   Robert Gaffney was secondunit photographer on LOLITA and 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. He had known STANLEY KUBRICK since the days when Kubrick was just beginning his career in films, making low-budget movies. Because Kubrick shot Lolita in England, he asked Gaffney to film exterior footage around the United States to establish the American setting of the story. Denis Stock, the second-unit director, Gaffney, and a third photographer took to the road in two station wagons, photographing material that could be employed in the scenes where Humbert (JAMES MASON) and Lolita (SUE LYON) drive across the country. The actors would be filmed in a mock-up of a station wagon on a soundstage in England, while the traveling footage shot by the second unit was projected on a screen behind them. Gaffney and his colleagues also shot some footage of one of their station wagons tooling down the highway to represent the station wagon carrying Humbert and Lolita. The other station wagon had a hole in the roof; at times Gaffney photographed the scenery by standing on the seat, shooting through the hole.
   Their footage was turned over to Kubrick back in England after he completed principal photography on Lolita. Kubrick and his wife CHRISTIANE KUBRICK joined Gaffney to shoot some additional second-unit photography, driving the U. S. freeways in the two station wagons. "We spent two or three weeks on the road," Gaffney told VINCENT LOBRUTTO. "We drove up through Rhode Island and then over through Albany to Newport," with Kubrick "setting up the shots they way he wanted them. . . . We had the cheapest crew in the world. "
   Kubrick subsequently called upon Gaffney to do second-unit photography on 2001. Gaffney remembers Kubrick instructing him to film scenes in Monument Valley, Utah, flying as low over the terrain as possible. Kubrick wanted him to photograph footage of the Star Gate sequence near the end of the film, when astronaut Dave Bowman (KEIR DULLEA) is plunged into a stunning space corridor. As his voyage nears its end, he spies some familiar shapes from the window of his space pod: first a mountain range, then a canyon appears, awash in varying shades of color and photographed in negative. This material was filmed by Gaffney over Page, Arizona, and Monument Valley; it emerged in the final film as an alien landscape over which Bowman flies after his space pod leaves the Star Gate corridor of light. Gaffney continued to help Kubrick from time to time on other projects, including Kubrick’s aborted film about NAPOLEON. He always enjoyed working with Kubrick. "Stanley is a man with an open mind," he says in LoBrutto’s book. Kubrick would ask him his advice about such aspects of the filmmaking process as whether or not 2001 should be shot in 70 mm or Cinerama. "He will listen, evaluate it, and see whether it works for him . . . I spent hours on the phone with him. "
   ■ Bizony, Piers, 2001: Filming the Future, rev. ed. (London: Aurum, 2000);
   ■ LoBrutto,Vincent, Stanley Kubrick: A Biography (New York: Da Capo, 1999).

The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. . 2002.

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