Giannetti, Louis D.


Giannetti, Louis D.
   Known primarily for his reader-friendly and therefore popular textbook Understanding Movies (1972, and many subsequent revised editions), Louis Giannetti devoted Chapter 17 (“Grey Matter”) of his Masters of the American Cinema (Prentice-Hall, 1981) to STANLEY KUBRICK’s career, up to and including A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. This substantial chapter begins by characterizing Kubrick as “the least romantic of American filmmakers,” a “cold, ironic, detached” filmmaker who was “unsentimental about the human species,” but a “bravura technician. ” In his youth, Kubrick “was liberal and humanist in his values, but his vision has grown darker over the years,” Giannetti claimed. “He believes that most people are irrational, weak, and incapable of objectivity where their own interests are involved. ”This constitutes “a pessimistic view of the human condition. ” Giannetti concludes his survey by agreeing with Hollis Alpert that Kubrick “is this country’s most important filmmaker, fit to stand on a pedestal beside Europe’s best, Bergman and Fellini. ” Born and raised in Natick, Massachusetts, Giannetti took his B. A. degree in English at Boston University and his M. A. and Ph. D. degrees at the University of Iowa, specializing in Theater Arts and English and American literature. He began writing on film for Cleveland magazine after taking an academic post at Case Western Reserve University. His theoretical writings are collected in Godard and Others: Essays in Film Form (1975). In 1986 he collaborated with Scott Eyman to write A Brief History of Film, also published by Prentice-Hall. Chapter 12 of A Brief History traces Kubrick’s career through Barry Lyndon and The Shining. The revised edition was published in 2001.
   J. M. W.

The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. . 2002.

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