Harlan, Jan

Harlan, Jan
(1937– )
   STANLEY KUBRICK’s executive producer from BARRY LYNDON onward was born in Germany in 1937, the younger brother of Susanne Christiane Harlan, who would later marry Kubrick. After Christiane was born in 1932 in Braunschweig, Germany, the Harlans moved to Karlsruhe. Soon after the outbreak of World War II, Jan and his sister were separated from their parents and evacuated to Reihen, a village 30 kilometers south of Heidelberg, in 1941. Growing up in Nazi Germany during World War II, of course, was a trial for both the young Harlans.
   Christiane appeared in Kubrick’s PATHS OF GLORY (1957), and they were married the following year in Hollywood. Jan Harlan was educated in Germany and later worked in the field of business planning in Frankfurt, Zurich, and Vienna. He emigrated to the United States in 1963 and formed a close relationship with his brother-in-law, Stanley Kubrick. Harlan returned to Frankfurt and Zurich, and it was not until 1969 that he decided to accept an invitation from Stanley to join him for the making of NAPOLEON, a film project to be shot in Romania. Harlan was to be a liaison with the Romanian government and the Romanian army, which supported the project, in planning the production. He moved to England for early preproduction on the picture. When the project was abandoned, he stayed in Britain and worked as production assistant on Kubrick’s A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971). Harlan was, in due course, put in charge of business matters for Kubrick, and was the link between Kubrick and the outside world for all financial and legal affairs. Asked how Kubrick managed to work in England for a fraction of what it cost to film in Hollywood, Harlan told Peter Bogdanovich,“On our pictures,we spent in a week what big movies spend in a day. That’s why we could afford to have almost a year of shooting. We had a very small crew. ” Harlan notes that, when Kubrick died in March 1999, the family got permission from the local authorities in St. Albans, the town near the Kubrick estate, to have him buried in the garden. “In Hertfordshire it was only the second time—the first was George Bernard Shaw. ” Harlan was one of the several mourners who spoke at the burial service. Harlan subsequently decided to direct a featurelength documentary, STANLEY KUBRICK:A LIFE IN PICTURES, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2001. Inventively edited by MELANIE VINER CUNEO, the film includes appearances by numerous actors who appeared in Kubrick’s films, along with observations by other major directors. The actors range from PAUL MAZURSKY (who later became a director himself ), who appeared in Kubrick’s very first feature, FEAR AND DESIRE (1953) to TOM CRUISE, who starred in Kubrick’s last film EYES WIDE SHUT (1999). (Cruise also narrates the documentary. ) The directors who appear in the film include STEVEN SPIELBERG, Martin Scorsese, and Woody Allen.
   Although Harlan was related by marriage to Kubrick and is now associated with the Kubrick estate, his documentary is by no means a hagiography intended to canonize the director. The film goes chronologically through Kubrick’s life, using his 13 films as a frame. Harlan and his collaborators-ANTHONY FREWIN, associate producer, and Melanie Viner Cuneo, the editor—felt strongly that they were making a film about a great man they all respected and honored. “Stanley does not need to be further polished,” Harlan told this writer in correspondence; so there was no “censorship” involved in the telling of Kubrick’s story—critical remarks and controversial topics are all included in the documentary. One of the bonuses which the documentary affords the viewer is the home-movie footage made by Jack Kubrick, Stanley’s father, which show Stanley as a child pounding the piano or jitterbugging with his kid sister, while he mugs for the camera. Some of these shots are repeated during the film’s closing credits, so that the last image of Kubrick that we see in the movie is the cheerful youngster who would one day become a filmmaking genius. The review of the movie from the Berlin Film Festival, where it premiered, calls Stanley Kubrick:A Life in Pictures “the definitive documentary on the mercurial, immensely gifted, challenging and usually controversial filmmaker. ”
   ■ Bogdanovich, Peter, “What They Say About Stanley Kubrick,” New York Times Magazine (July 4, 1999), pp. 18+;
   ■ LoBrutto,Vincent, Stanley Kubrick: A Biography (New York: Da Capo, 1999);
   ■ Salamon, Julie, “A Memorial to Kubrick: Stanley Kubrick: a Life in Pictures,New York Times, June 12, 2001, sec. B, p. 8;
   ■ Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, dir. Jan Harlan, 141 min. ,Warner Bros. Home Video Production, 2001;
   ■ Stratton, David, “Film Review: Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures,Variety, March 20, 2001, pp. 2+.

The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. . 2002.

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