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Kubrick's quick learning curve!,
This review is from: Stanley Kubrick Collection [DVD] (DVD)
Already an established magazine photographer in his early years, Kubrick moved into making films in a NY and not a Hollywood setting with use of non-studio locations where appropriate as shown her with the first two offerings, Killer's Kiss and The Killing. The first item of Kiss is interesting but now seems clearly very first faltering steps of what was to come, plus at an hour is long enough for the weak film noir story told. The best part is the gritty cinematography which for its time and post On The Waterfront, revealed a talent to be noticed.
The jump within less than a year later to The Killing with a much higher standard of acting (Sterling Hayden and Marie Windsor especially), tighter script and storytelling plus greater location shooting shows how quickly Kubrick was learning. The endless double crossing and well paced action around the race track robbery lifted it above the general standard of heist movies then released. The ending still seems a bit of a let down - you rob thousands of dollars and then try and transport it in a second hand flimsy suitcase still seems dumb for such a smart criminal - but overall Kubrick had arrived.
Reflecting his career trajectory of not repeating himself in any genre, in a year Kubrick had moved to a WW1 setting in Paths of Glory. Filmed in Europe it is still a brilliantly shot trench warfare film even nearly 60 years later with its story of treachery in French senior military leadership. The film reflects what was to happen at Verdun in 1917 of shooting French soldiers on charges of cowardice to maintain morale in the face of imminent military defeat, though the film makes no specific reference to those events. If there is a criticism it is that the action outweighs the quality of the character development, even though most of the actors turn in very credible performances and one can see why Kirk Douglas and Kubrick worked with each other later on Spartacus.
Great value box set and while extras are only the trailers these are fascinating vignettes in themselves on each film.