Peter Cushing

English actor Peter Wilton Cushing, OBE sadly passed away 11 August 1994) Born 26 May 1913 he was known for his many appearances in Hammer Films, in which he played the sinister scientist Baron Frankenstein or the vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing, among many other roles. He appeared frequently opposite Christopher Lee, and occasionally Vincent Price. A familiar face on both sides of the Atlantic, Cushing’s best-known roles outside the Hammer productions include Sherlock Holmes, Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars (1977) and The Doctor in Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) and Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (1966), both films based on the Doctor Who television series.

He was Educated at Shoreham College. Cushing’s first job was a surveyors Assistant. He left this to take up a scholarship at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After working in repertory theatre in Worthing, Sussex, he left for Hollywood in 1939, debuting in The Man in the Iron Mask later that year, before returning to England in 1941 after starring in several films. In one, A Chump at Oxford (1940), he appeared opposite Laurel and Hardy. His first major film role was that of Osric in Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet (1948).In the 1950s, he worked in television, notably as Winston Smith in the BBC’s 1954 adaptation of the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), scripted by Nigel Kneale. Cushing also starred as Fitzwilliam Darcy in the BBC’s production of Pride and Prejudice (1952), as King Richard II in Richard of Bordeaux (1955), and as Raan, a Prospero-like character, in “Missing Link” (1975), an episode of Space: 1999. He also appeared in The Avengers and its successor series, The New Avengers. In 1956, he received the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor. Cushing also starred in film adaptation of the H.Rider Haggard novel “She” with Ursual Andress and Bernard Cribbins.

Cushing is also well known for playing Baron Victor Frankenstein and Professor Van Helsing in a long series of horror films produced by Hammer Film Productions in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. He was often cast alongside Christopher Lee, who became his best friend. His first appearances in his two most famous roles were in Terence Fisher’s films The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Dracula (1958). He later said that his career decisions entailed selecting roles where he knew that he would be accepted by the audience. “Who wants to see me as Hamlet? Very few. But millions want to see me as Frankenstein, so that’s the one I do.” Cushing and Christopher Lee in Nothing But The Night (1972) . Cushing also played Sherlock Holmes many times, originally in Hammer’s The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), the first Holmes adaptation to be filmed in colour. This was followed by a performance in 16 episodes of the BBC series Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes(1968), of which only six episodes survive.

Cushing reprised the role, now playing the detective in old age, in The Masks of Death (1984) for Channel 4. In the mid-1960s, Cushing played Dr. Who in two films (Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.) based on the BBC science-fiction TV series Doctor Who. He decided to play the part as a lovable and avuncular figure to counter the public’s image of him as a horror actor. In an interview published in ABC Film Review in November 1964, Cushing stated, “People look at me as if I were some sort of monster, but I can’t think why. In my macabre pictures, I have either been a monster-maker or a monster-destroyer, but never a monster. Actually, I’m a gentle fellow. Never harmed a fly. I love animals, and when I’m in the country I’m a keen bird-watcher.” In an interview published in 1966, he added, “I do get terribly tired with the neighbourhood kids telling me ‘My mum says she wouldn’t want to meet you in a dark alley’.

In 1976, Cushing was cast in Star Wars in the part of Grand Moff Tarkin. He was presented with ill-fitting riding boots, which pinched his feet so much that he was given permission by director George Lucas to play the role wearing his slippers. The camera operators filmed him only from the knees up, or else standing behind the table of the Death Star conference room set. As a result, Cushing’s role could not be expanded on in the later director’s cut versions with improved special effects (such as inserting a CGI Jabba the Hutt in place of a human for Han Solo to argue with), because the technicians could not replace the slippers with the boots. Peter Cushing was also later digitally added to the Star Wars spin-off film Rogue One as Grand Moff Tarkin.

Following Star Wars, Cushing continued to appear sporadically in film and television, as his health permitted. In 1969, he had appeared in a comedy play by Ernie Wise on The Morecambe and Wise Show on BBC2. Throughout the BBC era of the show, he would regularly join Wise and his comic partner, Eric Morecambe, on stage; he would constantly seek payment for his first appearance, wearily asking “Have you got my five pounds yet?” This running joke continued when the duo left the BBC and moved to Thames Television in 1978. Cushing appeared in their first special for Thames Television on 18 October, still asking to be paid, with the hosts repeatedly trying to get rid of him; at the end of the show, Morecambe placed some money in a wallet wired up to a bomb, in an attempt to blow Cushing up in exaggerated comedic style. In the duo’s Christmas special, Cushing pretended to be the Prime Minister while Morecambe and Wise caroled outside 10 Downing Street; he made the comedians give him money and finally came out to declare “paid, at last!”Wise was a guest for Cushing’s appearance on This Is Your Life in 1989. He promptly presented Cushing with a five pound note, only to extort it back from him. Cushing was delighted and exclaimed “All these years and I still haven’t got my fiver!”

Sadly Cushing was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1982, but managed to survive for 12 years without surgery, although his health remained fragile. In 1989, he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, although his friend Christopher Lee publicly opined that the honour was “too little, too late”. Cushing retired to Whitstable, on the Kent coast, where he had bought a seafront home in 1959, and continued his hobby of birdwatching while writing two autobiographies. He also worked as a painter, specialising in watercolours, and wrote and illustrated a children’s book of Lewis Carroll-style humour, The Bois Saga. He was the patron of the Vegetarian Society from 1987 until his death. Cushing’s final professional commitment was the co-narration of the TV documentary Flesh and Blood: The Hammer Heritage of Horror, produced by American writer and director Ted Newsom. His contribution was recorded in Canterbury, near his home. The programme was broadcast only a few days before his death on 11 August 1994, aged 81.

Oliver Hardy

Best known as one half of the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, the American comedian and actor Oliver Hardy sadly died August 7, 1957. He was born 18th January 1892 in Harlem, Georgia. The family moved to Madison, Georgia in 1891, before Norvell’s birth. Emily Hardy owned a house in Harlem. As a child, Hardy was sometimes difficult. He was sent to Georgia Military College in Milledgeville as a youngster and then attended Young Harris College in north Georgia in the 1905-1906 school year fall semester (September–January) when he was 13. He was in the junior high component of that institution of the time (the equivalent of high school today). Hardy had little interest in formal education, although he acquired an eaPrly interest in music and theater, His mother recognized his talent for singing and sent him to Atlanta to study music and voice with singing teacher Adolf Dahm-Petersen. Hardy skipped some of his lessons to sing in the Alcazar Theater, a cinema, for US$3.50 a week. He subsequently decided to go back to Milledgeville. Around 1910, Hardy began using the name “Oliver Norvell Hardy”, adding the first name “Oliver” as a tribute to his father. He appeared as “Oliver N. Hardy” in the 1910 U.S. census, and he used “Oliver” as his first name in all subsequent legal records, marriage announcements, etc. Hardy was initiated into Freemasonry at Solomon Lodge No. 20 in Jacksonville, Florida.

In 1910, when a movie theater opened in Hardy’s hometown of Milledgeville, he became the projectionist, ticket taker, janitor, and manager. He soon became obsessed with the new motion picture industry and was convinced that he could do a better job than the actors he saw. In 1913, Hardy moved to Jacksonville, Florida, And began as a cabaret and vaudeville singer at night, and at the Lubin Manufacturing Company during the day. He then met Madelyn Saloshin, a pianist, whom he married on November 17, 1913, in Macon, Georgia. In 1914 he made his first movie, Outwitting Dad (1914), for the Lubin studio. He was billed as O. N. Hardy. In his personal life, he was known as “Babe” Hardy, AndIn many of his later films at Lubin, he was billed as “Babe Hardy.” Hardy was a big man at 6’1″ tall and weighing up to 300 pounds. His size placed limitations on the roles he could play. He was most often cast as “the heavy” or the villain. He also frequently had roles in comedy shorts, his size complementing the character.

By 1915, Hardy had made 50 short one-reeler films at Lubin. He later moved to New York and made films for the Pathé, Casino and Edison Studios. After returning to Jacksonville, he made films for the Vim Comedy Company. He also worked for the King Bee studio, which bought Vim and worked with Bill Ruge, Billy West (a Charlie Chaplin imitator), and comedic actress Ethel Burton Palmer and continued portraying “heavies” for West, often imitating Eric Campbell to West’s Chaplin.) In 1917 Hardy moved to Los Angeles, working freelance for several Hollywood studios. Hardy made more than 40 films for Vitagraph, mostly playing the “heavy” for Larry Semon. In 1920 he divorced his wife and in 1921, Hardy married again, to actress Myrtle Reeves. In 1921, he appeared in the movie The Lucky Dog, produced by G.M. (“Broncho Billy”) Anderson and starring a young British comedian named Stan Laurel. Oliver Hardy played the part of a robber, trying to stick up Stan’s character.

In 1924, Hardy began working at Hal Roach Studios with the Our Gang films and Charley Chase. In 1925, he starred as the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz and in the film Yes, Yes, Nanette!, starring Jimmy Finlayson and directed by Stan Laurel. He also appeared in films featuring Clyde Cooke and Bobby Ray. In 1926, Hardy was scheduled to appear in Get ‘Em Young. But was hospitalized after being burned by a hot leg of lamb. So Laurel, who had been working as a gag man and director at Roach Studios, appeared instead. in 1926 Laurel and Hardy both appeared in the film , 45 Minutes from Hollywood,

In 1927, Laurel and Hardy began sharing screen time together in Slipping Wives, Duck Soup (no relation to the 1933 Marx Brothers’ film of the same name) and With Love and Hisses. They began producing a huge body of short movies, including The Battle of the Century (1927) (with one of the largest pie fights ever filmed), Should Married Men Go Home? (1928), Two Tars (1928), Unaccustomed As We Are (1929, marking their transition to talking pictures) Berth Marks (1929), Blotto (1930), Brats (1930), Another Fine Mess (1930), Be Big! (1931), and many others.In 1929, they appeared in their first feature, in one of the revue sequences of Hollywood Revue of 1929, and the following year they appeared as the comic relief in a lavish all-color (in Technicolor) musical feature entitled The Rogue Song. In 1931, they starred in their first full-length movie, “Pardon Us” and the 1932 short film”The Music Box” which won them an Academy Award for best short film. In 1936, Hardy and Myrtle Reeves divorced and in 1939 Hardy made Zenobia with Harry Langdon. Then In 1939 Laurel and Hardy made The Flying Deuces and Hardy met Virginia Lucille Jones, a script girl, whom he married the next year. In 1939, Laurel and Hardy made A Chump at Oxford (1940) (which features a moment of role reversal, with Oliver becoming a subordinate to a temporarily concussed Stan and Saps at Sea. They began performing for the USO, supporting the Allied troops during World War II. They teamed up to make films for 20th Century Fox and later Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer including The Bullfighters in 1945.

In 1947, Laurel and Hardy went on a six-week tour of the United Kingdom Which was lengthened to include engagements in Scandinavia, Belgium, France, as well as a Royal Command Performance for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. They continued to make live appearances in the United Kingdom and France for the next several years, until 1954, often using new sketches and material that Laurel had written for them. In 1949, John Wayne, asked Hardy to play a supporting role in The Fighting Kentuckian. Hardy had previously worked with Wayne and John Ford in a charity production of the play What Price Glory? and Frank Capra later invited Hardy to play a cameo role in Riding High with Bing Crosby in 1950.

During 1950–51, Laurel and Hardy made their final film. Atoll K (also known as Utopia) in which Laurel inherits an island, and the boys set out to sea, where they encounter a storm and discover a brand new island, rich in uranium, making them powerful and wealthy. Oliver Hardy, along with Stan Laurel, made two live television appearances: In 1953, on a live BBC television broadcast of the popular show “Face the Music” with host Henry Hall and in December 1954, on NBC’s This Is Your Life. They also appeared in a filmed insert for the BBC-TV show This Is Music Hall in 1955, which was their final public appearance together. Following This Is Your Life they were asked to produce a series of TV shows based on the Mother Goose fables with Hal Roach, Jr. However the series was postponed when Laurel suffered a stroke and Hardy suffered a heart attack and stroke from which he never physically recovered.

In total they appeared together in 107 films including 40 short sound films, 32 silent films and 23 full-length feature films, and made 12 guest or cameo appearances, including the recently discovered Galaxy of Stars promotional film (1936). Their silent film Big Business (1929) was added to the Library of Congress as a national treasure in 1992. The works of Laurel and Hardy have been re-released in numerous theatrical reissues, television revivals, 16mm and 8mm home movies, feature-film compilations, and home videos since the 1930s. They were voted the seventh greatest comedy act in a 2005 UK poll by fellow comedians. The duo’s signature tune, known variously as “The Cuckoo Song”, “Ku-Ku”, or “The Dance of the Cuckoos”, played on the opening credits of their films. The official Laurel and Hardy appreciation society is known as The Sons of thE Desert after the film of the same name.

Marliyn Monroe

American actress, model, and singer Marilyn Monroe tragically died 4 August 1962 from an overdose of barbiturates.

She was born 1st June in 1926 as Norma Jeane Mortenson (soon after changed to Baker), and spent much of her childhood in a succession of foster homes. It was during this time Monroe was told that someday she would become a movie star. Norma Jeane’s Foster Mother Grace was captivated by Jean Harlow, and would let Norma Jeane wear makeup and take her out to get her hair curled. They would go to the movies together, forming the basis for Norma Jeane’s fascination with the cinema and the stars on screen.

During the forties Monroe began a career as a model, which led to a film contract in 1946 with Twentieth Century-Fox. Her early film appearances were minor, but her performances in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve (both 1950) drew attention to her. By 1953, Monroe had progressed to a leading role in Niagara (1953), a melodramatic film noir that dwelt on her seductiveness. Her “dumb blonde” persona was used to comic effect in subsequent films such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) and The Seven Year Itch (1955). She became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s and early 1960s.

Sadly Monroe became frustrated after finding herself limited by typecasting and only being offered ‘dumb blonde’  roles. So Monroe studied at the Actors Studio to broaden her range. Her dramatic performance in Bus Stop (1956) was hailed by critics and garnered a Golden Globe nomination. Her production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions, released The Prince and the Showgirl (1957), for which she received a BAFTA Award nomination and won a David di Donatello award. She received a Golden Globe Award for her performance in Some Like It Hot (1959). Monroe’s last completed film was The Misfits, co-starring Clark Gable with screenplay by her then-husband, Arthur Miller. The final years of Monroe’s life were marked by illness, personal problems, and a reputation for unreliability and being difficult to work with. The circumstances of her death, from an overdose of barbiturates, have been the subject of conjecture. Though officially classified as a “probable suicide”, the possibility of an accidental overdose, as well as of homicide, have not been ruled out. In 1999, Monroe was ranked as the sixth greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute. In the decades following her death, she has often been cited as both a pop and a cultural icon as well as the quintessential American sex symbol.

Spider-man Day

Spider man day takes place annually on 1 August. Spider-Man was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko. He first appeared in the anthology comic book Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962) in the Silver Age of Comic Books. He appears in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, as well as in a number of movies, television shows, and video game adaptations set in the Marvel Universe. In the stories, Spider-Man is the alias of Peter Parker, an orphan raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben in New York City after his parents Richard and Mary Parker were killed in a plane crash. Lee and Ditko had the character deal with the struggles of adolescence and financial issues, and accompanied him with many supporting characters, such as J. Jonah Jameson, Harry Osborn, Max Modell, romantic interests Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson, and foes such as Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin and Venom. His origin story has him acquiring spider-related abilities after a bite from a radioactive spider; these include clinging to surfaces, shooting spider-webs from wrist-mounted devices, and detecting danger with his “spider-sense”.

When Spider-Man first appeared in the early 1960s, teenagers in superhero comic books were usually relegated to the role of sidekick to the protagonist. The Spider-Man series broke ground by featuring Peter Parker, a high school student from Queens behind Spider-Man’s secret identity and with whose “self-obsessions with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness” young readers could relate While Spider-Man had all the makings of a sidekick, unlike previous teen heroes such as Bucky and Robin, Spider-Man had no superhero mentor like Captain America and Batman; he thus had to learn for himself that “with great power there must also come great responsibility”—a line included in a text box in the final panel of the first Spider-Man story but later retroactively attributed to his guardian, the late Uncle Ben.

Marvel has featured Spider-Man in several comic book series, the first and longest-lasting of which is The Amazing Spider-Man. Over the years, the Peter Parker character developed from a shy, nerdy New York City high school student to troubled but outgoing college student, to married high school teacher to, in the late 2000s, a single freelance photographer. In the 2010s, he joins the Avengers, Marvel’s flagship superhero team. Spider-Man’s nemesis Doctor Octopus also took on the identity for a story arc spanning 2012–2014, following a body swap plot in which Peter appears to die. Marvel has also published books featuring alternate versions of Spider-Man, including Spider-Man 2099, which features the adventures of Miguel O’Hara, the Spider-Man of the future; Ultimate Spider-Man, which features the adventures of a teenaged Peter Parker in an alternate universe; and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, which depicts the teenager Miles Morales, who takes up the mantle of Spider-Man after Ultimate Peter Parker’s supposed death. Miles is later brought into mainstream continuity, where he works alongside Peter.

Spider-Man is one of the most popular and commercially successful superheroes. As Marvel’s flagship character and company mascot, he has appeared in countless forms of media, including several animated and live action television series, syndicated newspaper comic strips, and in a series of films. The character was first portrayed in live action by Danny Seagren in Spidey Super Stories, a The Electric Company skit which ran from 1974 to 1977. In films, Spider-Man has been portrayed by actors Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by Tom Holland. Reeve Carney starred originally as Spider-Man in the 2010 Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Spider-Man has been well received as a superhero and comic book character, and he is often ranked as one of the most popular and iconic comic book characters of all time and one of the most popular characters in all fiction.

Stanley Kubrick

American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, editor, and photographer Stanley Kubrick was born July 26, 1928 at Lying-In Hospital at 307 Second Avenue in Manhattan, New York City, to a Jewish family. Kubrick began schooling in Public School 3 in the Bronx, and moved to Public School 90 in June 1938. He was interested in literature from a young age, and began reading Greek and Roman myths and the fables of the Grimm brothers which “instilled in him a lifelong affinity with Europe”He spent most Saturdays during the summer watching the New York Yankees. When Kubrick was 12, his father Jack taught him chess. The game remained a lifelong interest of Kubrick’s and he became a member of the United States Chess Federation, explained that chess helped him develop “patience and discipline” in making decisions, At the age of 13, Kubrick’s father bought him a Graflex camera, triggering a fascination with still photography. He befriended a neighbor, Marvin Traub, who shared his passion for photography and had his own darkroom, where the young Kubrick and he would spend many hours perusing photographs and watching the chemicals “magically make images on photographic paper”. They searched for interesting subjects to capture, and spent time in local cinemas studying films. Freelance photographer Weegee (Arthur Fellig) had a considerable influence on Kubrick’s development as a photographer. Kubrick was also interested in jazz, and briefly attempted a career as a drummer.

Between 1941 and 1945 Kubrick attended William Howard Taft High School where he joined the school’s photographic club, which permitted him to photograph the school’s events in their magazine. Kubrick often skipped school to watch double-feature films. While still in high school, Kubrick was chosen as an official school photographer for a year. In the mid-1940s, since he was not able to gain admission to day session classes at colleges, he briefly attended evening classes at the City College of New York Eventually, he sold a photographic series to Look magazine, Which was printed in 1945. Kubrick also supplemented his income by playing chess “for quarters” in Washington Square Park and various Manhattan chess clubs. He graduated in 1945. In 1946, he became an apprentice photographer for Look and later a full-time staff photographer. alongside G. Warren Schloat, Jr., another new photographer. Kubrick became known for his story-telling in photographs. His first, was entitled “A Short Story from a Movie Balcony” and staged a fracas between a man and a woman, during which the man is slapped in the face, caught genuinely by surprise. In another assignment, 18 pictures were taken of various people waiting in a dental office.

In1948, he was sent to Portugal to document a travel piece, and covered the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Sarasota, Florida Kubrick, a boxing enthusiast, eventually began photographing boxing matches for the magazine. His earliest, “Prizefighter”, was published in 1949, and featured Walter Cartier. he also published a photo essay, named “Chicago-City of Extremes” in Look, which displayed his talent early on for creating atmosphere with imagery. including a photograph taken above a congested Chicago street at night. In 1950 the magazine published his photo essay, “Working Debutante – Betsy von Furstenberg”, which featured a Pablo Picasso portrait of Angel F. de Soto in the background. Kubrick was also assigned to photograph numerous musicians, including Frank Sinatra , Erroll Garner, George Lewis, Eddie Condon, Phil Napoleon, Papa Celestin, Alphonse Picou, Muggsy Spanier, Sharkey Bonano, and others.

In 1948 Kubrick married his high-school sweetheart Toba Metz on MaThey lived together in a small apartment at 36 West 16th Street, off 6th Avenue, north of Greenwich Village. Kubrick began frequenting film screenings at the Museum of Modern Art and the cinemas of New York City. He was inspired by the complex, fluid camerawork of the directors Max Ophüls and Elia Kazan. Kubrick became fascinated with the art of filmmaking. He also spent many hours reading books on film theory and writing down notes. Sergei Eisenstein’s theoretical writings had a profound impact on Kubrick, and he took a great number of notes from books in the library of Arthur Rothstein, the photographic technical director of Look magazine. Kubrick shared a love of film with his school friend Alexander Singer, who Intended to direct a film version of Homer’s The Iliad. However Kubrick discovered that it would be prohibitively expensive, although he did manage to produce a few short Documentaries encouraged by Singer. Kubrick also made a short film documentary about boxer Walter Cartier, He rented a camera and produced a 16-minute black-and-white documentary, “Day of the Fight”. He considered asking Montgomery Clift to narrate it, whom he had met during a photographic session for Look, but settled on CBS news veteran Douglas Edwards and a score was added by Singer’s friend Gerald Fried.

The film was “remarkably accomplished for a first film”, and was notable for using the reverse tracking shot to film a scene in which the brothers walk towards the camera. Inspired by this early success, Kubrick quit his job at Look and visited professional filmmakers in New York City, to Study the technical aspects of film-making and gained confidence to become a filmmaker. In 1951 He began making Flying Padre, which documents Reverend Fred Stadtmueller, who travels some 4,000 miles to visit his 11 churches. The film was originally going to be called “Sky Pilot”, during the film the priest performs a burial service, confronts a boy bullying a girl, and makes an emergency flight to aid a sick mother and baby into an ambulance. Flying Padre was followed by The Seafarers (1953), Kubrick’s first color film, which was shot for the Seafarers International Union in June 1953. Kubrick also began making his first feature film, Fear and Desire which was filmed in the San Gabriel Mountains in California and concerns a team of soldiers who survive a plane crash and are caught behind enemy lines in a war. During the course of the film, one of the soldiers becomes infatuated with an attractive girl.

He also assisted producer Richard de Rochemont On a five-part television series about Abraham Lincoln shoton location in Hodgenville, Kentucky. Following Fear and Desire, Kubrick began working on ideas for a new boxing film. The subsequent film Originally entitled Kiss Me, Kill Me, and then The Nymph and the Maniac, Killer’s Kiss (1955) is a 67-minute film noir about a young heavyweight boxer’s involvement with a woman being abused by her criminal boss. Kubrick began shooting footage in Times Square, and frequently explored during the filming process, experimenting with cinematography and considering the use of unconventional angles and imagery. Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail (1929) directly influenced the film with the painting laughing at a character, Martin Scorsese also cited Kubrick’s innovative shooting angles and atmospheric shots in Killer’s Kiss as an influence on Raging Bull.

While playing chess in Washington Square, Kubrick met producer James B. Harris and the two formed the Harris-Kubrick Pictures Corporation in 1955. They purchased the rights to Lionel White’s novel Clean Break and hired film noir novelist Jim Thompson to write the dialog the subsequent film the Killing, was about a meticulously planned racetrack robbery gone wrong and starred Sterling Hayden, and was Kubrick’s first full-length feature film shot with a professional cast and crew including veteran cinematographer Lucien Ballard, However He clashed with Ballard during the shooting. Despite this The Killing has had a major influence on many directors, including Quentin Tarantino.

Kubrick’s next film Paths of Glory, was set during World War I, and is based on Humphrey Cobb’s 1935 antiwar novel, which Kubrick had read while waiting in his father’s office. However MGM would not finance another war picture, given their backing of the anti-war film The Red Badge of Courage. Kubrick and Harris persuaded Kirk Douglas to portray Colonel Dax. The film, shot in Munich, concerns a French army unit ordered on an impossible mission, and follows with a war trial of Colonel Dax and his men for misconduct. For the battle scene, Kubrick meticulously lined up six cameras one after the other along the boundary of no-man’s land, with each camera capturing a specific area. Paths of Glory established Kubrick’s reputation With its unsentimental, spare, and unvarnished combat scenes and its raw, black-and-white cinematography. However The film was banned in France until 1974 for its “unflattering” depiction of the French military, and was censored by the Swiss Army until 1970. Marlon Brando then contacted Kubrick, asking him to direct a film adaptation of the Charles Neider western novel, The Authentic Death of Hendry Jones, featuring Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.

Stanley Kubrick and Marlon Brando then Worked on a script begun by Sam Peckinpah for the film One-Eyed Jacks. In 1959, Kubrick received a phone call from Kirk Douglas asking him to direct Spartacus (1960), based on the true life story of Spartacus and the events of the Third Servile War. Kirk Douglas had acquired the rights to the novel by Howard Fast and starred as rebellious slave Spartacus, with Laurence Olivier as his foe, the Roman general and politician Marcus Licinius Crassus. This was Kubrick’s largest film and was at the time the most expensive film ever made in America, and Kubrick became the youngest director in Hollywood history to helm an epic. Kubrick filmed Spartacus using the anamorphic 35mm horizontal Super Technirama process to achieve ultra-high definition, allowing him to film vast panoramic scenes. However Kubrick and Douglas fell out, despite this The film established Kubrick as a major director, receiving six Academy Award nominations and winning four.

Kubrick’s first attempt at black comedy, was an adaptation of the controversial novel Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, the story of a middle-aged college professor becoming infatuated with a 12-year-old girl. starring Peter Sellers, James Mason, Shelley Winters, and Sue Lyon. Lolita was shot over 88 days at Elstree Studios, During which Kubrick often clashed with Shelley Winters. Due to its of its provocative story, Lolita was Kubrick’s first film to generate controversy and he was forced to remove much of the erotic element of the relationship between Mason’s Humbert and Lyon’s Lolita.

Kubrick’s next film was another satirical black comedy “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964). During the 1950’s Kubrick had became preoccupied with the the Cold War fearing that New York City might be a likely target for the Russians. He studied over 40 military and political research books on the subject. Kubrick Bought the rights to the novel Red Alert, and collaborated with its author, Peter George. Doctor Strangelove was originally written as a serious political thriller, but Kubrick decided that a “serious treatment” of the subject would not be believable and thought the salient points were rather absurd. So Kubrick decided to make the film as “an outrageous black comedy” and reworked the script as a black-comedy, loaded with sexual innuendo. Peter Sellars ended up playing three different roles in the film. Critics were divided some calling it a “Sick, juvenile” satire. However It was voted the 39th-greatest American film and third-greatest comedy film of all time by the American Film Institute.

PART TWO

Kubrick read Arthur C. Clarke’s science fiction novel Childhood’s End, about a superior race of alien beings who assist mankind in eliminating their old selves. after meeting Clarke in New York City in April 1964, Kubrick suggested he make the 1948 short story The Sentinel, about a tetrahedron which is found on the Moon which alerts aliens of mankind. So Clarke began writing the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, with a screenplay written by Kubrick and Clarke. The film’s theme, the birthing of one intelligence by another, is developed in two parallel intersecting stories One depicts transitions between various stages of man, from ape to “star child”, as man is reborn into a new existence the other concerns an enigmatic alien intelligence who built a series of eons-old black monoliths as signposts. The enemy is a supercomputer known as HAL who runs the spaceship. Filming commenced in 1965, with the excavation of the monolith on the moon, footage was also shot in Namib Desert in early 1967. Kubrick also observed the spacecraft in the Ranger 9 mission for accuracy. 2001: A Space Odyssey was described as a Cinematic spectacle, giving the viewer a “dazzling mix of imagination and science” through ground-breaking effects, which earned Kubrick his only personal Oscar, an Academy Award for Visual Effects. At the time it had mixed reviews but Today, it is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential films ever made, and is a staple on All Time Top 10 lists. Inspiring Directors including Steven Spielberg who referred to it as “the big bang of his film making generation”.

After completing 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick decided to film Anthony Burgess’ controversial novel A Clockwork Orange, which he had read while filming Doctor Strangelove, although he had Initially rejected it on the grounds that the slang Nadsat, was too difficult to comprehend. A Clockwork Orange is an exploration of violence and experimental rehabilitation by law enforcement authorities, based around a young thug Alex (portrayed by Malcolm McDowell) and his gang who go round committing vicious crimes and sadistic violence. The film heavily features “pop erotica” which gives it a “slightly futuristic” look. Because of its depiction of teenage violence, A Clockwork Orange became one of the most controversial films of the decade, and stirred up a debate about the glorification of violence in cinema and it received an X-rated certificate upon release, though many critics saw much of the violence depicted in the film as satirical. However Kubrick pulled the film from release in the United Kingdom after receiving death threats following a series of copycat crimes based on the film. Consequently it was not re-released in the UK until 2000. Although John Trevelyan, the censor of the film, thought that it presented an “intellectual argument rather than a sadistic spectacle” in its depiction of violence. A Clockwork Orange received four Academy Award nominations, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Editing, and was named by the New York Film Critics Circle as the Best Film of 1971. Although William Friedkin won Best Director for The French Connection in 1971 he thought Stanley Kubrick was the best American film-maker period”.

Stanley Kubrick’s next film Barry Lyndon (1975) was an adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s The Luck of Barry Lyndon (also known as Barry Lyndon), a picaresque novel about the adventures of an 18th-century Irish rogue and social climber. The film was shot on location. in Ardmore, County Waterford, Ireland, however After Kubrick received death threats from the IRA in 1974 he fled Ireland with his family on a ferry from Dún Laoghaire and filming resumed in England. Barry Lyndon solidified Kubrick’s reputation for being a perfectionist and paying scrupulous attention to detail. The cinematography and lighting techniques that Kubrick and cinematographer John Alcott used in Barry Lyndon were highly innovative, interior scenes were shot with a specially adapted high-speed f/0.7 Zeiss camera lens originally developed for NASA to be used in satellite photography this allowed many scenes to be lit only with candlelight, creating two-dimensional, diffused-light images reminiscent of 18th-century paintings which were also meticulously replicated from works of the great masters for the film. Many of the fight scenes were shot with a hand-held camera to produce a “sense of documentary realism and immediacy”. Barry Lyndon was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won four, including Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, and Best Musical Score. Barry Lyndon is now considered to be one of his best, particularly among filmmakers and critics. Numerous polls, such as The Village Voice (1999), Sight & Sound (2002), and Time (2005), have rated it as one of the greatest films ever made also it has as 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 52 reviews.

Stanley Kubrick’s next film The Shining, released in 1980, was adapted from The Shining by bestselling horror writer Stephen King. The film stars Jack Nicholson as a writer who takes a job as a winter caretaker of a large and isolated Overlook hotel in the Rocky Mountains with his wife, played by Shelley Duvall, and their young son, who displays paranormal abilities. However the hotels isolation gradually sends Jack mad and there are supernatural horrors lurking in the hotel. The aerial shots of the Overlook Hotel were shot at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon, while the interiors of the hotel were shot at Elstree Studios in England. Kubrick gave his actors freedom to improvise, including the scene when Nicholson says ‘Here’s Johnny!’ The filming schedule was incredibly grueling with Kubrick, ever the perfectionist, insisting on up to 70 or 80 retakes of the same scene. Kubrick also intentionally argued with and isolated Duvall to produce extreme stress, she was also forced to perform the baseball bat scene 127 times”. The bar scene with the ghostly bartender was shot 36 times, while the kitchen scene between the characters of Danny (Danny Lloyd) and Halloran (Scatman Crothers) ran to 148 takes. The film was released in 1980, after which Kubrick ordered the deletion of a final scene, in which the hotel manager Ullman (Barry Nelson) visits Wendy (Shelley Duvall) in hospital. Despite being a commercial success The critical response to The Shining was mixed, King himself detested the film and disliked Kubrick. Although The Shining is now considered to be a horror classic, and the American Film Institute has ranked it as the 27th greatest thriller film of all time.

Aldous Huxley

English writer Aldous Huxley was Born 26 July 1894 in Godalming, Surrey, England, he is Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel writing, film stories and scripts. He began his learning in his father’s well-equipped botanical laboratory, then continued in a school named Hillside. His teacher was his mother, who supervised him for several years until she became terminally ill. After Hillside, he was educated at Eton College. In 1911, he suffered an illness (keratitis punctata) which “left him practically blind for two to three years”. This disqualified him from service in the First World War. Once his eyesight recovered sufficiently, he was able to study English literature at Balliol College, Oxford. In 1916 he edited Oxford Poetry and later graduated (B.A.) with first class honours. Following his education at Balliol, Huxley earnt a living teaching French at Eton, where Eric Blair (later to become George Orwell) and Stephen Runciman were among his pupils. Huxley also worked at the technologically advanced Brunner and Mond chemical plant in Billingham, Teesside, and the most recent introduction to his famous science fiction novel Brave New World (1932) states that this experience of “an ordered universe in a world of planless incoherence” was one source for the novel

During the First World War, Huxley spent much of his time at Garsington Manor, working as a farm labourer. Here he met several Bloomsbury figures including Bertrand Russell and Clive Bell. Works of this period included important novels on the dehumanising aspects of scientific progress, most famously Brave New World, and on pacifist themes (for example, Eyeless in Gaza). In Brave New World Huxley portrays a society operating on the principles of mass production and Pavlovian conditioning. Huxley was strongly influenced by F. Matthias Alexander and included him as a character in Eyeless in Gaza.Huxley began to write and edit non-fiction works on pacifist issues and was an active member of the Peace Pledge Union.In 1937, Huxley moved to Hollywood & lived in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death. He also moved to Taos, New Mexico for a time, where he wrote Ends and Means. He was also introduced to Vedanta (Upanishad-centered philosophy), meditation, and vegetarianism through the principle of ahimsa. In 1938 Huxley befriended J. Krishnamurti, whose teachings he greatly admired. He also became a Vedantist in the circle of Hindu Swami Prabhavananda, and introduced Christopher Isherwood to this circle. Not long after, Huxley wrote his book on widely held spiritual values and ideas, The Perennial Philosophy, which discussed the teachings of renowned mystics of the world & affirmed a sensibility that insists there are realities beyond the generally accepted “five senses” and that there is genuine meaning for humans beyond both sensual satisfactions and sentimentalities.

Huxley also worked as a scriptwriter. In March 1938, his friend Anita Loos, a novelist and screenwriter, put him in touch with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer who hired Huxley for Madame Curie which was originally to star Greta Garbo and be directed by George Cukor. (The film was eventually completed by MGM in 1943 with a different director and cast.) Huxley received screen credit for Pride and Prejudice (1940) and a number of other films, including Jane Eyre (1944). Huxley was also apprehensive about the future the developed world might make for itself. From these he put forward some warnings in his writings and talks. In a 1958 televised interview Huxley outlined several major concerns: the difficulties and dangers of world overpopulation; the tendency toward distinctly hierarchical social organization; the crucial importance of evaluating the use of technology in mass societies susceptible to wily persuasion; the tendency to promote modern politicians, to a naive public, as well-marketed commodities. He also wrote to George Orwell, author of Nineteen Eighty-Four, congratulating him on “how fine and how profoundly important the book is”.

During the 1950s, Huxley’s interest in the field of psychical research grew and his later works are strongly influenced by both mysticism and his experiences with psychedelic drugs, Allegedly English occultist Aleister Crowley introduced Huxley to peyote & psychiatrist Humphry Osmond introduced him to mescaline (the key active ingredient of peyote) & through Dr. Osmond, Huxley also met millionaire Alfred Matthew Hubbard and became a pioneer of self-directed psychedelic drug use “in a search for enlightenment”. His psychedelic drug experiences are described in the essays The Doors of Perception (the title deriving from some lines in the book The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake).

Huxley was also interested in spiritual subjects such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism and had an extensive association with the Vedanta Society of Southern California, founded and headed by Swami Prabhavananda. Together with Gerald Heard, Christopher Isherwood, and other followers he was initiated by the Swami and was taught meditation and spiritual practices.

Sadly Huxley passed away aged 69, on 22 November 1963, several hours after the assassination of John F. Kennedy and by the end of his life Huxley was widely acknowledged as one of the pre-eminent intellectuals of his time and respected as an important researcher into visual communication and sight-related theories as well as advocating and taking psychedelics. Huxley’s ashes were interred in the family grave at the Watts Cemetery, home of the Watts Mortuary Chapel in Compton, a village near Guildford, Surrey, England. Media coverage of Huxley’s passing was overshadowed by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, on the same day, as was the death of the British author C. S. Lewis, who also died on 22 November. This coincidence was the inspiration for Peter Kreeft’s book Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis, & Aldous Huxley. Huxley’s literary legacy continues to be represented by the literary agency headed by Georges Borchardt.

Alice in Wonderland

The thirteenth Walt Disney film Alice in Wonderland was released on July 26, 1951. The film features the voices of Kathryn Beaumont (who later voiced Wendy Darling in the 1953 Disney film Peter Pan) as Alice, and Ed Wynn as the Mad Hatter. The theme song, “Alice in Wonderland”, has since become a jazz standard. It begins On the bank of a tranquil river, when a little girl named Alice grows bored and starts daydreaming, that she would prefer to live in a nonsensical dreamland called Wonderland. She then spots a waistcoat-wearing White Rabbit passing by, and pursues him into a rabbit hole and falls into a labyrinth before seeing the rabbit disappear through a tiny door. Through which she is too large to fit. She also notices a bottle marked “Drink Me” and a box of “Eat Me”, “Try Me”, and “Take One” cookies on a nearby table, which all have a bizarre effect on her.

Eventually she finds herself in a bizarre place called Wonderland where she has some very strange adventures and meets some very strange characters including the Dodo, tweedledum & Tweedledee, The White Rabbit, Bill the Lizard, a hookah smoking caterpillar and the Cheshire Cat. Alice eventually finds the White Rabbit in his house, but before she can ask what he is late for, she is sent to fetch some gloves after being mistaken for his housemaid. She eats a cookie and grows into a giant again, getting stuck in the rabbit’s house. She tries to pull herself out, but is too big. The White Rabbit, the Dodo, and chimney sweep Bill the Lizard believe Alice to be a monster and plot to burn the house down. Alice escapes by eating a carrot and shrinking down to the size of an insect. She meets and sings with some talking flowers, but they chase her away upon accusing her of being a weed. Alice is then instructed by the hookah-smoking Caterpillar to eat a part of his mushroom grow back to her original size then Alice keeps the remaining pieces of the mushroom

Alice meets the Cheshire Cat who advises her to visit the Mad Hatter, March Hare and the Dormouse. The three are hosting a mad tea party and celebrate Alice’s “unbirthday”, a day where it is not her birthday. The White Rabbit appears, but the Mad Hatter and the March Hare destroy his pocketwatch and throw him out of the party. Fed up with all the locals rudeness and wackiness, Alice abandons her pursuit of the White Rabbit and decides to go home, but gets lost in the Tulgey Wood. The Cheshire Cat appears and leads Alice into a giant hedge maze ruled by the tyrannical Queen of Hearts and her smaller husband, the King of Hearts. The Queen orders the beheading of anyone who enrages her, and invites Alice in a bizarre croquet match involving flamingoes and hedgehogs.

The Cheshire Cat appears again and tricks the Queen who then accuses Alice, and Alice is put on trial. Just then, she remembers that she still has the remains of the Caterpillar’s mushroom. So She eats it and grows to an enormous height which the King claims is forbidden in court. Alice now feels free to speak her mind and openly insults the Queen. However, she suddenly shrinks back to her normal size and the Queen orders her execution…

Alexandre Dumas

French writer. Alexandre Dumas (Thomas-Alexandre Dumas Davy) was born 24 July 1802 also known as Alexandre Dumas, père. His father, General Thomas-Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie, was born in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) to a French nobleman and an enslaved African woman. In 1816 He was taken by his father to France. Thomas-Alexandre Dumas Davy was educated in a military school and joined the army as a young man. In 1822, after the restoration of the monarchy, the 20-year-old Alexandre Dumas moved to Paris. He acquired a position at the Palais Royal in the office of Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans. As an adult, Thomas-Alexandre used his mother’s name, Dumas, as his surname after a break with his father.

Dumas’ father’s aristocratic rank helped young Alexandre acquire work with Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans. While working for Louis-Philippe, Dumas began writing articles for magazines and plays for the theatre. Dumas began his career by writing plays, which were successfully produced from the first. He also wrote numerous magazine articles and travel books; his published works totalled 100,000 pages. His first play, Henry III and His Courts, produced in 1829 when he was 27 years old, met with acclaim. The next year, his second play, Christine, was equally popular. These successes gave him sufficient income to write full-time.

Dumas was promoted to general by the age of 31, the first soldier of Afro-Antilles origin to reach that rank in the French army. He served with distinction in the French Revolutionary Wars. He became general-in-chief of the Army of the Pyrenees, the first man of colour to reach that rank. Although a general under Bonaparte in the Italian and Egyptian campaigns. In 1830, Dumas participated in the Revolution that ousted Charles X and replaced him with Dumas’ former employer, the Duke of Orléans, who ruled as Louis-Philippe, the Citizen King. Until the mid-1830s. After writing additional successful plays, Dumas switched to writing novels. Although attracted to an extravagant lifestyle and always spending more than he earned, Dumas proved to be an astute marketer. As newspapers were publishing many serial novels, in 1838, Dumas rewrote one of his plays as his first serial novel, Le Capitaine Paul. He founded a production studio, staffed with writers who turned out hundreds of stories, all subject to his personal direction, editing, and additions. Between 1839 and 1841, Dumas, compiled Celebrated Crimes, an eight-volume collection of essays on famous criminals and crimes from European history. He featured Beatrice Cenci, Martin Guerre, Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia, as well as more recent events and criminals, including the cases of the alleged murderers Karl Ludwig Sand and Antoine François Desrues, who were executed. Dumas collaborated with Augustin Grisier, his fencing master, in his 1840 novel, The Fencing Master which concerns Grisier’s account of how he came to witness the events of the Decembrist revolt in Russia. The novel was banned in Russia by Czar Nicholas I, and Dumas was prohibited from visiting the country until after the Czar’s death.

In the 1840s, Dumas founded the Théâtre Historique in Paris and had a numerous assistants and collaborators, including Auguste Maquet who Assisted during the writing of The Count of Monte Cristo and made substantial contributions to The Three Musketeers and its sequels, as well as to several of Dumas’ other novels Including the short novel Georges which uses ideas and plots later repeated in The Count of Monte Cristo. Many of his historical novels of high adventure were originally published as serials, including The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, and The Vicomte de Bragelonne: Ten Years Later. His writing earned him a great deal of money, but he was frequently insolvent, as he spent lavishly on women and sumptuous living. By 1846, he had built a country house outside Paris at Le Port-Marly, the large Château de Monte-Cristo, with an additional building for his writing studio. However two years later, faced with financial difficulties, he sold the entire property.

In 1851 King Louis-Philippe was ousted in a revolt and, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was elected President however Bonaparte disapproved of Dumas, so he fled to Brussels, Belgium, as Upon leaving Belgium, Dumas moved to Russia for a few years where He published travel books about Russia, before going to Italy. In 1861, he founded and published the newspaper L’Indipendente. In March 1861, Italy was proclaimed a kingdom, with Victor Emmanuel II as its king. Dumas travelled there and for the next three years participated in the movement for Italian unification. He founded and led a newspaper, Indipendente. Returning to Paris in 1864, he published travel books about Italy.

sadly Alexandre Dumas died 5 December 1870 And was buried at his birthplace of Villers-Cotterêts in the department of Aisne. His death was overshadowed by the Franco-Prussian War. Changing literary fashions decreased his popularity and his works have been translated into nearly 100 languages, and he is one of the most widely read French authors. His novels have also been adapted into approximately 200 films. Dumas’ last novel, The Knight of Sainte-Hermine, unfinished at his death, was completed by a scholar and published in 2005, becoming a best seller. It was published in English in 2008 as The Last Cavalier.