This exhibition at the Design Museum in London brings together a huge array of props, scripts, equipment, photos and letters from the career of one of the greatest directors of all time.
After an introduction featuring an overview of his work, the exhibition takes us through his films from Paths of Glory onward: Barry Lyndon, Spartacus, Lolita, The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, A Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket, Dr Strangelove and, of course, 2001: A Space Odyssey. It even includes his early work on A.I., a project taken over by friend Steven Spielberg after his death.
It covers his creative process, including the meticulous research he did before each project via extensive location photography, even when he planned to film in a studio. Particularly fascinating are the designs and exterior photos of the vast rotating ‘centrifuge’ spaceship set used in 2001.
There are scripts with hand written notes, shooting schedules which show the remarkable planning required to shoot a major motion picture, and even the editing studio where Kubrick personally cut his films. There are letters between him and the likes of Kirk Douglas and Audrey Hepburn, and an entire case devoted to the complaints he received, including one from a Christian organisation concerned about the violence in A Clockwork Orange, and another from a member of the public who disliked the violence but enjoyed the sex and was disappointed by how little there was.
There are extensive props from his films including the famous helmet from Full Metal Jacket, striking milk bar furnishing from A Clockwork Orange, a miniature of the maze from The Shining and a replica HAL from 2001. Particularly interesting is the “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” pages from The Shining, with their French, German, Spanish and Italian counterparts. Kubrick shot multiple versions as he was meticulous in ensuring the accuracy of the foreign language versions of his films.
Overall this gives you everything you could want from an exhibition on Kubrick’s work, providing genuine insight into the inner workings of his unique mind, the way he worked with designers and source material, and showcasing instantly recognisable objects from some of the most brilliant films ever made (and Lolita).
Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition is on at the Design Museum until 15 September.