Ulrich Ruchti is an award-winning designer of international reputation. Sybil Taylor is an author, editor, and journalist. Alexander Walker is the author of over twenty books.
One of many books on the director published this year, the revised and expanded edition of Walker's Stanley Kubrick Directs (LJ 12/71) was obviously timed to coincide with the highly anticipated mid-July release of his last film, Eyes Wide Shut. In addition to detailed analysis and background on his 13 films, the study contains a biography, an examination of the use of color in the films, and Walker's recollections of his friend in "Stanley: A Postscript," an excerpt of which was published in the Sunday Telegraph after Kubrick's untimely death in March. Walker employs solid research and film analysis skills, but he fails to capture his subject's essence, as he did in his celebrity biographies of Garbo, Dietrich, Leigh, and Rex Harrison, among others. The use of such hyperbole as "in recent years he has grown a ruff of black beard that adds a visible dimension of inscrutability to a disposition whose self-sufficiency seems at times almost monastic" ultimately results in reader apathy. John Baxter's Stanley Kubrick: A Biography (LJ 10/15/97) remains the best recent book on the enigmatic, driven, visionary director and his work. Recommended only for comprehensive performing arts collections.ÄBruce Henson, Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
A longtime friend of Kubrick's who remembers the days when the great director was mysteriously collecting Japanese science fiction movies in what turned out to be preparation for 2001, Walker rankled Warner Bros. and the Kubrick estate when he printed a rave review of Eyes Wide Shut weeks before the movie was released. In this book, he offers a similarly enthusiastic tour through the Kubrick oeuvre, from the first film (Fear and Desire, 1953) to the last (Eyes Wide Shut, 1999). Walker describes Kubrick as a guarded, suspicious, obsessive, controlling, paranoid workaholic, and makes us feel that he's bestowing a compliment. Each movie is given a thorough analysis, reinforced by the extensive use of stills in each case. He explains what that black obelisk in 2001 is and elaborates the various parallels between Kubrick and the character Jack Torrance in the filming of The Shining. Perhaps unavoidably, however, the section on Eyes Wide Shut seems merely to be a synopsis and lacks the detachment and detail that characterize the other chapters. One can only wish that Walker had waited for some critical perspective on his friend's final work. Nevertheless, its eulogistic tone aside, Kubrick fans everywhere will relish this as the definitive book on the director. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.