Some film directors have their own stunning and original visual styles. Do you know about Kubrick Stare? It is referred to as the Kubrick Glare, a common camera shot of an actor in most of Stanley Kubrick’s movies.
Roger Ebert said Kubrick found an interesting angle with which to shoot the human face.
Kubrick’s actor is filmed at a specific angle with their head tilted slightly down, looking up, with the teeth exposed.
However, it is always a detached, menacing, angry, sinister, evil, or mad look in their eye. Let’s start with the first Kubrick Stare, and the list will lead to the top 10 Kubrick Stare.
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The computer in 2001 A space Odyssey is not really a stare. We put this on number one because of Kubrick’s genius to make a computer at once the most caring, warm and loving human on board the spaceship bound for Jupiter.
Kubrick does this with mood, lighting, sound, and the interplay between Poole ad Bowman and each of them with HAL. There is a little hint at the beginning of the second act like Nicholson that HAL is Anything. It is a trusty and artificially intelligent computer helping Poole.
The progression shows more of the evil eye until he stares with cold Kubrick stare detachment at Pole and Bowman’s lips as they discussed how to unplug HAL. There was a scene doctor Bill Harford’s roled Poole plotted against him and tried to defend himself. This one is the perfect example of the Kubrick Stare.
Jack Nicholson, Jack Torrance – The Shining
When we talk about the Kubrick stare quality, it isn’t easy to put anyone above McDowell and his portrayal of Alex DeLarge. However, Jack Nicholson’s played the haunted and mad husband’s role as Jack Torrance in the shining. His performance forces the people to rewatch the film.
He is one of the best Kubrick Stare among all the incarnations. One of the favorite things about Nicholson’s Kubrick Stare is how Nicholson develops it throughout the film. There was no hint of the madness and the Stare until he gets to the overlook hotel.
Gradually we see that the Kubrick Stare comes into madness. At the end of the movie, Torrance went his way into a roo to kill his wife, and then Johnny’s scene comes.
After that, he chased his son Danny through the maze in a blizzard. In the movie, we see Nicholson in all its glory, even in death, frozen solid. No doubt Nicholson is the classic Kubrick superstar.
Kirk Douglass, Colonel Dax – Paths of Glory
Kirk Douglass, a proud French soldier, appeared as ColoDoctor Bill Harford’s role has been driven to the brink of madness by the insane waste of human life ordered by the French military command. Douglass tries his best to carry his orders, but he knows all those fights are futile.
Sue Lyon- Lolita
Sue Lyon has played the role of nymphet Lolita for whom the film is named. After Lolita, the shot concludes that the lovely Humbert has become a suffocated and overbearing bore. It shows that Kubrick could get a Stare out of female as well as male actors.
Tom Cruise – Dr. William “Bill” Harford – Eyes Wide Shut
Tom Cruise played Doctor Bill Harford’s role that has a terrible night in Eyes Wide Shut. The film is made on a novella “Traumnovelle” and written by Arthur Schnitzler.
In the story, everything happens in the main character’s dream.
After a dream, Cruise fights with his wife, Nicole Kidman. However, his all dreams never make sense at all. Only in one dream, a person can enter after-hour places in Manhattan by flashing their New York Doctors License.
All His efforts to culminate sex through the evening whether, with the prostitute, Lolita figure played by Leelee Sobieski in the costume shop or the orgy scene at the strange and secretive mansion, are failed because they just do in dreams. Cruise Tom is a very frustrated, lost, and horny man.
Joe Turkel-Lloyd the Bartender – The Shining
Joe Turkel is also one of the best Kubrick stars who played the Bartender. He gives Jack Nicholson the drinks that he wants to exchange for his soul. Joe is one of the favorite minor supporting characters of all the fantastic Kubrick roles. Turkel’s stare exudes evil behind devil eyes and an impish grin.
Malcolm McDowell, Alexander DeLarge – A Clockwork Orange
Malcolm McDowell played the role of leader of a gang of teenage thugs, who go on rampages of ultra-violence around England and wearing his titled bowler hat with eye makeup.
McDowell got the perfected stare and great effect through the film as compared to other Kubrick films. A Clockwork Orange is a dark, bleak, and depressing look at the future and what civilized western society could devolve into.
Alex DeLarge is the expression of the descent man into mindless lust for violence and sex. They respect the Kubrick artist and director. McDowell does not consider Kubrick a great film director because McDowell considers all his films cold and inhuman.
He does not show the good side of the man, and that’s a fatal flaw in Kubrick’s films’ storyline. He ranks in one of the very few actors who controlled Kubrick allowed to improvise dialogue and scene lines. Alex mercilessly kicks the old man when another drug dealer pinned him was strangled, and there was a scene of singing in the rain.
Vincent D’Onofrio – Full Metal Jacket
The first time I know about the existence of the Kubrick stare was in 1987. at that time Vietnam War film Full Metal Jacket was released. The cover was so attractive that Vincent D’Onofrio was sitting in his underwear and staring into the camera like a maniac.
Kubrick found his young actors who played the Marine recruits. First, they sent off to boot camp and then to war by issuing an open casting call in Canada and the US. He received thousands of videotaped auditions.
These were whittled down to about 800 that he watched. Kubrick selected young actors like Matthew Modine, who played Private Joker role. Besides, Adam Baldwin played animal Mother and D’Onofrio, played the unforgettable character of Private Pyle.
Lee Ermey played Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, an instructor who terrorizes the recruits through boot camp and becomes Private Pyle’s hell.
Ermey was a technical advisor to Kubrick on the film; however, he asked Kubrick to portray Hartman instead. But he turned him down, so Ermey put together his own casting videotape. Moreover, he also filmed tossing an uninterrupted string of expletives and insults at British Royal Marines.
Meanwhile, he threw tennis balls and oranges when the camera was off.
Ermey never flinched whenever he was pelted. Lee Ermey insults Kubrick and saw the tape. He changed his mind and admitted that Ermey’s genius was central to the character and the film.
Throughout Boot Camp, Pyle always met in way over his head physically and emotionally. Hartman despises and torments him relentlessly. Only Private Joker Shows him any compassion.
On the boot camp’s last night, Joker pulls night watch and finds Pyle alone in his underwear and who sits on the latrine, holding his rifle. He tried to reason with Pyle to put down the gun before Hartman finds out.
Pyle considers the famous Kubrick stare and also says, “I am in a world of shit.” Hartman wakes up and goes to the latrine to confront Pyle. Pyle pulls the trigger and kills Hartman and then puts the gun to his own head and kills himself, sparing Joker.
Keir Dullea, Dr. David Bowman – 2001
Another masterpiece and arguably greatest film is the science fiction story that is set in three acts. Among three, one is the Dawn of man and the final Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite.
Meanwhile, the third film shows mankind in the future, where we travel into space and discover a mysterious black monolith on the moon. There is a journey of two astronauts Dr. David Bowman and Dr. Frank Poole. Kubrick shows man’s time venturing into space and becomes impersonal, robotic with little feelings and emotions.
An artificially intelligent computer runs all operations on the spaceship to be the one human on board the ship. HAL is one on board that acts like a human. HAL is envious, jealous, ambitious, and becomes paranoid and killer.
Moreover, HAL discovers that Bowman and Pooler are plotting to disconnect him and decides he can not allow what to happen. Meanwhile, HAL sends Poole out to fix the broken antennae and kills him. On the other hand, Bowman goes out into space and tries to rescue Poole.
In searching to Poole, Bowman left the pod without his space helmet, and now Bowman can not reenter the spaceship without it. Finally, Bowman shows emotion and makes his way towards HAL’s logic system to shut off his brain and kill HAL. Slowly Bowman unplugs HAL, and we hear the artificial mind and slipping away as he begs Bowman.
Various Dr. Strangelove Characters
Well, there is a great list of Kubrick Stare, but if you never watch the Kubrick masterpiece, Dr. Strangelove, then before die must watch it. If you don’t like Kubrick movies, war stories, dark comedy, you must watch it. There is an outstanding performance of George C.
Scott, Sterling Hayden, and Peter sellers. Kubrick told Scoot these were warm-up performances and would not be used as the final takes in the finished film. When Scott saw the completed film and Found Kubrick, who had lied to him and used the same over-the-top performances, Scott vowed and never worked with him again.
Scott plays Turgidson as a child-like maniac and believes the United States should go ahead and start a nuclear war with Russia. They lost 10-20 million dead tops and gave the breaks that were acceptable casualties. The character of Turgidson was based on real-life US Air Force general Curtis LeMay.
However, When president Merkin Muffley thwarts Turgidson’s wishes to start the nuclear war, we see Scott flash the stare. Another actor, Sterling, did not perform in the film for many years. Kubrick brought him back and gave the role of mad Brigadier General Jack Ripper, commander of a military base who orders his nuclear bombers to attack Russia on his own command.
Ripper takes advantage of legislation delegating authority to launch a nuclear counterattack against the Russians. The planes can’t be returned when he has issued the order to attack. The signal is proceeded by a three-letter code prefix known only to Ripper. The exchange officer with the British Royall Air force is captain Lionel Mandrake.
He confronts Ripper with the madness of his actions and begs Ripper to give him the code. Well, he can bring the planes before World War III. Kubrick stare Hayden is a classic insane madman look mixed with anger and a touch of good old American condescension towards Mandrake.
Ripper refused and told Mandrake to settle down and make me drink pure grain alcohol and rainwater and fix yourself. Moreover, the ripper is mad and obsessed with communist subversion, infiltration, indoctrination to purify body fluids.
Well, the exchange of nuclear weapons by two great power was not bad. Russians have a secret weapon- the Doomsday Bomb. It is set to go off if the Russian homeland is attacked and will deliver a Doomsday Shroud of atomic radiation. It will encircle the earth and kill all life.
Major Kong and his crew were near their target and dawns on the assembled US military officials, Russian president, and Ambassador, and the world is about to end.
Well, Dr. Strangelove calculates that it is feasible for mankind to survive tree radiation for years. He advises the president on his mad plans, and his gloved hand attempts to strangle himself. Kubrick Stare delivered the pure scientific madness. The madness of men who created horrible weapons and believed they could control them.