Thursday, April 11, 2013

Early Kubrick

An interview with James B. Harris, producer of Stanley Kubrick's early films and a partner who was, it seems,  much trusted. Harris went on to a directing career of his own. I have seen his 1993 Wesley Snipes/Dennis Hopper action movie Boiling Point (the last film Harris has directed to date) but can offer no memories.
Q: Kubrick showed you his second film, Killer’s Kiss (1955), early on in your friendship. What appealed to you as a prospective producer?

A: What impressed me was that he’d completed it. In those days, you’d hear somebody was making a film, and making a film, but never see the film. What happened? They got halfway through and ran out of money, or it didn’t work. Stanley completed his film. He shot the picture with a wild track; he had to lip-sync everything in postproduction. That was intensive, precision work back then. I was very impressed. I had access to funding, and so proposed a partnership.

I came across Clean Break, by Lionel White; a fast-paced novel about a racetrack robbery shown from many points of view. It was a terrific story. Stanley read it the day after I did and agreed that it was great for us. Stanley wrote the screenplay and Jim Thompson contributed some dialogue; we called it The Killing. We were determined to keep the offbeat time-structure from White’s book.

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