After highlighting his very first published work with thousands of photographs taken in the 1940’s, it’s time to jump a little further in the career of Stanley Kubrick. Before he would make his studio debut with the noir drama The Killing, in the early 1950’s he would embrace the moving image with a trio of shorts — some believe he made more, but only three have survived — and his feature debut.
Today we’re taking a look at these works, with a hat tip to Open Culture for pointing us to them. First we have 1951’s Day of the Fight, a documentary that follows boxer Walter Cartier, a subject he previously captured in photographs for Look Magazine. Embracing a film noir approach, with themes he would revisit in his sophomore film Killer’s Kiss, the $3,900-budgeted film showcases Kubrick’s earlier choreographed precision, leading up to a fight he captured live.
Following that we have Flying Padre, which was made the same year and has less of Kubrick’s stamp. The short film takes on a standard newsreel approach, looking at the life of Rev. Fred Stadtmueller who traveled via plane to reach his community. Lastly, we have The Seafarers, his first color film which was made for the Seafarers International Union two years later, in June 1953, exploring their organization. Partially inspired by the works of Sergei Eisenstein, check it out below, along with the others.
As a bonus, check out Kubrick’s debut feature Fear and Desire, which has been newly restored as you can see in a process video:
Fear and Desire and The Seafarers are now available on Blu-ray.
What do you think of Kubrick’s early work?