A year ago today, Warner Home Video released the incredible and sizable 10-disc Blu-ray collection, “Stanley Kubrick: The Masterpiece Collection.” It only seems fitting that we mark the anniversary with this hour-long Charlie Rose interview about the late, great Stanley Kubrick.
Back in 2001, Rose sat down with Christiane Kubrick (the filmmaker’s wife of over 40-years until his death two years prior, in 1999), Martin Scorsese, and Jan Harlan, who executive produced Kubrick’s last four completed films and had just directed and released the documentary, “Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures.” The trio joined Rose to effuse about the writer-director and his masterful, inimitable filmography. And gush they did—with great reason.
“One of his pictures, are equivalent to ten of somebody else’s,” Scorsese says in archival interview footage used in the special. Later during the interview, he admits that he often watches Kubrick’s films with the sound off. They’re that powerful and provocative, even just visually.
To kick off the interview, Rose opens with an obvious, complex question for all three guests, “What made him so good?” Christiane’s response is both honest and a touching tribute to her husband. “I suppose the reason I loved him, is because in his own life, he had the same enormous attention to what is important [as he did in his films].” She follows up the statement with the recollection of how she met her husband. Her smile, when she talks about her husband seeking her out at a party before they began dating, is the epitome of love and admiration.
Gathering three people so closely connected to Kubrick—both professionally and personally—offers an intimate portrait of the cinematic genius, the likes of which we witness all too infrequently. And they each serve a different purpose. Whereas Harlan can speak about Kubrick as a collaborator, Christiane sheds light on the personal side of the artist, and Scorsese provides ample discussion about the filmmaker, seen through the eyes of his peers and other directors.
The hour-long special features previously recorded interviews with many of Kubrick’s collaborators and cast, including Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Malcolm McDowell, Steven Spielberg, and Sydney Pollack. Their reverence for him is unanimous. Jack Nicholson perhaps sums up their collective feeling about him the best when he says, “Everyone pretty much acknowledges that he’s the man, and I still feel that underrates him.”
Check out the full 55-minute interview below.