June 10, 2009

Kubrick and murder

As the only human in the film HAL proves a greater murderer than any of the men.
-- The Harvard Crimson review of 2001, by Tim Hunter, with Stephen Kaplan and Peter Jaszi, 1968.

Now he seems to have gone back to his view at the beginning of 2001: man is a murderer, throughout eternity. The bone that was high in the air has turned into Jack's axe, held aloft, and Jack, crouched over, making wild, inarticulate sounds as he staggers in the maze, has become the ape.
-- Pauline Kael on The Shining, the New Yorker, 1980.

Finally, the question must be considered whether Rousseau's view of man as a fallen angel is not really the most pessimistic and hopeless of philosophies. It leaves man a monster who has gone steadily away from his nobility. It is, I am convinced, more optimistic to accept [Robert] Ardrey's view that, "...we were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles and our irreconcilable regiments?
"Or our treaties, whatever they may be worth; our symphonies, however seldom they may be played; our peaceful acres, however frequently they may be converted into battlefields; our dreams, however rarely they may be accomplished. The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses."
-- Stanley Kubrick, a letter to the New York Times, 1972.

Been getting into the Kubrick Site this week. Inexhaustible.