An obsessive in every definition of the word, Stanley Kubrick is one of the most celebrated directors of all time, not least for his virtuoso control over each and every aspect of the creative process. From his innovative choice of soundtrack to his revolutionary use of cinematography, Kubrick held a masterful grip on the most significant elements of cinema, but also meticulously crafted the smallest details, from storyboards to title cards.
Collated into a small collection on the Stanley Kubrick subreddit on Reddit, the full glory of Stanley Kubrick’s title cards can be truly appreciated. These range from the simplicity of his first documentary short film Day of the Flight, to the grandeur of 2001: A Space Odyssey’s iconic opening shot. Simplified both at the start and at the end of his career, these title cards largely display the name of the film with relative simplicity compared to the creative flair of his 1960’s films.
One keen-eyed Reddit user also points out that the title of 2001: A Space Odyssey is actually spelt like ‘2OOI’, with two O’s and the letter ‘I’ as opposed to the four-digit number itself. Presumably, a rare fan of graphic typefaces, the user also notes that 2001 and Eyes Wide Shut use Futura, whilst The Shining uses Helvetica. It seems that his fan has the same obsessive nature as Stanley Kubrick himself.
Clearly a creative obsessive and cinematic auteur, speaking to Robert Emmett Ginna in the book Stanley Kubrick: The Complete Films, the filmmaker stated, “I think you have to view the entire problem of putting the story you want to tell up there on that light square”.
Kubrick continues, stating: “It begins with the selection of the property; it continues through the creation of the story, the sets, the costumes, the photography and the acting. And when the picture is shot, it’s only partially finished”.
Continuing, he adds, “I think the cutting is just a continuation of directing a movie. I think the use of music effects, opticals and finally main titles are all part of telling the story. And I think the fragmentation of these jobs, by different people, is a very bad thing”.
As for our favourite of the artistic selection, we’d have to go for A Clockwork Orange, simply for the fact that it ties nicely in with a line from the film’s protagonist, Alex, “It’s funny how the colours of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen”. As for Quentin Tarantino’s favourite, we’re gonna go with Lolita. Why? We’ll let you work that one out for yourselves.
See the all the title cards, below.