In response to both the current thread about Kubrick's use of one-point perspective and a conversation I had with a friend a few weeks back about Kubrick and films in general, I've decided I needed to rewatch his filmography. But not only that, I've managed to acquire his earliest movies including some short documentaries, all of which I've never seen before.
Today, I watched all three of his known short documentaries (it's believed by some historians that he did more): Day of the Fight, The Flying Padre
, and The Seafarers.
Day of the Fight
I would say that this is the best of three because it delves into the world of boxing and manages to humanize it in a short period of 16 minutes. Additionally, I was very impressed by the variety of compositional shots Kubrick used which he clearly learned during his early years as a photographer.
One side note of trivia: Kubrick's assistant director and second cameraman for this production was high school friend, Alexander Singer, who I'm sure many people around here will recall is a noted director of many episodes of The Next Generation
, Deep Space Nine
, and Voyager
This documentary focuses on the Seafarers International Union which is an organization of labor unions for mariners, fishermen and boatmen that was founded in 1938. This is Kubrick's first foray into color and shows the beginning of some of his classic touches such as shots from a dolly track. The documentary is mildly interesting but it's very much like the atypical documentaries during that time in regards to narration and music (I'm reminded of the old Merrie Melodies
skits that often mocked such clichéd films).
The Flying Padre
This is the shortest of the three and focuses on a priest in New Mexico who regularly flew a private plane because his parish was so far spread apart. Kubrick later said he thought the film was silly and I'm inclined to agree.