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Today in Movie History: April 3

Some movies tower so high that simply to mention them is to take the breath away. So it its with 2001: A Space Odyssey. Almost 50 years on — with countless screenings, analyses, critical evaluations, and drug-induced hallucinations in the interim — we’re still pondering the imponderables of Stanley Kubrick’s monumental achievement. An unanswerable mystery and an all-encompassing revelation; a warning …

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Today in Movie History: October 7

On the surface, Spartacus is second-tier Stanley Kubrick at best. The legendary director was brought in at the behest of co-producer/star Kirk Douglas after Anthony Mann was fired a week into shooting. Kubrick got the job done, but the film features few of his signature flourishes, and remains solid Hollywood product more than the work of a celebrated auteur. Its …

thekingandi

Today in Movie History: June 29

We’ll start with The King and I, one of the greatest musicals ever made and the object of eternal gratitude from us bald men for whom Yul Brynner is just the gift that keeps on giving. It opened today in 1956. In case anyone believes that the media was every anything but a gang of scoop-grubbing weasels, Billy Wilder will …

Lolita

Today in Movie History: June 13

Stanley Kubrick still hadn’t quite established himself as, you know, Stanley Kubrick, when he tackled the supposedly unfilmable Lolita from a screenplay by Nabokov himself. The results were imperfect at best, but demonstrated a filmmaker willing to work on the high wire without a net, and set the stage for the breathtaking string of masterpieces that followed. Lolita was released …

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Today in Movie History: December 18

Mumble, mumble… something, something…  highest grossing movie of all time that somehow turned into a pop culture afterthought… Avatar… freaking Avatar opened today six years ago in 2009. A far less well-known (and as underrated as Avatar is overrated) movie shares the same release date: Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. Long viewed as a runt in the master’s litter, it remains something of a forgotten …