Several screenplays recently unearthed by Stanley Kubrick’s estate focus on domestic strife and marital woes, contrasting with the legendary filmmaker’s more prominent movies marked by violence, science fiction and dread.
Kubrick wrote the three films, titled “Married Man,” “The Perfect Marriage” and “Jealousy,” between 1954 and 1956, during an obscure period of his career and a stormy marriage to actress Ruth Sobotka.
“Sobotka, who he was married to when he’s developing these screenplays, had a very formative influence on him. But we don’t know so much about it or her. Things weren’t going well with her in Los Angeles. He went off to Germany to make ‘Paths of Glory’ in 1957,” researcher and Kubrick expert Nathan Abrams told The Guardian, referring to his career-launching war film with Kirk Douglas.
Kubrick’s estate apparently uncovered the material, and recently transferred the screenplays to the University of the Arts London.
The screenplays are between seven and 35 pages, plus handwritten notes and annotations.
Although the director is famous for surreal sci-fi films “A Clockwork Orange” and “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and films about war including “Paths of Glory,” “Full Metal Jacket” and “Dr. Strangelove,” some of the domestic issues explored in the screenplays eventually surfaced in his final film, “Eyes Wide Shut.”
According to The Guardian report, the opening lines for “Married Man” read: “Marriage is like a long meal with dessert served at the beginning … Can you imagine the horrors of living with a woman who fastens herself on you like a rubber suction cup whose entire life revolves around you morning, noon and night? … It’s like drowning in a sea of feathers. Sinking deeper and deeper into the soft, suffocating depths of habit and familiarity. If she’d only fight back. Get mad or jealous, even just once. Look, last night I went out for a walk. Right after dinner. I came home at two in the morning. Don’t ask me where I was.”
Kubrick, by his own admission, was not a gifted writer, and preferred to collaborate on his screenplays, said Abrams, who wrote a book titled “Stanley Kubrick: New York Jewish Intellectual.”
The new screenplays shed light on his early attempts at writing.
“The 1950s is probably the least understood period of Kubrick’s career. This shows that he’s working on far more than we previously knew. He’s quite productive. He’s trying his hand at being a writer. But, after ‘Killer’s Kiss,’ his 1955 film, they were never based on original material. They were always developed with someone from something,” Abrams said.