Killer’s Kiss: Where Stanley Kubrick’s Filmmaking Career Really Begins

The evo­lu­tion of Stan­ley Kubrick­’s ear­ly career looks some­thing like this. A young Kubrick grad­u­ates from high school in 1945, and almost imme­di­ate­ly starts work­ing for LOOK Mag­a­zine as a pho­to­jour­nal­ist, where he mas­ters his visu­al craft. (You can see a good sam­pling of his pho­to­graph­ic work right here.) By the ear­ly 1950s, Kubrick has his sights set on motion pic­tures, and, after shoot­ing a cou­ple of short doc­u­men­taries, he gets to work on fea­ture films. His first pro­duc­tion, Fear and Desire (1953), is some­thing of a let­down. Though crit­ics give it sound reviews, Kubrick is unhap­py with the result, and he works hard to remove all exist­ing copies from cir­cu­la­tion. Even so, you can still find grainy copies online.

Fast for­ward two years, and Kubrick, now 26, bor­rows $40,000 from his uncle and shoots Killer’s Kiss, a movie that sits square­ly in the film noir tra­di­tion. (Get more noir films here.) It’s short, run­ning only 67 min­utes. It pass­es the lit­mus test for Kubrick him­self, offi­cial­ly launch­ing his film­mak­ing career. And the mini noir is now avail­able on Dai­ly Motion. We also have Killer’s Kiss and Fear and Desire list­ed in our col­lec­tion of Free Online Movies. Enjoy…

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