The scripts, with themes of jealousy and adultery, call to mind the filmmaker’s real-life marriage problems
It’s been 20 years since the death of cinematic legend Stanley Kubrick, and yet his work sparks as much intrigue today as it did while he was alive. Now, three of the filmmaker’s previously unseen script ideas have been discovered in London.
As reported by the Guardian, the scripts were written between 1954 and 1956 when Kubrick was having problems with his second wife, dancer and designer Ruth Sobotka. Obviously drawing inspiration from IRL events, marriage, jealousy, and adultery play a central role in the screenplays, which are titled Married Man, The Perfect Marriage, and Jealousy. Subtle!
Married Man includes 35 pages of typed script with extra pages of handwritten notes, while The Perfect Marriage has just seven pages of scenes, and Jealousy is made up of 13 pages.
The screenplays were discovered after being transferred from Kubrick’s house to the filmmaker’s archive at University of the Arts London. Nathan Abrams, a film studies professor at Bangor University, told the Guardian: “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.”
The unearthed material contains ideas that would later end up in Kubrick’s 1999 hit Eyes Wide Shut, including notes scribbled in The Perfect Marriage script: “Setting Xmas. Wife preparing for party Xmas eve that night. Fussing. Husband depressed by Xmas. Story about marriage, fidelity, cheating.”
Continuing on his theme of depressing marital life, the opening lines for Married Man make it unsurprising that Kubrick and Sobotka divorced in 1957. “Marriage is like a long meal with dessert served at the beginning”, the director wrote. “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?”
Abrams described the script ideas as “not high” when it comes to literary merit, expanding that “by his own confession, Kubrick wasn’t a writer… it’s what he would have done with it that counts”.
The discovery will be hugely exciting for Kubrick fans, shining further light on the cinematic legend’s life and oeuvre. Maybe one day someone will unearth the script where he actually did write Jim Carrey into The Shining – here’s hoping!