jan harlan

Started by marco, August 12, 2003, 04:58:28 PM

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by,by, your ignorant fools!

atticus jones




c'mon man...find thay shit yoself
my cause is the cause of a man who has never been defeated, and whose whole being is one all devouring, god given holy purpose


No more stalking for you, Marco. Harlan has already moved 3 times because of you and I think by now you should leave him alone.


maybe this thread could be changed to Jan Harlan-

nothing really new here but this interview is somewhat interesting nontheless:

(forgive me if this is posted elsewhere)

On Kubrick
A Talk With Kubrick Documentarian Jan Harlan

Stanley Kubrick is one of the most dicussed contemporary Directors. There's alot know about him, but until now no one has put it all together quite like Jan Harlan, whose fantastic Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures is being released as a key part of The New Stanley Kubrick Collection.

We had the opportunity to talk to Jan about Kubrick, and used questions submitted by DVD Talk Members as the basis for our interview.

To what extent was Stanley Kubrick interested in the DVD format? What kind of exposure did he have?

It was early days and the most exiting thing for us was that the dubbing territories, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, could now have the possibility of getting rid of this nasty dubbed tract and going back to the original version. And if they didn't speak any English at all, they could have the French or German or Italian subtitles, but this was a much better compromise. You know Stanley didn't like dubbing, although we tried very, very hard to get it right. But it is something you cannot get right. It's always flawed. Remember him saying that the German's took revenge for having lost the war by dubbing his films. I thought that was a funny line.

I'm sure seeing Paths to Glory dubbed in German would be kind of surreal.

Oh it's terrible. I mean any film dubbed in Germany is terrible. Any film dubbed in French or Spanish. Imagine the other way around. You'd see a German film. Imagine The Blue Angel or "M", imagine it dubbed into English. It doesn't work.

Speaking of alterations to Kubrick's work, one of the most controversial recent Kubrick moments surrounds the orgy scene in Eyes Wide Shut.

That's correct.

I want to know if you could help shed some light. Was Kubrick at all involved in that decision? How did the digital elemets get decided on?

Okay, I can answer that totally and completely. The film was first shown on the first of March to Bob Daily, Tom Cruise and Nicolle Kidman in New York. The work print was screened. Madrigal, the editor, was there. They absolutely loved the film. They were totally enthusiastic. They called Stanley and told him how much they liked it and all of them were very, very excited. So Stanley was very, very happy and died a week later.

So then, six or seven weeks later when the whole thing calmed down, we had to finish the film. Since we couldn't touch the cut - that was impossible - but we had to do the dubbing, some music recording. It was all planned anyway. We just executed what he had already decided. So we faithfully did our job.

Then came parallel to that, the rating issue. We had to show a copy of the print to the MPAA and they insisted that the orgy scene be changed. How do you change it? Had Stanley lived, he would have because he had to deliver an R-rating that was not to be discussed and of course was out of the question. But had he lived, he would have re-cut it. It's very easy to do. I could have done it. Anybody can do it. You just go back to Tom and in the objectionable copulation scenes are visible, you just go back to Tom walking and looking and then you go back and then that's how you do it.

But we couldn't do that. There would have been an uproar had Warner Bros. or anybody cut Stanley's cut. So we had only one option and that is to add electronically or digitally, more of the black cloaks bit by bit and as little as possible until the MPAA agreed it is now an R-rating. That's the complete answer.

Will we ever get to see the scene as it was shot?

I don't know. I mean the rest of the world has it in the original version and in the United States, we have the R-rated version. I can't answer the question. It's down to Warner Bros. I think Warner Bros. will not do it because they don't release NC-17 rated films on DVD.

Did Kubrick ever tangle horns with the MPAA about his films?

With the MPAA? Well not in fight. I mean the MPAA people are very, very nice. There was a woman who was in charge and I negotiated with her. She was a very intelligent person. She said "Look, I mean I personally,it doesn't bother me. I think it's very silly, this process, but I have to follow my rules." Her rules are: You can have this and not that. I mean it's very simple. There was too much nudity. Yeah you can have a bit, but not too much. Don't ask me why. I mean, because I don't think there's much difference whether you see three nude people or seven, but apparently there is. These are the rules.

Of all Kubrick's movies, was there any one that he personally was most satisfied with or held higher up than any of his other films?

Well I think he particularly liked Eyes Wide Shut. Yes. He really was happy with that. Probably because it was the hardest film to do for him. It was such a struggle and such a difficult topic. It was a hidden film. There were so many things the audience had to really decipher for themselves. And tremendous performances by everybody, and he was very happy with it. But obviously I think the audience didn't share his enthusiasm in the Northern European Anglo-Saxon world. In Japan they did. And in Italy, Spain and France they did. But you know that's just what you get to do. That's how it is.

He also liked his other films. I mean he basically liked his films. No doubt about it. He was happy with this 2001.

Did Stanley ever watch his films? Did he revisit them years later?

Only if he had to. And he had to when, for example, there was an issue of a new print or for a new release, or for television. Then he would watch it and make sure they have a good print. Or for technical reasons. But he would not watch his own films for entertainment.

What films and directors did Stanley Kubrick admire? There were many. He loved Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg, Ingmar Bergman, Carlos Saura, Edgar Reitz, Felini. Yeah, lots. Edgar Reitz, he did a film called Heimat. Amazing scenes there. The best thing that came out of Germany after the war. Mind you, very little came out of Germany after the war, but I mean Reitz is great. He loved Carlos Saura, a Spanish director who did a film called Cría Cuervos. Wonderful film. Also Blood Wedding by Saura. Hhe loved Woody Allen and he liked Steven Spielberg films. Oh he liked lots of films. He was very knowledgeable and in fact he saw everything. I also know there were a lot of films he would give up after ten minutes. We had stacks of prints in our projection room and many times he would only see reel one because if reel one somehow leaves you totally cold, the risk is too great to go on and waste another hour and a half. He was an ardent film lover.

You mentioned how Kubrick loved Spielberg and Allen and other people who you've ultimately talk to in your documentary. And in the documentary they refer to Kubrick, almost universally, as one of the great directors ever to walk the face of the Earth. What qualities do you think are influencing so many people and putting him into a position of such a highly revered director?

Well, he was in one way quite unique. I guess you could say the same thing of Scorsese that he was very influential for young people and young filmmakers by seeing how something is done. In that respect, he was like Picasso. You don't have to like Picasso. Not taking anything away from him, he was, objectively speaking, a real switch on the tracks. He just established himself as one of the major influential painters of the century. But then the same is true for Shosta Kovich as a composer. In that sense, Kubrick was just a major influence on the whole generation of filmmakers. And it didn't even require that you liked his film. There's an element of objectivity where you recognize somebody's craft.

Combined form and content. There were in history marvelous filmmakers. Take Charlie Chaplain where it was all content. And the form was real sloppy. Or you have people who are only form and the film actually is totally shallow, but the art department and special effects are brilliant. The content you wouldn't be able to tell anybody what it is about. But the other extreme, he tried to combine both. Very consciously, he wanted the films to look really right, to be well photographed, everything had to be good in his filming, camera side, but he insisted on content.

One of the people who sites him as a definite influencer now is kind of seeing one of his final projects to completion and that would be Steven Spielberg with AI. How much of Kubrick's work has been carried through to the theatrical version of AI?

A lot. I mean, a lot. I mean we had over a thousand drawings. Chris Baker, the artist from Birmingham, very, very talented young man, were hired by Steven as well. Of course all the screenplays, the various versions, I gave them all to Steven and discussed it. Steven rewrote the screenplay and showed it to me and I read it, and it's terrific. It's excellent. Stanley would have been the first to applaud. There's no doubt in my mind. He made a few changes, but they were all very good. He actually improved it. Steven is a great talent and in fact, as different as these two men are, the common denominator is just sheer talent. Which is something that is hard to define because talent is outside of intelligence or knowledge, it's a mixture of instinct and I don't know what it is...it's definitely a quality that is there and that comes up as ideas. It has a vision. Kubrick was full of this, but so is Steven. I mean Steven is really a tremendous talent. No doubt about it.

Now there are obviously at least two other works that Kubrick shelved along his career, Napoleon and The Aryan Papers. Do you know if any plans to either publish those manuscripts or screenplays?

Maybe I'll do that. I have such an enormous amount of research material on Napoleon and it would be fun to publish the Napoleon screenplay illustrated with our research material. Maybe I'll do that next year when I have a bit of time. There's no rush. It has been sitting there for thirty years. It can wait another two.

The Aryan Papers is out of my hands. It belongs to Warner Bros. I have no rights in this. It's one of those. I don't know what they're doing. I just spoke this morning to somebody there. I know that people are interested in it, but it's a very difficult film to make.

Kubrick was often maybe mistakenly seen as a recluse. First of all, do you feel that he was reclusive?

He was not a recluse at all. There were always people coming to visit him at his house. But what is true is that he didn't speak to the press, television and radio people, and he was not a partygoer. He went to my New Year's Eve party for twenty years in a row, but that was about the only one. There's always been sort of thirty people there so he knew them all. So if that's a recluse, then he's a recluse. I don't define a recluse like that.

Was there any particular reason that he gave to not do press?

There was a reason. He always felt very strongly that he didn't have to add anything to his films. He felt "If there was anything important I could add, I would have put it in the film in the first place." He didn't want to explain himself. He didn't like it at all. "What did you mean in 2001?"

So if he had survived and as DVD technology continues and his work is reissued, odds are he probably never would have done what is called a "Director's Commentary."

Absolutely not. But he applauded DVD. The invention is brilliant, typically for the reasons I explained first and also the fact that you could have such good quality. He certainly liked that. He was a very visual man and he loved the idea. But the fact that before dubbing territories could be served better, he really liked that very much.

What brought Stanley Kubrick to England from New York and then L.A.?

A plan that helped to attract foreign filmmakers into Britain. It was an act of financial incentive and for Lolita, it was great. You know it was the time of the man who got the big budget approvals. He got used to Britain. But he always returned back to America and in fact, he started with Arthur C. Clarke working on 2001, in New York. But then it was time to shoot, he went to the "M" Studio, which then existed in Borehamwood in England. It was much, much easier to do it there than going to California. Well, then the children grow up and they go to school. Things come together and he liked England. He also hated traveling, and he didn't fly so it was such a drag to go by boat back and forth and so, so he finally lived in England. So that was started off by just very practical financial considerations. It ended up because he liked it. He also liked the climate. He liked bad weather.

Are there any myths that surround Kubrick or his films that you could help put to rest?

A myth? Well what the myth was, other than he was a recluse? He was a neurotic? I don't think he was neurotic at all. He was a perfectionist? Yes, he was a perfectionist. So what? I consider that a compliment. What else did they say? In the British Press they said he was mad like a dog. Well they're just wrong. He certainly wasn't. He was a very humorous, kind, demanding man. He was no pushover that's for sure.
...your excuses are your own...


In conversation with Kubrick's producer
After 10 masterpieces back-to-back, how could the director consider Eyes Wide Shut to be his supreme artistic achievement?
Source: Andrew Pulver; The Guardian

Stanley Kubrick died almost exactly nine years ago and his shadow still looms large over cinema. For me, Kubrick's central achievement is a still unmatched 10-film run of masterpieces, between 1955's Killer's Kiss and 1987's Full Metal Jacket. No other director, not Ford, Scorsese, Truffaut or Fellini, has such a strike rate, and it's even less likely that someone will ever again produce cutting-edge work in four consecutive decades. In my opinion - and it is only an opinion - I only discount Spartacus which, though ambitious, is dated and kitschy, and his final film, Eyes Wide Shut.

It was to introduce the latter film that Kubrick's producer (and brother-in-law) Jan Harlan came to London to participate in the Barbican cinema's Stanley Kubrick 2008: A Film Odyssey screening programme. I saw Eyes Wide Shut when it was released and felt it was the work of someone well past their prime; I saw it again at the Barbican last week and while I can now appreciate its dream structure and Freudian investigation of the subconscious a little more, it still seems a bafflingly obvious meditation on deceit. Can Kubrick really, as Harlan told us, have considered it his supreme artistic achievement?

Be that as it may, Kubrick's archives are now open for academic inspection at the University of the Arts London. There you can find evidence of the projects that increasingly derailed Kubrick's plans, leading to those ever-lengthening gaps in his productions and so many aborted films. One fascinating snippet that Harlan let drop as we spoke was that Kubrick's original pick for Eyes Wide Shut, when he first got hold of the rights to the Schnitzler source material in the mid-70s, was none other than Woody Allen. Now what a movie that might have been...

watch the severely edited 2:44 "interview" here.. worth it
"Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art." - Andy Warhol

Skeleton FilmWorks


Gold Trumpet

I don't consider Eyes Wide Shut to be his greatest contribution. I don't know of anyone who does feel that way. In fact I consider it his most accessable film to anyone who wants to understand his art. The fact he says Eyes Wide Shut is his greatest proves the theory that directors will say anything. Don't take them too seriously.

last days of gerry the elephant

I don't know if it's his greatest contribution and I wouldn't make such a claim anyway. But it was always my favorite from all his films.


i saw eyes wide shut again this weekend and it keeps getting richer. sometimes it seems like a masterpiece, some others like a completely flawed film. sometimes is disturbing and some others it's very funny in a bunuel kind of way.

i guess kubrick was covering a lot more ground than what has been credited to him on this film. and there's a possibility that we will at some point see the wonders that he saw in full on this work. i wouldn't discard that claim at all, not right now, probably not in 100 years.

directors will say anything, and so will critics, but if I'm going to take someone opinion's seriously, it will always be the author of his own work.

from the kubrick ouvre, to me the most accesible would be either full metal jacket or the shinning, because those films work perfectly as pure entertainment, and at the same time show his preocupations as a human being and as an artist in a direct way that eyes wide shut lacks. in my view, for the average moviegoer, eyes wide shut is a frustrating experience, promising to do things all along and never getting there.


Stanley Kubrick's Longtime Producer Trashes 'Room 237' and Lists 'Eyes Wide Shut' As His Favorite Kubrick Film

Jan Harlan acted as a researcher and producer for director Stanley Kubrick for over thirty years, contributing to such iconic films as "A Clockwork Orange," "Barry Lyndon," "The Shining," "Full Metal Jacket" and "Eyes Wide Shut." Harlan is one of three jury members on the docket of this year's Bermuda International Film Festival, which began on March 21. Last week, BIFF hosted a panel discussion featuring Harlan as the main subject where he discussed the art of filmmaking for festival attendees, filmmakers and students.

Before the panel, Harlan sat down with Indiewire to discuss his work with Kubrick, including the in-depth exhibit that he's helped put together, and to offer some advice to young filmmakers. Check out the accompanying video of the panel after the text Q&A for more insights from Harlan.

Tell me about how you first started working with Stanley Kubrick.

I have known Kubrick since I was at school. He was married to my sister when I was very young. So I came to know him very well. It was after "Dr. Strangelove" that he came back from England to New York. It was much later in '69 when he invited me to join him to go to Romania on "Napoleon," that was his big project and his great project. So my wife and I and our baby we came to England, and thought OK we'll stay there for 6 months and then go to Romania. But then MGM pulled out of the project. But we got along very well. I liked him and he liked me and he asked me to stay.

One of the first things we did together was get the rights to "Eyes Wide Shut." It's called "Traumnovelle" and he was very much in love with that story, but it proved to be just too difficult, so he dropped it. He had already a contract with Warner Brothers ready to go and he pulled out. He chewed over it for thirty years. When he finally made it he really considered it his greatest contribution to the art of filmmaking. Many people wouldn't agree with him but that doesn't really matter. Then came "A Clockwork Orange." That was my first job as an assistant. I learned the basics of the business, but my responsibility was never what you see on the screen.

So were you a film fan before you started working with him?

Always. I was absolutely. I knew many, many movies. Anyway from "Barry Lyndon" onward I did what I always do, negotiating and trying to get things. But since every film is different it's a very exciting life. Because you can't compare "Barry Lyndon" with "The Shining" or "Full Metal Jacket" or "Eyes Wide Shut" there all totally different requirements. "Eyes Wide Shut" was a great last experience to work with this man who was so enormously critical of himself. It took forever to do.

I know that he didn't want to be just another "mediocre" filmmaker. He wanted them to last.

He had to be happy with it. Lasting or not lasting was not on his mind. Also will the critics or the audience like it? There's nothing you can do about that. He had to like it. Once he liked it that's all he could do. And you just have to hope that many people go with you and generally speaking enough people did. So his films were a success.

Do you have a particular favorite?

I think it's "Eyes Wide Shut' but I'm not objective because it may very well be because it was the last time I worked with him, it was the last experience that's imprinted on my mind. And we talked also about "Traumnovelle" for over thirty years, you know on and off. There was one point when he though of doing it as a black and white, very cheap art house movie with Woody Allen in the lead. With Woody Allen playing a straight, Jewish, American doctor in New York. What he liked is universal; it's a universal truth about the total destruction of jealousy and sexual fantasy where everybody in the audience is an expert. So it's a tricky one. But anyway he wanted it in New York and he wasn't happy with the script and so he abandoned it and then "The Shining" was a walk in the park in comparison, because it's easy, you can do whatever you like. Nothing has to make sense, it doesn't matter you can do what you like.

Did you see "Room 237"?

Ah, so idiotic. Of course I did. There's nothing to like. It's just dumb. I mean [the filmmaker] obviously waited until Kubrick died. This happened to him in many cases, also this whole story about him doing a fake moon landing. This was only possible after he was dead. People come like worms; they creep out and take advantage of a guy who can't sue from the grave. At any rate, I don't worry about things like that.

Tell me about the Kubrick exhibit you've put together.

The exhibit is fantastic. The whole exhibition was created because of the film institute in Frankfurt. We were very resistant because why Germany? Kubrick really had nothing to do with Germany; it should have really been New York or London where such an exhibition should open because these were his two cities. But nobody came from New York and nobody came from London to this very day. So Frankfurt pushed very hard, and finally the federal government came and guaranteed certain funding because they thought that Kubrick - it was irrelevant that he was American or lived in England, he was a world artist like Picasso or Beethoven, it didn't matter. He was a really important artist of his generation. I'm sure it will come back to America. But it should really come to New York. But nobody wants it.

Is there a lot of the "Napoleon" work in it?

"Napoleon" is very much presented in that exhibition. And of course there's this book on "Napoleon" in the exhibit there's this Taschen book, I think it's the only book made about a film that has never been made!

How come it never came together?

That's a question for film studio executives to decide because they have to evaluate, quite rightly, the cost of doing it versus the potential audience, and I cannot judge this. Right now we are talking about maybe a television series; that would be the solution, no doubt.

Especially now since TV is so good.

Absolutely. Television is now the answer, there's no doubt about it. Finally it may come into it's own.

You have a very famous uncle. (Harlan's uncle was the infamous Veit Harlan, who directed the Nazi propaganda film "Jew Suss.")

Yeah he was, I don't know much about him, but he was very famous in Germany. He did some schlock films, some terrible movies. I can't tell you much about it I would have to Google it like you.

But my parents were opera singers, both of them. I grew up with music, with classical music, that's my home territory. I like great composers; it was one of the first things that brought me together with Kubrick because I brought to him "Thus Spoke Zarathustra." I came for Christmas to England, and he said to me [of "2001" A Space Odyssey,"] "The music I don't really like yet. Do you have anything that is really great, and comes to an end, and is not too long?" So I brought a whole stack of LP's and one of them was "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" and he loved it instantly. He was already taken by the title. It suggests something which is spiritual. He liked that because his film actually was quite a spiritual film. "2001" takes a big bow to the unknown or the creator of the universe. Kubrick was not a religious guy at all, but he was very respectful to life and to the fact that we know nothing. And we are surrounded by miracles. He was an agnostic.

That was always a sideline of what I did later, I suggested music. I didn't choose it, I suggested it. He knows what he likes; he was very musical himself. He was very interested from jazz to contemporary to Ligeti, which he used three times. Ligeti in "The Shining" and Penderecki. "Dies Irae" by Berlioz is an interesting example because the beginning of the film looks like it's National Geographic but it's the music that tells you there's something wrong here.

You do a lot of teaching now; what is your biggest piece of advice that you give to students?

You've got to love it. You've got to love what you're doing because why should anybody else love it if you don't yourself? This goes for all of the elements. You've got to love your script; you have to really have passion for wanting to tell a story. It's a difficult task because you know many students just have to make a short film as part of their studies and it's a big demand.. But on the other hand most of these films are also not interesting. So it's tough. I'm not saying it's easy. You have to love it and this is something I really love from Kubrick, he would not use music he didn't love. Now comes the question of what fits. Let's talk about music, what fits? Music fits if the director loves it. Does a Viennese waltz fit as space music for a futuristic film? Of course it doesn't. If you love it enough and that's what you want to do then it fits. This is artistic freedom, yeah? Art is not about being realistic. Art is about being real. Big difference.
"Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art." - Andy Warhol

Skeleton FilmWorks



That made my day.

Where is he teaching?
under the paving stones.