Stanley Kubrick made three documentaries early in his career. Created between 1951 – 1953 Kubrick acted as director, writer, cinematographer, and soundman for the shorts. They include the first film he directed and the first color picture he made. They also offer an early insight into the legendary filmmaker’s craft.

Day of the Fight (1951)

Day of the Fight is a 1951 short documentary shot in black-and-white and also the first picture directed by Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick financed the film himself, and it is based on an earlier photo feature he had done as a photographer for Look magazine in 1949.

Flying Padre (1951)

Flying Padre is a short black-and-white documentary, which is notable as the second picture directed by Stanley Kubrick, after Day of the Fight. About a Catholic priest in rural New Mexico, Father Fred Stadtmuller. Because his 400-square mile parish is so large, he uses a Piper Cub airplane (named the “Spirit of St. Joseph”) to travel from one isolated settlement to another. The film shows him providing spiritual guidance, giving sermons at funerals, and serving as an impromptu air ambulance by flying a sick child and his mother to hospital.

The Seafarers (1953)

Stanley Kubrick’s first film made in color. Lost for over 40 years! It was supervised by the staff of The Seafarers Log, the union magazine. For the cafeteria scene in the film, Kubrick chose a long, sideways-shooting dolly shot to establish the life of the seafarer’s community; this shot is an early demonstration of a signature technique that Kubrick would use in his feature films.

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David Spodak

Wonderful to have these on one site. If I may, let me promote my documentary about Kubrick’s Paths of Glory.
Visit the project website and check the link to a Kickstarter fund drive for finishing funds.

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