Much has been written about Stanley Kubrick--the director of such masterpieces as Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket and The Shining--about his meticulous attention to detail, his obsession with technology, his unhurried approach to making movies, his perfectionism, his reclusiveness, his eccentricity--but little is truly known about the man himself.
In Stanley Kubrick and Me: Thirty Years at His Side (Arcade Publishing, 2016, 357 pgs., $27.99), the auteur's long-time personal assistant Emilio D'Alessandro (along with an assist from co-writer Filippo Ulivieri, a film theory teacher and Italy's foremost Kubrick expert) aims to change that by painting a vivid picture of a man recognized by all, but only truly known to a few. (The Italian version of the book was released in 2012. It was translated into English by Simon Marsh and rereleased last year.)
D'Alessandro, a one-time racecar driver, met the director by chance in the early 1970s while working as a minicab driver in London, where they both lived. Kubrick immediately took a liking to the unassuming Italian immigrant, who after a period of financial hardship, was willing to do anything to stay afloat and support his family. And if that meant working 20-hour days for a creative genius with increasingly strange demands, then so be it.
He did a little bit of everything for Kubrick--from ferrying the director about town to shopping for his household to basic plumbing to moving furniture to taking care of scores of animals to scouting locations for movies and so much more. D'Alessandro was so capable and learned so quickly to anticipate the quirky director's needs that he rapidly became an essential part of Kubrick's daily life.
He proved to be so indispensable to Kubrick that the director repeatedly asked him to uproot his family and move them onto the Kubrick property --to be closer to the action. But D'Alessandro turned him down each and every time, wanting to hold onto a small part of his individuality--even while he spent more and more time catering to Kubrick's every waking whim.
But it wasn't because Kubrick wasn't a good man. He was kirtdhearted and generous --D'Alessandro makes that clear. He cared about his family, his friends and his staff. When D'Alessandro's son was horribly injured in a car accident and needed to have his leg amputated, Kubrick offered whatever assistance was required. He paid D'Alessandro well, constantly giving him raises when he worried he...