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Face-Off: Kubrick vs. Hitchcock
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by Stephanie Cooke Feb. 24, 2012
In the time that the Academy Awards have existed, too many actors and actresses have been snubbed to count. Too many films have been snubbed and there is just generally so much talent that is completely overlooked. When you think of famous and accomplished movie directors, among the names that pop into the heads of most well-rounded cinephiles’ are Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock. Did you know that neither one of these men have ever won an Oscar? Considering how iconic many of their films are and their names themselves, it’s almost astonishing.

On this week’s FACE OFF, we’ll pit these two directors against one another in a film-off. Who will emerge victorious? We’ll let you know who we think wins, but make sure you read through our points below first.

But before we get into that, on our last Face Off, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and THE LION KING went up against one another. 5 out of the 8 voters went with our verdict and declared THE LION KING the overall victor.
Iconic Films
The very first film that comes to mind when I think of Stanley Kubrick is A Clockwork Orange. It was among the very first feature films that Malcolm McDowell did and is probably the film that he is still most associated with. The film itself is based on the novel of the same name by Anthony Burgess and is a look at a dystopian future Britain and one of the gangs that inhabits it. It was nominated for four Oscars for Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Between the years of 1951 and 1999, Kubrick was the director of 16 titles, a few of which were documentary shorts. Other titles that Kubrick is exceptionally well-known for include: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Paths of Glory, Spartacus, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, Barry Lyndon, Full Metal Jacket and his last film, which was released the year of his death, Eyes Wide Shut.
If somehow isn’t familiar with the name Alfred Hitchcock, it’s still fairly likely that they’ve at least heard of the film Psycho. There are so many references to the film in modern pop culture that even if you didn’t get the reference, in some way, shape or form, you’ve been introduced to it.

Hitchcock directed 67 titles between the years of 1922 and 1976 including: The Man Who Knew Too Much, The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes, Mr. & Mrs. Smith (no, not the one with Branjelina), Suspicion, Shadow Of A Doubt, Lifeboat, Spellbound, Rope, Strangers On A Train, I Confess, Dial M For Murder, To Catch A Thief, The Wrong Man, Vertigo, North by Northwest, The Birds, Marnie and many, many more.
Awards and Honours
Stanley Kubrick directed 16 titles during his career, of those, only 13 were feature films and in his time, he earned 13 nominations. Dr. Strangelove (1964) was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) was nominated for three awards, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Visual Effects. 2001: A Space Odyssey actually won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects and would be the only Oscar any of his films would earn.

A Clockwork Orange (1971) and Barry Lyndon (1975) were both nominated for Best Director, Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay and Full Metal Jacket (1987) was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Hitchcock was nominated for Best Director for Rebecca (1940), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945), Rear Window (1954) and Psycho (1960). Unfortunately for Hitchcock, he never took home an award for any of them.

However, while never actually winning an Oscar for any of his films, he took home an honourary Oscar in the form of the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, of which only 39 have ever been awarded. His speech is the shortest acceptance speech on record in Oscar history, saying only "Thank you" before immediately vacating the stage.

Hitchcock also won the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award in 1979. He joked with his friends that it meant he was going to die soon. He died a year later in 1980.
Oddities
I once heard someone say that Alfred Hitchcock was not someone you would like to meet in a dark alley. That got me thinking about what could make for an interesting category for this Face Off and led me to this. Oddities. The more quirks and eccentricities, the better the director sometimes and I wanted to know which of these two directors had the crazy stacked in their corner.

• Died 66 days into the year 1999, also 666 days before 1 January 2001.
• He had a well-known fear of flying, but he had to fly quite often early in his career. Because of his hysteria on planes, he simply tried to lessen the amount of times he flew. According to Malcolm McDowell, Kubrick listened to air traffic controllers at Heathrow Airport for long stretches of time, and he advised McDowell never to fly.
• Refused to talk about his movies on set as he was directing them and never watched them when they were completed.
• People would come to his door looking for him, and as few people knew what he looked like, he would tell them that "Stanley Kubrick wasn't home."
• He was a crazy cat person: once having 16 of them at one point. He would often let his cats lay around his editing room after filming completed as his way of making up for time he lost with them while he was working.
• While working for, One-Eyed Jacks (1961), in Brando's home, Brando asked visitors to remove their shoes so as not to scratch the wooden floor. Kubrick often removed his pants as well, choosing to work in nothing but his shirt and underwear.
• Stanley kept one of the suspended animation pods from "2001" and used it as a freezer.
• Kubrick's dislike of his early film Fear and Desire (1953) is well known. He went out of his way to buy all the prints of it so no one else could see it.
• According to many people who knew Hitchcock, he couldn't stand to even look at his wife, Alma Reville, while she was pregnant.
• Once dressed up in drag for a party he threw. Footage of this was in his office, but his office was cleaned out after his death, and it is not known if the footage still exists.
• As a child, Hitchcock was sent to the local police station with a letter from his father. The desk sergeant read the letter and immediately locked the boy up for ten minutes. After that, the sergeant let young Alfred go, explaining, "This is what happens to people who do bad things." Hitchcock had a morbid fear of police from that day on. He also cited this phobia as the reason he never learned to drive (as a person who doesn't drive can never be pulled over and given a ticket). It was also cited as the reason for the recurring "wrong man" themes in his films.
• When finishing a cup of tea while on the set, he would often indiscriminately toss the cup and saucer over his shoulder, letting it fall (or break) wherever it may.
• He was infamous with cast and crews for his "practical jokes." While some inspired laughs, such as suddenly showing up in a dress, most were said to have been more cruel than funny. Usually he found out about somebody's phobias, such as mice or spiders, and in turn sent them a box full of them.
• Is the "voice" of the "Jaws" ride at Universal Studios.
• Walt Disney refused to allow him to film at Disneyland in the early 1960s because Hitchcock had made "that disgusting movie Psycho (1960)".
• Alfred Hitchcock had an extreme fear of eggs, known as ovophobia.
Kubrick
Our verdict has chosen STANLEY KUBRICK as the greater overall director. But in the end, it doesn't matter what our verdict is... it matters what YOUR verdict is. We want to know which director YOU think is superior. Agree or disagree with the verdict? Leave us a comment below and tell us why!

Please note that when we ask for you to give your reasons for agreeing or disagreeing with the verdict, we expect you to adhere to policy of treating the writer and other commenters with respect. The column does not necessarily reflect the writer’s own views of the directors and these Face Offs are created for FUN and please try to remember that if you disagree, please don’t make it personal.

With that being said… if YOU have an idea for a Face Off, like what movies you'd like see go head-to-head, let us know! We want to hear about what movies you think would make for a good competition and you can email those suggestions to stephaniecooke@joblo.com and then check back to see YOUR challenge!

So which director is your favourite?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!
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C.K. Dexter Haven
1:16PM on 02/24/2012 Add as a friend | MFC profile
With guys like these, I think the question is who is more interresting
I can't say any of Kubrick's films (which I really love) strike me these days as perfect so much as really, really interesting to watch, and in that case, I think Kubrick's handful of giant pictures outshine Hitchock's general ...er, Hitchcock-ness. Psycho, Northwest, etc, just fail to measure up for me individualy.
I can't say any of Kubrick's films (which I really love) strike me these days as perfect so much as really, really interesting to watch, and in that case, I think Kubrick's handful of giant pictures outshine Hitchock's general ...er, Hitchcock-ness. Psycho, Northwest, etc, just fail to measure up for me individualy.
 
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MovieFreak47022
1:36PM on 02/24/2012 Add as a friend | MFC profile
Awesome
I absolutely love Kubrick and find him to be a truly inspirational plethora of film knowledge. Hitchcock also holds a very dear place in my heart, as countless Hitchcock films rank amongst my all time favorites. This is a rough column. I would have been happy with either victor.
I absolutely love Kubrick and find him to be a truly inspirational plethora of film knowledge. Hitchcock also holds a very dear place in my heart, as countless Hitchcock films rank amongst my all time favorites. This is a rough column. I would have been happy with either victor.
 
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HoyleHaw
2:19PM on 02/24/2012 Add as a friend | MFC profile
I wholeheartedly disagree with this verdict. Kubrick was indeed a fascinating individual, but of his movies that I have seen, my favorite is "Dr. Strangelove" and I really didn't care for "A Clockwork Orange." Beyond that, calling it a more iconic film says more about your movie tastes than about the movies. Crop-dusters, showers, black birds, that grating music from Elmer Bernstein, Hitchcock
I wholeheartedly disagree with this verdict. Kubrick was indeed a fascinating individual, but of his movies that I have seen, my favorite is "Dr. Strangelove" and I really didn't care for "A Clockwork Orange." Beyond that, calling it a more iconic film says more about your movie tastes than about the movies. Crop-dusters, showers, black birds, that grating music from Elmer Bernstein, Hitchcock trumps Kubrick in this category.
I might agree Kubrick was a more interesting person for his quirks and perfectionism, but Hitchcock had quirks AND he made a bunch of movies AND a lot of those movies are still quite effective today. Roman Polanski is the only director since who has been able to "do" Hitchcock without seeming to copy his style.
 
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filmguy450
5:12PM on 02/24/2012 Add as a friend | MFC profile
While Hitchcock made movies I watch all the time, Kubrick's movies always leave in awe. As such, they are equally great.
While Hitchcock made movies I watch all the time, Kubrick's movies always leave in awe. As such, they are equally great.
 
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Jekkie24601
6:19AM on 02/25/2012 Add as a friend | MFC profile
I never liked Kubrick movies just as much as I don't like Darren Aronofsky flicks. I find them artsy for the sake of trying to be artsy. Hitchcock has made some mighty fine films in his career and Psycho is STILL effective to this very day. Every person I have watch it for the first time is still scared at that staircase scene and still surprised at the end.
I never liked Kubrick movies just as much as I don't like Darren Aronofsky flicks. I find them artsy for the sake of trying to be artsy. Hitchcock has made some mighty fine films in his career and Psycho is STILL effective to this very day. Every person I have watch it for the first time is still scared at that staircase scene and still surprised at the end.
 
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evil eric
7:21AM on 02/25/2012 Add as a friend | MFC profile
Hitch
If you read the way Hitchcock made his movies, you'd understand why he was a genius. He changed the way we look at movies. (Go see Rope) Kubrick is awesome too.
If you read the way Hitchcock made his movies, you'd understand why he was a genius. He changed the way we look at movies. (Go see Rope) Kubrick is awesome too.
 
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LelekPL
5:11PM on 02/25/2012 Add as a friend | MFC profile
Hitchcock
Both directors did a couple of great movies and both clearly had an eye for creating iconic scenes. But Hitchcock was far more steady in his movies, which don't vary in value as much as Kubrick's, which is even more astonishing comparing the number of movies that they made. Hitchcock made almost 70 movies, most of them really good, actually I hadn't seen a bad one yet (though I still have a lot
Both directors did a couple of great movies and both clearly had an eye for creating iconic scenes. But Hitchcock was far more steady in his movies, which don't vary in value as much as Kubrick's, which is even more astonishing comparing the number of movies that they made. Hitchcock made almost 70 movies, most of them really good, actually I hadn't seen a bad one yet (though I still have a lot to watch). His greatest movies are spine-chilling till today or possess the entertainment and tension value intact. My favorites would have to be Rear Window, Dial M for Murder, North by Nortwest and Psycho. Kubrick on the other hand was always hit and miss with me. A Clockwork Orange is probably my favorite movie of his, but also the only one I can't really complain about. Full Metal Jacket is a close second but even in that one the first part of the movie is what makes it great. 2001 is his best made movie, great shots and music, but the story is strange as shit and the message pretty simple. Dr Strangelove is also a pretty even movie, but it's not really that funny - it is a great commentary on the nuclear paranoia of the time and on the powers of this world though. However I should point out that Kubrick took more risks than Hitchcock and he should be applauded for that as well.
 
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jeanericuser
8:00PM on 02/25/2012 Add as a friend | MFC profile
Too much bias in this one. I gotta give it to hitchcock on this one. He did more for movies that kubrick could have done in two lifetimes. This is just one massive facepalm.
Too much bias in this one. I gotta give it to hitchcock on this one. He did more for movies that kubrick could have done in two lifetimes. This is just one massive facepalm.
 
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WalkAway
10:50PM on 02/25/2012 Add as a friend | MFC profile
Absolutely not
Hitchcock produced film after film, each amazing in it's own way. Kubrick can't touch him.
Hitchcock produced film after film, each amazing in it's own way. Kubrick can't touch him.
 
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Rynobro
2:23AM on 02/27/2012 Add as a friend | MFC profile
That's crazy!
Kubrick's great, and pit him in this against 50 other directors, he'd easily take them all... but not Hitchcock. If it weren't for Hitchcock's influence, I'm not sure The Shining would've been what it was. This is Hitchcock's face off by a landslide.
Kubrick's great, and pit him in this against 50 other directors, he'd easily take them all... but not Hitchcock. If it weren't for Hitchcock's influence, I'm not sure The Shining would've been what it was. This is Hitchcock's face off by a landslide.
 
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Crazy Dud
3:16AM on 02/27/2012 Add as a friend | MFC profile
I agree with what most others have said. Hitchcock all the way! Kubrick was decidedly more arthouse, but Hitchcock's best films were great as both art AND entertainment, and the fact that he was able to do that consistently is pretty astonishing!
I agree with what most others have said. Hitchcock all the way! Kubrick was decidedly more arthouse, but Hitchcock's best films were great as both art AND entertainment, and the fact that he was able to do that consistently is pretty astonishing!
 
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Psyonikx
2:20PM on 02/27/2012 Add as a friend | MFC profile
Hmmm, as much as I love both directors, (Kubrick being an all time favorite), I'm surprised there was no mention of The Shining under the Iconic Films section....
Hmmm, as much as I love both directors, (Kubrick being an all time favorite), I'm surprised there was no mention of The Shining under the Iconic Films section....