Stanley Kubrick & Marie Windsor

September 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Marie Windsor

I didn’t know I was doing film noir, I thought they were detec­tive sto­ries with low light­ing! Even Kubrick, in 1955 dur­ing film­ing of The Killing, never used the term film noir to my knowledge.

Kubrick had all his shots laid out before he started, all sketched out by his wife, who was quite a good artist. He had them all around his office. I guess that’s why we made it in 21 days, with very few takes. The scene where I took my eye­lashes off we did in two takes.

He didn’t direct in front of any­body else. He’d say, Marie. Come over here a minute. We’d go behind the scenery, and he’d say, In this scene I want you to be really tired and lazy. I’d had some stage train­ing, and he was try­ing to get me not to use my big voice.

Though I’m sure Stan­ley was full of energy, he didn’t seem like it because he was so quiet and he moved very calculatingly–rather slow phys­i­cally. Whereas Abra­ham Polon­sky Force of Evil, 1949 was bounc­ing around, very full of energy and electricity.

Elisha Cook was a dar­ling, and full of the devil. A wired–up lit­tle fel­low who was always busy, busy, busy. The Killing was the first time I’d worked with him, and I didn’t work with him again until Salem’s Lot 20 years later. I got to know Ster­ling Hay­den fairly well. He was a quiet man, who got more com­pli­cated as the years went on. Tim­o­thy Carey–he, is really weird. When I won the Look award for Best Sup­port­ing, Kubrick wanted to shoot pub­lic­ity shots with his house for a back­ground. You can’t believe this guy. He slept on a tom mat­tress with no sheets, win­dows that had burlap hang­ing instead of cur­tains. It looked worse than skid row, but Kubrick really thought he had charisma.

Kubrick had a part for me in Lolita as Shelly Win­ters’ best friend, but there was a prob­lem in Eng­land with the EADY plan, and there was no way that they could squeeze me in. I haven’t seen him in a long time, but we exchange Valentine’s cards. I feel peo­ple have more time to think about it if they get a Valen­tine. Christ­mas is too crazy with other things.

No extra time was spent on the low key light­ing for these films. George Diskant, the cam­era­man on The Nar­row Mar­gin, 1952 was excel­lent with tricky light­ing sit­u­a­tions because we were on the train in such con­fined quar­ters, but in all those pic­tures we moved very fast. I can’t remem­ber any­body say­ing, Let’s get this show on the road.

I’m 5′ 9″, and there were two stars in my life who didn’t mind that I was taller than they– George Raft and John Garfield. Raft told me how to walk with him in a scene: We’d start off in a long shot nor­mal, and about the time we got together in a close-up, I’d be bend­ing my knees so I’d be shorter. I had to do a tango with Raft and I learned to dance in bal­let shoes with my knees bent.”

Roy H.Frumkes, “The Per­fect Vision 15”, (Fall 1992): 138

Michael Mills

About Michael Mills
Rank-amateur photographer, I like Classic films, real Jazz, Opera, and a little Hank Williams . . . and sometimes baseball . . .