Stanley Kubrick, Peter Sellers, and Shelley Winters on the set of Lolita.
The role of Peter Sellers as Quilty, and his disgusted recurrence throughout the film, seems unique. I don’t recall any other instance in movies of such an elaborate combination of the comic-grotesque. Was this treatment derivative of something you had seen or read? Stanley Kubrick: Well, that aspect of the picture interests me very much. I’ve always thought, for example, that Kafka could be very funny, or actually is funny—I mean like a comic nightmare, and I think that Sellers in the murder scene, and in fact in the whole characterization, is like something out of a bad dream, but a funny one. I’m very pleased with the way that came off and I think it opens up an avenue, as far as I’m concerned, of telling certain types of stories in ways which haven’t yet been explored in movies.
Was it easy to find a producer and distributor for this project? Stanley Kubrick: No. Actually, we’d had many offers from producers since The Killing, but they all wanted big changes in the screenplay, and in particular, they wanted us to introduce a love story that would have dominated the plot. That was when Kirk Douglas stepped in. He loved the script, and was determined to play the main role. Once we had him on board, everything became much easier. And United Artists agreed to do it.
Stanley Kubrick and Sterling Hayden on the set of The Killing.
“The Killing was my first real professional piece of work. Again, the subject wasn’t very good, but I put a lot more care into the direction, despite the fact that it was shot in only twenty days. It took me far longer to edit it.”
"While Fear and Desire had been a serious effort, ineptly done, Killer’s Kiss… proved, I think, to be a frivolous effort done with conceivably more expertise though still down in the student level of filmmaking.”
Stanley Kubrick on the set of his first feature film Fear and Desire.
"The ideas we wanted to put across [in Fear and Desire] were good, but we didn’t have the experience to embody them dramatically. It was little more than a 35mm version of what a class of film students would do in 16mm.”