It's a rare person who would give up fame and fortune to toil in obscurity for someone else's creative vision. Yet, that's exactly what Leon Vitali did after his acclaimed performance as Lord Bullingdon in Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon. The young actor surrendered his thriving career to become Kubrick's loyal right-hand man. For more than two decades, Leon played a crucial role behind-the-scenes helping Kubrick make and maintain his legendary body of work. The complex, interdependent relationship between Leon and Kubrick was founded on devotion, sacrifice and the grueling, joyful reality of the creative process. By entering their unique world we come to understand how the mundane gives rise to the magnificent as timeless cinema is brought to life at its most practical and profound level.
This film may not look entertaining on the surface but is an excellent auto/biographical portrait of Leon Vitalli, a successful and highly promising actor who became fascinated by the mechanics of film production after working with Kubrick and gave up acting in order to work with the great director as a personal assistant involved in every aspect of movie making. This sacrifice - which is what it seems in many respects - takes some explaining but that is what is so interesting. Well worth a look if you want something a little different from Hollywood action movies or art film pretentiousness.
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.
There is nothing in this movie about ...
- Film Worker review by BS
How Stanley Kubrick was involved in filming the staged Moon landings, I'm afraid. It's almost entirely based on Leon Vitali's memories of working with the legendary director, and so you get some interesting insights into the genius of Kubrick, but also some of his human failings too. Such a shame old Stan had to leave, and that we never got to see all of Eyes Wide Shut, due to some scenes being edited out, but he will live on, every time we look up at night, that's for sure.
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.
For those interested in the minutiae of film making.
- Film Worker review by JR
Leon Vitali gave up success as an actor to become Stanley Kubrick's right- hand man and remains an archivist of Kubrick's oeuvre. There are tantalising mentions of Kubrick's cruelty and abuse of the blindly adoring Leon, to the point that we're told Leon almost dies of overwork. A more interesting film would have been an exploration of the psychology and motivations of both Kubrick and Vitali.
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.
A Fascinating Biography
- Film Worker review by BC
A most interesting and revealing biography of Leon Vitali, an actor who, after playing Lord Bullingdon in ‘ Barry Lyndon’ devoted the rest of his life in working alongside the renowned Director Stanley Kubrick.In one fell swoop he switched from being the handsome, charismatic actor destined for great things to being the indispensable personal assistant to SK and learning the whole of film production in every aspect.He became not only the right hand man of SK but his arms and legs too, at great cost to his personal life and health.A fascinating portrait of an extraordinary man.Leon Vitali is such a likeable and charming man who missed out on an Oscar nomination for his wonderful performance in Barry Lyndon, a great shame.SK could be a tyrant at times pushing his staff over and far beyond their limits.Leon Vitali endured this for decades but only speaks of SK with respect and admiration.This film tries to correct the balance.Leon Vitali was far more than PA to Stanley Kubrick.He was indispensable to his work and his name should be shouted from the roof tops and given his rightful place in film history. A very honest and touching portrait of this extraordinary man.