Ever since we "apparently" landed on the moon back in 1969, conspiracy theories have run rampant. One of the most widely accepted theories is that the moon landing was faked, and that it was actually filmed on a set. This begs the question, who was behind the camera?
To pull this off, NASA would have needed a highly skilled, and also very reclusive and secretive filmmaker. Why not Stanley Kubrick? The Man behind three very notable films in relation to this theory; Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Shining.
Let's rewind all the way back to 1964, right in the heart of the space race, 5 years before the moon landing. Kubrick had just released Dr. Strangelove, a film that made satirized the cold war and the nuclear scare. A large amount of the film is set inside a B-52 bomber plane, and Kubrick had asked the US Air Force if he could film inside one, but was turned down, as the film was clearly not in the US Government's favour. Kubrick went ahead and recreated the B-52 as best as he could anyway, and rumour has it that the US Government looked into where he got these designs, as it looked too real.
This is where many believe that Kubrick was approached to film the moon landing. People have also speculated that one of the reasons he may have done this is that he could have been offered a deal to have unlimited budgets for his films with no interference from the studios, which would explain why he has one of the most notable showcases of work in film history. His last film, Eyes Wide Shut was heavily interfered with though, and he died before it even came out.
Moving onto 2001, Kubrick's sci-fi epic, that notably replicated what is was like to walk on the moon, years before anyone actually did it. Delving into some of the technical aspects of this theory. Kubrick wanted to show an expansive environment, that didn't look like a studio lot. They used technology called Front Screen Projection. In a nutshell, it's when an image of a scene is projected onto a scotchlite screen behind the actors, which become a common technique in Hollywood filmmaking and Kubrick is known for perfecting it. People believe that this technique was used to fake the moon landing.
The last film I'm going to talk about deserves much more than a paragraph of discussion. In fact, a movie is doing the festival rounds right now, called Room 237 which talks about the many theories surrounding The Shining. Supposedly, The Shining is Kubrick venting all of these secrets he has had to hide for more than a decade. The centerpiece of this theory is Room 237, the room in The Shining that Danny and Jack witness all of the crazy stuff happening. The average distance from the Earth to the Moon is 237,000 miles and nothing that happens in that room is real. The room is believed to symbolize the set of the moon landing. Jack had to lie to his Wife about what happened in there, just as Kubrick would have had to lie to his Wife if he'd filmed the moon landing.
It is definitely worth going back and watching The Shining. There are countless numbers of things that we can only speculate as to what they mean. Regardless of the validity of this whole Moon Landing theory, Kubrick wasn't simply telling us a horror story.
The only real thing of value that this theory suggests, and this is what I personally pull from it, is that Stanley Kubrick was that good of a director, that in all probability he could have actually filmed a fake moon landing.
His body of work is impeccable though. If a Director is lucky, they'll make a film for a studio that makes a lot of money, and the studio will offer them a project where they can do whatever they want. For example, Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia, after his hit, Boogie Nights, and even more recently Nolan's Inception. This is where true greatness comes from, and Kubrick seemed to be able to have this for almost his entire career.
He gave us masterpiece after masterpiece with barely any studio interference. Was this because he faked the moon landing? Regardless, we should be thankful that one of the best filmmakers that ever lived was lucky enough to have the opportunity to make the films he wanted to make.
And remember; Barry Lyndon shot first.
By Brodie Marchant