May 07, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

Here’s a riddle for film buffs: How Kubrickian can a Stanley Kubrick film be if it’s absent from a ”definitive” Kubrick collection? On June 29, Warner Home Video, MGM Home Entertainment, and Columbia TriStar Home Video will jointly issue ”The Stanley Kubrick Collection,” a nine-title selection of the late director’s films, on tape and DVD. Featured are The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr. Strangelove, Full Metal Jacket, The Killing, Lolita, Barry Lyndon, and Paths of Glory. The reissue — a prologue to the July 16 theatrical release of Eyes Wide Shut — bears the curious rubric ”Kubrick-approved,” indicating that the auteur exercised as much control over these videos as he famously did on film sets. ”He was very involved in every aspect of putting it together,” says Gail Becker, a VP at Warner. ”The timing, the package design, even the font.” Thus it was Kubrick’s decision to omit Spartacus, Killer’s Kiss, and the not-on-video Fear and Desire from the promotion. (Still, MGM will simultaneously release Killer’s Kiss on DVD.) In Becker’s Orwellian formulation, ”it’s not that he chose to exclude [the three movies], he just chose not to include them.” Had Kubrick disowned these films? None of the executives concerned dare to speculate, and the director is now, of course, more reclusive than ever.

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