Their careers overlapped for more than 30 years, but director Stanley Kubrick and actor Jimmy Stewart never once worked together. It’s one of those missed opportunities of movie history, now duly corrected by Paris-based Gump Studio, which has produced a highly intriguing and suitably baffling short film called “The Red Drum Getaway” that takes footage of Stewart from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Vertigo and combines it with excerpts from a number of Kubrick films, most notably The Shining and A Clockwork Orange. (This is a full-color mashup, so don’t expect to see Dr. Strangelove or Lolita here.) Now, when Stewart’s L.B. Jefferies from Rear Window looks into the window of the apartment directly across from his, Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrance from The Shining is there, staring right back at him. And poor Jimmy can’t even take a walk down the street without being pursued by the jumpsuit-wearing droogs of A Clockwork Orange.
“The Red Drum Getaway,” which runs a brisk four minutes and was assembled by the editing trio of Simon Philippe, Adrien Dezalay, and Emmanuel Delabaere, plays like the kind of dream a stressed-out film student might have while dozing off to TCM one night. Stewart, nattily dressed and impeccably groomed as Hitchcock hero should be, wanders through the film in a daze, stunned into silence by the sinister Kubrickian weirdness all around him. Why is there a kid riding a Big Wheel in the alley? Who’s that fellow in the astronaut suit over there? And, for pete’s sake, what is the deal with this fancy mansion with all the naked ladies and the people in fancy-schmancy Halloween costumes? Answers, in the great Kubrick tradition, are not immediately forthcoming. Eventually, the movies start folding in on themselves, and Stewart is assaulted by three or four Kubrick flicks at a time, which is enough to try anyone’s nerves.