Stanley Kubrick's Boxes


Last night I browsed the alt.movies.kubrick newsgroup for the first time in years. After stumbling across a few neat posts, I found one that linked to an online copy of UK Channel 4’s documentary, Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes.

One thing I never knew is that Stanley Kubrick had a manual filing system for everything he did for his films. His home contained thousands of boxes of notes, photos, memos, and sundry other documents (yes, paper!), all of which still exist. A great deal of what sits in those boxes is the fruit of years of research for each film and provide tangible evidence as to what he was doing all that time and how he was doing it. This is much more interesting than you might think, especially as the number of years between his movies grew longer and longer as time wore on, yet he never stopped working.

This documentary is narrated by a man who obtained the family’s permission to go through those boxes, and try to obtain a better understanding of who Kubrick was as a person through all the stuff he left behind. It took a while to get past it, but the narrator had a terrible habit of very emphatically saying “boxes” every single time, much like when someone sneaks up on you and says “boo.”

Anyway, to be brief, my takeaway was enormous:

  • My interest in Kubrick has grown enormously through this short documentary. I want to know even more about his process and his films.
  • If I’m ever in London, I can stop by the University of the Arts London to visit the Kubrick archives. With the blessing of the Kubrick family, all the aforementioned boxes were relocated to UAL and are now being opened and cataloged for educational and historical purposes.
  • A book, The Stanley Kubrick Archives was released last fall with tons of photos of archive items. As you can imagine, a copy is already on its way to my doorstep.
  • I should catch up on alt.movies.kubrick more often than every few years.

To my knowledge this made-for-TV documentary is not available for purchase anywhere. If you can find it online (I hear MSN Video may have it), I highly recommend watching it.


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