A look at Stanley Kubrick’s archives

The Guardian has a great article about Stanley Kubrick and some of the insane things he did when making movies:

[Long-time Kubrick assistant Tony Frewin] takes me into a large room painted blue and filled with books. “This used to be the cinema,” he says.

“Is it the library now?” I ask.

“Look closer at the books,” says Tony.

I do. “Bloody hell,” I say. “Every book in this room is about Napoleon!”

“Look in the drawers,” says Tony.

I do.

“It’s all about Napoleon, too!” I say. “Everything in here is about Napoleon!”

I feel a little like Shelley Duvall in The Shining, chancing upon her husband’s novel and finding it is comprised entirely of the line “All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy” typed over and over again. John Baxter wrote, in his unauthorised biography of Kubrick, “Most people attributed the purchase of Childwick to Kubrick’s passion for privacy, and drew parallels with Jack Torrance in The Shining.”

This room full of Napoleon stuff seems to bear out that comparison. “Somewhere else in this house,” Tony says, “is a cabinet full of 25,000 library cards, three inches by five inches. If you want to know what Napoleon, or Josephine, or anyone within Napoleon’s inner circle was doing on the afternoon of July 23 17-whatever, you go to that card and it’ll tell you.”

Comments 5

  1. Mark wrote:

    Is Tony a diminutive version of Stanley?

    (Tony in the U.S. is short for Anthony. I’ve never heard it being used for Stanley. Then again, I don’t think I’ve ever actually met a Stanely before.)

    Posted 10 Sep 2008 at 7:03
  2. Mark wrote:

    Ah, I should ALWAYS go to the link….

    (Speaking of names, does this kind of laziness have a name? Am I ‘link lazy’? I feel like I’m link lazy….)

    Posted 10 Sep 2008 at 7:10
  3. Jurie wrote:

    It should have a name, as I have that too. I improved the quote.

    Posted 10 Sep 2008 at 8:01
  4. Falko wrote:

    I remember attending a speech by Brian Aldiss, who worked on the first drafts of “A.I.” with Kubrick. He described who he travelled to “Kubrick Castle”, as he called it, sometime in the afternoon. Kubrick was still in his morning gown. All Kubrick said was “Let’s go smoking”, and they went on the balcony where they smoked silently for some time. “Let’s go in”, Kubrick said and they went inside. Then Kubrick sent Aldiss off. Enough work for that day.

    But my favourite anecdote comes from Stephen King, who was called by Kubrick in the middle of the night: “Do you believe in God?”
    And King, half asleep, answered: “… yeah, I think I do.”
    Kubrick thought for a while, then said: “Well, I don’t” and hung up.
    (I think it’s chronicled in King’s “Danse Macabre”.)

    Posted 11 Sep 2008 at 0:34
  5. Jurie wrote:

    “Danse Macabre” rocks, I may reread that after I finish “On Writing”.

    My favorite Kubrick anecdote – I hope I remember the details correctly: he had his assistant call a smaller cinema in New York, and offered to have the back wall they would project on painted black. Apparently it was not unusual for him to call individual cinemas to improve how they showed his films.

    Posted 11 Sep 2008 at 1:02