S. Kubrick: An Accomplished Archivist!

Posted on July 29, 2020


I tend to watch documentaries, rather than films, and films, rather than movies.

I haven’t seen most of the most-watched motion pictures of all-time. I didn’t see ET.

I did see A Clockwork Orange, but the rest of Stanley Kubrick’s catalog remains unseen–and I don’t feel a strong urge to change that fact, although a slight interest has been sparked by a lovely documentary by Jon Ronson that I stumbled into, called Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes.

As someone who has an extensive archive of not boxes, but crates, I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the  famous director’s impressive archive. In my archive, I’ve categorized, sorted, organized, and labeled documents from my childhood, educational pursuits, professional research and writing, and personal correspondence. As soon as I saw it, I enthusiastically clicked on the link to learn about Kubrick and his boxes. Reviewer, Chris Higgins, describes it this way:

After Kubrick’s death in 1999, Ronson gained access to Kubrick’s …more than 1,000 …boxes…of photographs, memos, letters, you name it. Ronson made a 45-minute documentary about the boxes….

…a terrific watch for anyone interested in filmmaking, Kubrick, or—let’s face it—storing stuff in boxes. There’s even a segment about half an hour in about how Kubrick worked out the optimal size for a box and its lid, then had them custom-made. (Emphasis mine.)

I first heard Ronson on This American Life, where he tells the story of  going “to his high school reunion to try to figure out why his schoolmates—his friends!—threw him in a lake when he was sixteen.”

I thoroughly enjoyed the TAL story and the documentary, and I’m going to check out Ronson’s interview on On Writing With Hattie Crisell. Writing interests me quite a lot. I recently read Julia Child’s memoir, and I found myself skimming descriptions of food prep and meals, but when she described any part of her thinking and writing processes– I was riveted and noted many details with pen and post-it notes.

I’m delighted to have spent a few minutes in Stanley Kubrick’s Archive, and I’m glad it has been preserved for future students of–any number of subjects!

This morning I say, “Hats off!!” to Kubrick, to Ronson, to This American Life, to archives, to archivists, and most of all, to STORY, because:

“You don’t have anything
if you don’t have the stories.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony

Related Links

This American Life’s Ronson archive

Ronson’s TED talks


lisa eddy is a writer, researcher, archivist, educator, advocate,  musician, and gardener.

On Twitter: @lisa_eddy

On email: lisagay.eddy1@gmail.com