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Monday, August 25, 2008

Stanley Kubrick's Boxes

Hey guys,

I just have to post this video so that I may include it in the 8-part series I did on
Kubrick’s Napoleon. You may recall in Part 1 how obsessed Stanley was about every detail, about how he had 18,000 documents and books about Napoleon, a monster index file of the 50 principal characters in the movie, which were all written on 3x5 cards and organized by the dates of every key event in Napoleon’s life from his birth to his death. It totaled roughly 25,000 index cards. He constructed a picture file retrieval system that had 15,000 images on all things Napoleon. The images were classified by subject, which also included “a visual signaling method,” “allowing cross-indexing of subjects to an almost unlimited degree of complexity and detail.”

Stanley had a lot of boxes.

There was also an article in
the Guardian by Jon Ronson, who two years after Stanley’s death, was given full access to Stanley’s boxes. I remember Stanley’s obsession about the door for the hooker in Eyes Wide Shut. Jon wrote, In one portable cabin, for example, there are hundreds and hundreds of boxes related to Eyes Wide Shut, marked EWS - Portman Square, EWS - Kensington & Chelsea, etc, etc. I choose the one marked EWS - Islington because that's where I live. Inside are hundreds of photographs of doorways. The doorway of my local video shop, Century Video, is here, as is the doorway of my dry cleaner's, Spots Suede Services on Upper Street. Then, as I continue to flick through the photographs, I find, to my astonishment, pictures of the doorways of the houses in my own street. Handwritten at the top of these photographs are the words, “Hooker doorway?”

Jon also made a three-part documentary about his experience going through Stanley’s boxes, which is now available, the entire three-part series, in the video above. Truly fascinating. Hope you enjoy it.