The Stanley Kubrick Archives
The Stanley Kubrick Archives. Compiled and edited by Alison Castle. Köln: TASCHEN GmbH, 2020. Available in English and French. "Made in cooperation with Jan Harlan, Christian Kubrick, and the Stanley Kubrick Estate."
This is the first book to explore Stanley Kubrick’s archives and the most comprehensive study of the filmmaker to date. In 1968, when Stanley Kubrick was asked to comment on the metaphysical significance of 2001: A Space Odyssey, he replied: “It’s not a message I ever intended to convey in words. 2001 is a nonverbal experience…. I tried to create a visual experience, one that bypasses verbalized pigeonholing and directly penetrates the subconscious with an emotional and philosophic content.” The philosophy behind Part 1 of The Stanley Kubrick Archives borrows from this line of thinking: from the opening sequence of Killer’s Kiss to the final frames of Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick’s complete films are presented chronologically and wordlessly via frame enlargements. A completely nonverbal experience.
The second part of the book brings to life the creative process of Kubrick’s filmmaking by presenting a remarkable collection of mostly unseen material from his archives, including photographs, props, posters, artwork, set designs, sketches, correspondence, documents, screenplays, drafts, notes, and shooting schedules.
Accompanying the visual material are essays by noted Kubrick scholars, articles written by and about Kubrick, and a selection of Kubrick’s best interviews.
Scholarly and critical commentary, including by Kubrick (generally with interruptions by visual material):
DR. STRANGELOVE: Gene D. Phillips, pp. 301-46 Kubrick, "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cinema," from Film and Filming June 1963; pp. 349-53. Stanley Kubrick and Joseph Heller: A Conversation — transcript "found among Kubrick's papers," pp. 355-66. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY: "Outline," Carolyn Geduld, from Geduld's Filmguide to 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, Indiana UP, 1973, pp. 381-390. "The Production: A Calendar," from Geduld's Filmguide, here 401-17. "Stanley Kubrick and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence," by Anthony Frewin, see for original intention to interview experts about the possibility of ET intelligence, and artificial intelligence, AI, pp. 419-24, including notes on predecessors and successors to 2001. "Filming 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Herb A. Lightman, excerpts from American Cinematographer, June 1968, pp. 426-45. "Interpretations of 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Margaret Stackhouse, age 15 at the time, printed at Kubrick's suggestion in Jerome Agel's The Making of Kubrick's 2001 (1970), here pp. 467-71 (caution: Kubrick is not the final authority on Kubrick, and A. C. Clarke has his own suggestions in the 2001 novel by Clarke and Kubrick). A CLOCKWORK ORANGE: Michel Cement, pp. 491-519. "Letter to the Editor of the New York Times by Stanley Kubrick, NYT 27 February 1972. See for, among other issues, direct references to Robert Ardrey's African Genesis and The Social Contract, B. F. Skinner's Beyond Freedom and Dignity, and Arthur Koestler's The Ghost in the Machine. NOTE: By the second decade of the 21st c., crime rates had declined in the USA and UK, as did what was beginning to look like 20th-c. hysteria over "juvenile delinquency probing championship heights" (p. 524). "Stanley Kubrick's 'A.I.'" by Alison Castle (limited illustrations), pp. 804-15. See for Kubrick on computers and artificial intelligence, Kubrick's knowledge of "the writings of such experts as Hans Moravec and Marvin Minsky — and HAL in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (p. 806). And see for initial work adapting Brian Aldiss's "Super-Toys Last All Summer Long," and the importance of Carlo Collod's Pinocchio for Aldiss's leaving the project (p. 807: Aldiss disliked the Pinocchio theme). Note very well discussion of Project Pinocchio at the Nichols Robotics Institute, involving
a study group of Mark 6 robots that were asked to determine whether or not they could become real human beings. "The real purpose behind the experiment was see how the robots would act when something they greatly desired proved impossible to achieve — would they construct irrational belief systems in the way human beings had developed religion?" The robots finally decided that being human and thus mortal was not preferable to being a robot. However, they mused, "A robot might live forever, but what was the worth of its existence? Robots had created no art, nor had they made any scientific discovery. No robot was a creator. No robot was a genius .... What was their immortality worth, when the spark, the genius was absent?" Finally they concluded, "If a robot could become human, he would know had had been denied to him, Joy and desire and love, genius, imagination, spirit." (pp. 809-10)
An explosion wipes out all the nearby humans so the robots get to work through this philosophical crisis on their own, aided by an ice age that finishes off humanity on the planet. And from there Kubrick sketches out what became, pretty much, Spielberg's A.I.
RDE and ChadD, 18June20, 21-23Aug20