Commentary on Movies and TV by Brian Holcomb

Monday, March 16, 2009

STANLEY KUBRICK'S XANADU

Last night the Sundance Channel ran the fascinating documentary by Jon Ronson, Stanley Kubrick's Boxes which was a fine, though far too brief, look at the many thousands of boxes Mr. K kept in storage at his home in England. These boxes contained vast amounts of material, all carefully catalogued and organized, pertaining to all facets of the man's career and life.

It's strange that this private man of whom so much gossip ranged regarding his lunacy and hermitage can be seen so nakedly through his calculated filing. The image one gets is not one of a man OBSESSED but of a man of great intellectual curiosity and method. An obsessed man would merely seem eccentric and quirky in his desire to control the world around him. Kubrick went round that bend and into something far closer to a scientist of the physical universe. This was a man who questioned everything from the font on a movie poster, to the size of his newspaper ads, to the kind of ink best used for writing and the construction of these archive boxes themselves. It appears Mr. K was frustrated with the way the tops of the boxes worked and was intent on finding a design that would allow the lids to sit securely but loose enough to slide off easily. It's most telling that the company constructing the boxes left a random note regarding the box construction that supposedly read, "Fussy customer".

Kubrick didn't think wanting things to work the right way to be fussy and this is the same attention to detail that went into all of his films and which makes them so very unique to this day. He believed that either you care or you don't, there's no in between. That kind of pride and dedication to one's work is something I must say I admire greatly.

I thought that Ronson made a fascinating film, particularly when he played detective and hunted down some of the people who sent Kubrick letters which the director filed as "crank" letters.

If you missed it, here it is:



Or you can find the entire thing on google video:
HERE

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