Stanley Kubrick Archive

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection spans Kubrick's entire career from his time as a photographer in the 1940s and early 1950s until his last film in 1999 (Eyes Wide Shut). Kubrick died during the editing of Eyes Wide Shut and some items relating to the release/finished version were added by his staff. They have been included because they were held with the main collection, at the creator's home, following the pattern of what he kept and were deposited with the Archive.

The collection covers the film making process from pre until post production and includes:

  • production paperwork [including pre and post production]
  • props
  • costumes
  • publicity materials, both finished posters etc and drafts
  • production photographs. stills and slides
  • research paperwork and photographs
  • plans etc for how to film scenes
  • books
  • audiovisuals
  • drawings and artwork
  • equipment
  • press cuttings

Administrative / Biographical History

Stanley Kubrick was born in New York City in 1928. At the age of 16 Kubrick took a photograph of a newsvendor the day after President Roosevelt died. Look magazine printed the photo and hired him as a freelance photographer, he worked on over 300 jobs. After creating a boxing photo essay for Look, he used his savings to make his first short film 'Day of the Fight' in 1950, a 16-minute documentary. Two other shorts and thirteen feature films followed. Compared to many directors Kubrick did not produce many films. However, he successfully spanned a plethora of genres from science fiction to costume drama.

Kubrick's influence on film is manifested in numerous ways, from lighting to special effects to film content to music. For example, his pioneering use of long takes, first used in Lolita using a high Average Shot Length, have inspired cinematographers since, as seen in the opening shot of 1997's Boogie Nights. Kubrick had a high level of artistic control and kept many items and papers relating to his film making. At the completion of a project Kubrick would box up items relating to it and store them.

Kubrick's influence goes beyond that of the film world to popular culture. The content of his films have been responsible for sparking public debate and discourse for example, Clockwork Orange (1971) is a dystopia featuring violence and sexual content that provoked debate on the nature of society and the portrayal of violence on screen.

Kubrick had an unprecedented level of control over his films and was interested in every aspect of the film making process. Therefore, his collection can inspire not only film makers but costume designers, advertisers, graphic artists and photographers to name but a few.

Kubrick and his family moved to England in 1969, where he lived until his death in 1999.

Stanley Kubrick: Filmography:

  • 1953 'Fear and Desire' (not on general release)
  • 1955 'Killer's Kiss'
  • 1956 'The Killing'
  • 1957 'Paths of Glory'
  • 1960 'Spartacus'
  • 1962 'Lolita'
  • 1964 'Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb'
  • 1968 '2001: A Space Odyssey'
  • 1971 'A Clockwork Orange'
  • 1975 'Barry Lyndon'
  • 1980 'The Shining'
  • 1987 'Full Metal Jacket'
  • 1999 'Eyes Wide Shut'

Kubrick planned to make two further films, 'Napoleon' and 'The Aryan Papers' (a holocaust film), but these were not made. He also played an important role in the conception of 'AI: Artificial Intelligence', which was made after his death by Steven Spielberg.

Arrangement

The Archive has been arranged chronologically by film with series for personal and business papers, Look magazine work, documentaries about Kubrick and documentaries by Kubrick.

Conditions Governing Access

Open. The Archives and Special Collections Centre is open Tue-Fri 1-5. Please contact us if these times do not suit. It is advisable to make an appointment.

Note, March 2009:The University is carrying out essential collection care on the Stanley Kubrick Archive, which includes consolidating and reviewing the catalogue. In order to complete this important process, access is restricted until further notice.

Acquisition Information

The collection was accumulated by Kubrick and held at his home until its transferral to the University of the Arts London in Mar 2007. It has been open to the public since Oct 2007.

Other Finding Aids

Finding aids: Part of the Archive has been fully catalogued: 'Look' magazine; 'Fear and Desire'; 'The Killing'; 'Killer's Kiss'; 'Lolita'; 'Dr Strangelove'; 'Clockwork Orange; 'The Shining'; and 'Eyes Wide Shut'. Other parts are still being catalogued. Contact us for details.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Paper, photographic, textiles, tape, various plastics, metals and woods.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Karyn Stuckey, Archivist, University of the Arts London.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying of items is at the discretion of staff.

Accruals

Further items will be received, currently much of the Napoleon material is being worked on elsewhere and many items are forming part of a touring exhibition.

Bibliography

The Stanley Kubrick Archives, ed Alison Castle (Taschen, 2005). This book was put together using items from the Archive and includes essays on Kubrick.

Family Names