The Alexander Mackendrick collection consists of manuscripts, professional material, research material, correspondence, and other items. The material covers Mackendrick’s early career as a writer and director of films, as well as his later work as an educator and teacher at the California Institute of the Arts.
Manuscripts by Mackendrick in the collection include film scripts, treatments for film projects, essays, a commentary on Alec Guinness, notes towards a project on the Amazonian Indians, and transcripts of several talks on film, given by Mackendrick during the 1950s, which were broadcast on British television. Screenplays and treatments by Mackendrick include Rhinoceros (adapted from the Eugene Ionesco play); Cyrano ’70; Viva, Miss Browne! and The Hostages, both written with Hugh Wheeler; Saraband for Dead Lovers, written with John Dighton; and a synopsis and scenario for a thriller, written with Roger MacDougall (a screenwriter and cousin of Mackendrick).
Manuscripts by others in the collection primarily consist of screenplays by various authors, some with Mackendrick’s handwritten notes. Notable titles include On the Waterfront, by Budd Schulberg; Antigone, by Michael Luke and Paul Roche; Bingo, by Edward Bond; The Doctor is Sick, by Anthony Burgess; An End of Wishing, by Alan Sharp; The Game We Play, by Roger MacDougall; The Lavender Hill Mob, by T. E. B. Clarke; Kind Hearts and Coronets, by Robert Hamer and John Dighton; The Guns of Navarone, by Carl Foreman; The Devil’s Disciple, adapted from the George Bernard Shaw play by John Dighton; Face of a Hero, by Robert L. Joseph; Hero, by David Webb Peoples; A High Wind in Jamaica, by Denis Cannan; Genevieve, by William Rose; The Maggie (also called High and Dry in the U.S.) by William Rose, based on an idea from Mackendrick; Sicilian Story, by Nigel Balchin; adaptations of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros by Clive Exton and Tony Hancock; and “The Hidden Fury,” a teleplay for an episode of the television series The Defenders, by George Baxt. Also present in the collection is a photocopy of Lethal Innocence: The Cinema of Alexander Mackendrick (1991).
Professional material in the collection includes production files for various film projects. The files include material regarding set design, crew lists, sketches, expense sheets, set photographs, contracts, business correspondence, and storyboards. The bulk of this material concerns Rhinoceros. Also present are files for Face of a Hero, A High Wind in, and Mary, Queen of Scots, by John Hale. Storyboard drawings and set designs are present for Mackendrick’s Sweet Smell of Success, as well as Oedipus the King, adapted from Sophocles’ play by Michael Luke and Philip Saville; The Ladykillers, directed by Mackendrick and written by William Rose; and Mary Stuart.
Additional professional material in the collection consists of Mackendrick’s teaching papers, compiled during tenure at the California Institute of the Arts. These items are primarily photocopies of items Mackendrick personally prepared and distributed to his students. They cover a wide range of subjects pertaining to filmmaking and film criticism, and include lecture notes, scene breakdowns, diagrams, essays, stories, script segments, photocopied pictures and film stills, transparencies, film analyses, and several video cassettes.
Research material in the collection includes files compiled by Paul Cronin, the author and editor of Mackendrick’s book On Film-Making, and includes topics such as acting and film, styles of thought, renowned literature, literary conventions; trends, and many others
Audio material in the collection includes Mini DV cassettes of interviews with a selection of Mackendrick's former students from CalArts.
Correspondence in the collection consists of several letters regarding Mackendrick’s work at the California Institute of the Arts, dating from 1969 to 1993.
Other items in the collection include diaries kept by Mackendrick in 1966, 1967, 1968, and 1970; two undated notebooks containing holograph notes regarding “film grammar” and a New Yorker article on “The Search for National Security..