November 16, 2009 cameron

Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made

This could well be the ultimate Napoleon geek gift this year!

TASCHEN releases ten books in one tell the fascinating tale of Kubrick’s unfilmed masterpiece!

Tucked inside of a carved-out book, all the elements from Stanley Kubrick’s archives that readers need to imagine what his unmade film about the emperor might have been like, including a facsimile of the script. This collector’s edition is limited to 1,000 numbered copies.

For 40 years, Kubrick fans and film buffs have wondered about the director’s mysterious unmade film on Napoleon Bonaparte. Slated for production immediately following the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick’s “Napoleon” was to be at once a character study and a sweeping epic, replete with grandiose battle scenes featuring thousands of extras. To write his original screenplay, Kubrick embarked on two years of intensive research; with the help of dozens of assistants and an Oxford Napoleon specialist, he amassed an unparalleled trove of research and preproduction material, including approximately 15,000 location scouting photographs and 17,000 slides of Napoleonic imagery. No stone was left unturned in Kubrick’s nearly-obsessive quest to uncover every piece of information history had to offer about Napoleon. But alas, Kubrick’s movie was not destined to be: the film studios, first M.G.M. and then United Artists, decided such an undertaking was too risky at a time when historical epics were out of fashion.

TASCHEN’s sumptuous, limited-edition tribute to this unmade masterpiece makes Kubrick’s valiant work on “Napoleon” available to fans for the first time. Herein, readers can peruse a selection of Kubrick’s correspondence, various costume studies, location scouting photographs, research material, script drafts, and more, each category of material in its own book. Kubrick’s final draft is reproduced in facsimile while the other texts are tidily kenneled into one volume where they dare not interfere with the visual material. All of these books are tucked inside of—or shall we say hiding in?—a carved-out reproduction of a Napoleon history book.

The text book features the complete original treatment, essays examining the screenplay in historical and dramatic contexts, an essay by Jean Tulard on Napoleon in cinema, and a transcript of interviews Kubrick conducted with Oxford professor Felix Markham. The culmination of years of research and preparation, this unique publication offers readers a chance to experience the creative process of one of cinema’s greatest talents as well as a fascinating exploration of the enigmatic figure that was Napoleon Bonaparte.

*Includes exclusive access to searchable/downloadable online research database: Kubrick’s complete picture file of nearly 17,000 Napoleonic images*

(Images via TASCHEN)


Comments (11)

  1. Edna

    $700 yikes! As much as I admire Kubrick’s attention to detail, I still do not think that a 2-3 hour movie could not do justice to the story of Napoleon. In my ‘perfect world’ there would be a 3-5 year TV series, similar to “The Tudors” that could devote more time and depth to him. Any casting suggestions?

  2. Spencer

    I got the book it was great both the 700$ Book and the short book that he used a for the screenplay by Felix Markham.

  3. Spencer

    As much as I admire Kubrick’s attention to detail, I still do not think that a 2-3 hour movie could not do justice to the story of Napoleon. In my ‘perfect world’ there would be a 3-5 year TV series, similar to “The Tudors” that could devote more time and depth to him.

    (I agree, I am working on either a miniseries or a show…I just don’t yet…but hear that Idea I think…but 3-5? I don’t think it would need to be that long but who know..I was thinking 3 years.
    Season 1: The Rise.
    Season 2: The Reign.
    Season 3: The Fall.)

  4. Spencer

    NOTE: this collector’s edition is limited to 1,000 numbered copies.

    The book is only the collector’s edition of 1,000 numbered copies.

    After that there is not plans to make a simpler, lets costly version at all.

  5. Love the podcast. I just discovered it and I’m only on episode #13. What a wonderful podcast.

    I look forward to catching up to #54.

    Thanks Guys!!

    Helena, Alabama USA

  6. Elaine

    Just found you – up to episode 11, and wish the drive to work was longer! I am in the UK I can feel the impending dread of invasion as you talk. Hey guys this side of the pond 200 years is yesterday and we have 1000 years of not trusting the French but a great show.


  7. Charlie

    Love your Napoleon podcast. Have only just discovered it. Am up to no.6. I particularly like the breezy conversational style as opposed to the conventional scripted or interview approach.
    Speaking of Kubrick your series has made me watch Barry Lyndon again and spend a lot of time looking up Wikipedia for gaps in my knowledge of 18th century Europe.
    Great stuff keep it up

  8. Scott DeMars

    Just found your podcast 2 weeks ago….WOW!!! You fellows do a great job. Thank you for all your work. My friends are wondering why my ipod has been stuck to my head for the last 2 weeks. I tell them it has been surgically implanted by you!
    Thank you!

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