Sunday, 13 December 2009

A book I shall not be buying

Stanley Kubrick's "Napoleon": The Greatest Movie Never Made, available from Taschen for a mere £450.

Actually it is not a book at all, it opens to reveal a hollow case containing ten books telling you everything you might want to know about the film that Kubrick never made.

Apparently Kubrick did two years of intensive research and amassed some 17000 slides of Napoleonic imagery.

His historical adviser was another Markham, the Oxford historian Felix Markham, whose study of Napoleon appeared in 1963.

As Alison Castle has commented, it offers 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.

The movie itself was considered to be too big a commercial risk, and Kubrick had been beaten to the finishing line by the 1970 film, "Waterloo". Kubrick's film though would have had a far wider scope, tracing Napoleon from his childhood until his fall.

Included in the books are letters from his prospective Napoleons, Oskar Werner and Ian Holm, and a letter from Audrey Hepburn turning down the role of Josephine.

I doubt whether Father Christmas will be bringing this for me.

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