Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Kubrick, Burgess and Napoleon

In December 2009 I posted a note on Stanley Kubrick's film about Napoleon, which of course was never made.

I was surprised to hear today that among the large collection of unpublished materials left by prolific Manchester born author Anthony Burgess, most famous for A Clockwork Orange, is a script for Kubrick's Napoleon film no less. Burgess did of course write a novel about Napoleon, a largely forgotten one, Napoleon Symphony: A Novel in Four Movements, so titled because it was designed to follow the structure of Beethoven's Eroica symphony. Burgess's novel was published in 1974, some years after the Napoleon film that never was. Interestingly it was dedicated to Kubrick.

Whether Kubrick intended to use this script or not is another matter. My understanding is that he didn't use Burgess's script for A Clockwork Orange. Anyway, Burgess's Napoleon script now resides among the voluminous collection in the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester.

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