Lost Kubrick: A Short Documentary on Stanley Kubrick’s Unfinished Films

Liv­ing, as many do, in Los Ange­les, and lov­ing, as many do, the films of Stan­ley Kubrick, I man­aged to attend last year’s acclaimed Kubrick exhib­it at the Los Ange­les Coun­ty Muse­um of Art more than once. The first time there, I mar­veled at all the arti­facts they’d col­lect­ed from the pro­duc­tion of my favorite Kubrick films, the ones I’ve seen sev­en, eight, nine times: Dr. StrangeloveBar­ry Lyn­don2001: A Space Odyssey, etc. But the sec­ond time, I focused on the rooms ded­i­cat­ed to the Kubrick films I’d nev­er seen — the ones, in fact, that nobody has ever seen.

Sev­er­al of his unfin­ished projects got far enough into pre-pro­duc­tion to leave behind a con­sid­er­able amount of intrigu­ing research mate­ri­als, script notes, shoot­ing sched­ules, design sketch­es, and screen tests. The sto­ry of each pro­jec­t’s ori­gin and demise reveals qual­i­ties of not just Kubrick­’s much-exam­ined work­ing meth­ods, but of his per­son­al­i­ty. “He was a man of such var­ied inter­ests that he was always busy,” says for­mer Warn­er Broth­ers exec­u­tive John Cal­ley in the short doc­u­men­tary above, Lost Kubrick. And if Kubrick had an inter­est, he instinc­tive­ly threw him­self into the mak­ing of a motion pic­ture to do with it.

“Napoleon was one of the abid­ing inter­ests of Stan­ley’s life,” says Antho­ny Frewin, Kubrick­’s assis­tant on 2001, “along with extrater­res­tri­al intel­li­gence, the Holo­caust, con­cen­tra­tion camps, Julius Cae­sar, Eng­lish place name ety­mol­o­gy, and three thou­sand oth­er things.” We’ve fea­tured Kubrick­’s Napoleon before, but Lost Kubrick also includes an exam­i­na­tion of The Aryan Papers, his aban­doned Hol­caust project from the 1990s. I do won­der how it would have com­pared to Schindler’s List, Steven Spiel­berg’s com­plet­ed Holo­caust project from the 1990s, which itself had an influ­ence on Kubrick­’s drop­ping The Aryan Papers. But Juras­sic Park, Spiel­berg’s dinosaur project from that same time, con­vinced Kubrick that spe­cial effects tech­nol­o­gy had come far enough for him to move for­ward on A.I., which he would lat­er hand over to Spiel­berg him­self. The younger direc­tor seems to have fall­en into the role of execu­tor of Kubrick­’s many ideas; just last year, he even announced plans to turn Kubrick­’s Napoleon script into a tele­vi­sion series. Per­son­al­ly, it makes me won­der less what Spiel­berg will do with the sto­ry of Napoleon than what Kubrick could have accom­plished in this age of the tele­vi­sion-series auteur.

Lost Kubrick will be added to our list, 285 Free Doc­u­men­taries Online, part of our larg­er col­lec­tion of 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

via Devour

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Napoleon: The Great­est Movie Stan­ley Kubrick Nev­er Made

Explore the Mas­sive Stan­ley Kubrick Exhib­it at the Los Ange­les Coun­ty Muse­um of Art

Stan­ley Kubrick’s Very First Films: Three Short Doc­u­men­taries

The Mak­ing of Stan­ley Kubrick’s A Clock­work Orange

Ter­ry Gilliam: The Dif­fer­ence Between Kubrick (Great Film­mak­er) and Spiel­berg (Less So)

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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