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Thread: Abel Gance's NAPOLEON (1927)

  1. #31
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    Thanks for these further reading notes on the book on Kubrick's failed Napoleon project. Getting the Romanian army to play Napoleon's army fell through? Why? Did they have another engagement?

    AMAZON US lists your Kubrick Napoleon book together with two others. Do you have them or know of them?

    Frequently Bought Together
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    Price For All Three: $98.58

    Buy the selected items together
    This item: Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made by Alison Castle Hardcover $44.09
    The Stanley Kubrick Archives by Alison Castle Hardcover $44.10
    Stanley Kubrick by Paul Duncan Hardcover $10.39
    What do you mean by "a key card that gives you exclusive access to Kubrick's picture file of 17,000 Napoleonic images"? What's a "key card"?

    I think I'll let slide the paranoia of your speculations that "THE WORLD ORDER" would not allow the film to be made because it would have led to speculation by the public that would have in turnled to the unraveling of the establishment. The fact is that Kubrick himself was given to grandiose projects that didn't come off, and movie studios are notoriously cautious even with or particularly with great and madly ambitious directors, no matter how successful their last movie has been. NAPOLEON is not the only great film project that he didn't do, is it? I believe even 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY was a project that seemed insane and doomed for a while. Isn't that so? Kubrick had a little bit of a Howard Hughes eccentric madman in him. His fanaticism about details verged on madness. I remember a paperback about the making of 2001 that I saw (but didn't buy) that depicted absurdly elaborate production extras, like a space toilet, executed down to the most minute wasted and unnecessary detail.

  2. #32
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    It's not paranoia.
    Here's a quote from the book from Kubrick himself, a quote he used often, as Jan Harlan made clear.

    PARANOIA IS JUST UNDERSTANDING WHAT IS GOING ON.

    Madman? No. That's Definitely wrong. He cared about his film, and if that's a crime, then he stands convicted.
    I cannot draw a line between caring and not caring. Either you do or you don't. Caring means I'm a perfectionist? So be it. is another famous quote, paraphrased by me.

    The key card has a pass code to enter the picture file online.

    What I say is true. Not paranoia. And I'd appreciate you doing more research before "letting it slide".
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  3. #33
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    No harm was intended in saying that Kubrick had a little bit of the Howard Hughes madman in him. A little bit, note. He was a recluse. He was fanatical. He'd shoot scenes over and over and over. He went into enormous detail. I did not mean to impugn the great virtues of your idol, whom I also greatly admire. Paranoia is justified if what you fear is going on but a worldwide conspiracy to prevent Kubrick from making a Napoleon movie? I don't think so. More likely a natural "conspiracy" of events, of bad luck, and studio stubbornness and doubts.

  4. #34
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    If he was a recluse, he had a reason. If he was fanatical, he had a reason. You are underestimating his intelligence, which was larger than both of us. Stanley Kubrick was one of the most intelligent men who ever walked the earth. I hate the word "idol'- I learned more from Kubrick and Jim Morrison and Hunter Thompson than any other person. "Idol" is too cheap for those men.

    Kick 'em when their up!
    Kick 'em when they're down!

    Too critical here, Chris. Look again. Your eyes may be wide and shut here...
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  5. #35
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    I have scoured The Stanley Kubrick Archives, and the most interesting thing about it is the word "MENTMORE".
    It is described as "a former Rothschild retreat", and it was a place Kubrick filmed on location for Eyes Wide Shut.
    Is that the true name of the place? MENTMORE? Or is that word a clue?

    The Taschen Napoleon book says that the book is clues to a mystery that can never be solved- Kubrick's Napoleon film.
    But I see it as clues to a mystery than can never be solved for a much different item of business.
    I know what "mystery" they are referring to.
    And I know who held the candlestick.
    And I want someone to step forward.

    But I'm all alone on this one. So be it.

    OUT HERE ON THE PERIMETER THERE ARE NO STARS. OUT HERE WE IS STONED. IMMACULATE.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  6. #36
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    And if anyone thinks that Eyes Wide Shut was simply about a marriage on the rocks, you are not very bright.

    In the Napoleon book, Kubrick's producer and brother-in-law Jan Harlan says that Stanley said his greatest contribution to the cinematic medium was EYES WIDE SHUT.

    Now what will you do with that information? Let it slide? Ignore it?
    Then you don't "greatly admire him".
    If you greatly admire the man then you pay attention to what he said and did.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  7. #37
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    On Kubrick's Napoleon again:

    The Romanian army was tapped, but it fell through, another mystery. Kubrick said that Napoleonic battles were like "vast lethal ballets", and he needed a huge army in order to illustrate that to an audience. He also said that military genius is hard to explain in words, as it all depends on the execution, on opportunity and calculation.

    Kubrick was ready to roll cameras in 1969. There WERE forces against this film, and I don't think they were logistical.
    No other person did as much research on Napoleon as Kubrick. No living human did as much research. When you read the transcripts of his discussions with Felix Markham, an Oxford scholar, you feel the intensity of Kubrick's obsession to detail. Kubrick is drilling for knowledge rights on Napoleon. He wanted the PSYCHOLOGY of such a man, not just a biography or mere "portrait". He intended to flesh him out as the "Man of Action" that he was. A man like Napoleon Bonaparte could not operate in today's world. He would be shut down in 1 day.
    Napoleon was an extraordinary person, even though he did reprehensible acts. Kubrick was concerned with how he bungled the Russian campaign, ignoring the harshness of the Russian winter, not preparing his troops. The finest Army in the world was reduced to a shambles.
    And then he tried to gloss over his mistake.
    So it comes back to: vanity? Ego? Believing that he could not be defeated? Like Hitler?

    It's fascinating shit, Mang.
    Last edited by Johann; 02-11-2013 at 08:29 AM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  8. #38
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    I don't think this is my kind of film. Battles are even less interesting to me than football games. I have a feeling the spectacle would have overwhelmed the psychological study. But still it's the kind of vast project Kubrick liked to get his teeth into and that he didn't get to do it is a great loss.

  9. #39
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    Barry Lyndon benefitted enormously from Kubrick's Napoleon research. The battles in that film didn't overwhelm the psychological study of Redmond Barry, a character that Kubrick said rose to the top because he was unknown in society, he could weasel his way up, something many many people do today, in obscurity.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  10. #40
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    cinemabon made a recent remark about BARRY LYNDON re: new cinematographic/ lighting technique being wasted on a crap film, that underlined that BARRY LYNDON is veiwed as a failure. I take it you would not agree?

    Unfortunately I never saw it in a cinema/theater, hence I did not get the full value. I do think you're right that the battles didn't overwhelm character study.

  11. #41
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    Also, if you notice, many of Kubrick's "protagonists" are un-involved. His films have "main characters" who are in the world but not really OF the world. They exist in a space that is very specific, with contexts that are very interesting. They are unlike other main characters in most other films, another reason why I love Kubrick. He just did things his way. And the world is a better place for it. Not that the world has changed, just that it is better for having Stanley hold up that mirror of human folly, which he found endlessly fascinating.
    Great talent does not prevent cruelty and injustice and greed and evil.
    No way.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  12. #42
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    He seems best in caricaturesque people like in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, where people are hilariously vivid and unreal. That was my first great favorite Kubrick film before 2001. Of course everything he did was notable but CLOCKWORK ORANGE was through the roof for me. Utterly amazing.

  13. #43
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    If you think Barry Lyndon sucks then you don't know cinema very well.
    As Lars von Trier said, Barry Lyndon is Monumental. It is more monumental than 2001.
    Kubrick never got worse with each film.
    He soared higher and higher and higher- right up until his death. He WAS Icarus. In the flesh.
    Barry Lyndon won a cinematography Oscar for John Alcott, a Genius.

    The story is about an Irish opportunist, and it ends in misery, total destruction.
    Who would dare end a film in this way?
    People want their movies to be perfectly gift-wrapped in a bow, and that is a sell-out.
    I want filmmakers to shake the shit out of the audience, and that is what men like Trier, PT Anderson and Kubrick do.

    They don't give audiences what they want. They give them what THEY DON'T KNOW THEY WANT YET, a Kubrick Maxim.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  14. #44
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    More Kubrick items: (just cuz I wanna post 'em)

    He felt that Chaplin, deSica, Welles, Bergman, Fellini, Max Ophuls and Hitchcock all have superb films to their credit.
    He felt that there were only 3 ways to relate to life:
    Power: grotesque (such as GDP to megadeaths ratios...)
    Love: very hard to find and very hard to give
    Withdrawing: very hard because of the tempo of Life, communication and social mobility

    He also felt that cynicism, two world wars, loss of spiritual values, the communist disillusionment, and PSYCHOANALYSIS has forced writers to keep their heroes un-involved. The point being:

    THE MODERN WORLD IS ABSURD.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  15. #45
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    A wild rumour is circulating that Steven Spielberg will direct a mini-series of Kubrick's script for Napoleon.
    And the wild thing about it is that the rumour says he will tell the story from the perspective of Napoleon's horse. (?!?!!)
    Mr. Spielberg, if you are listening, PLEASE do not tell that story from the perspective of Napoleon's horse.
    That is a batshit insane idea.
    I can't see how that would be novel or entertaining. Don't do it. No horse-perspective please.
    We got that with WAR HORSE, didn't we?
    Even LINCOLN had peeps on horses.

    What is this horse kick you're on Steven?

    Stanley wasn't going to do his Napoleon that way, why do you think that would be a great idea?
    I have no problem with Spielberg making Kubrick's Napoleon- if any man is worthy to try, it's him.
    But Lord Almighty, don't throw this into the shitter because of some creative licence....I will never forgive you.
    You have the filmmaking skills to make something INCREDIBLE with Kubrick's Napoleon.
    You could hand us another Glorious gift to cinema like you did with A.I, a film that I am very happy exists.
    That torch is fucking heavy, isn't it, Steve?
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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