Even though director Stanley Kubrick has gone down in history as one of the greatest filmmakers in all of cinematic history, he wasn't what you would call prolific. Being an obsessively meticulous perfectionist, who researched every tiny detail of his films for years before he ever went into production, Kubrick only managed to make 13 feature films in his nearly half-century-long career. However, if Kubrick had had it his way, he'd have several more titles to add to his filmography, and this short documentary narrated by Malcolm McDowell explores some of Kubrick's unrealized films, which overflow with rich design and incredible detail even without ever having made it to the silver screen.
I'm sure most of us have films that we spent a lot of time in pre-production on -- planning stuff here and there, picking out color schemes, taking pictures of a location we'd like to use -- only to find that the project fizzled, the bottom dropped out, or some other horrible thing happened that kept us from moving on into production. Well, Kubrick experienced that pang of a lost project several times in his career, unfortunately on some of his most epic ideas.
Kubrick wanted to tackle Napoleon (not literally) as well as the Holocaust at some point in his career, and when the time came for him to begin moving on these ideas, he went full steam ahead. As you'll see in the documentary below, Kubrick painstakingly researched the French Emperor, even sending his assistant, Andrew Birkin, to Paris during the height of the student revolution to find Napoleonic artifacts. And probably the most impressive of Kubrick's research projects, was a file cabinet he filled with index cards that documented every single day of the life of Napoleon.
Research is where Kubrick made his films; the more he learned, the more the world of the film began to grow around him. However, in the real world, these projects quickly faded into obscurity thanks in part to scheduling problems (films about Napoleon and Nazi Germany came out around the time Kubrick was working on his), Production Code problems (he expressed a desire to adapt several novels, including Stefan Zweig's Burning Secret -- which was actually adapted into a film later on anyway), and family commitments (his daughter became pregnant when Kubrick was deciding whether or not to shoot The Aryan Papers, so he chose to scrap it, since his wife wouldn't be able to assist him).
Kubrick, I'm sure like many other filmmakers, had to go through losing projects for one reason or another. It's just a shame to know that one of the greatest, most brilliant filmmakers of all time could've made more films for us to enjoy, study, and learn from. (But at least we got A.I. right? Kind of?)