Stanley Kubrick in 2874 Pages, Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made

Lately I have been on this limited edition kick. Especially when it comes to books and audio-visual packaging. I’m a huge fan of Taschen, so I’m not sure how this slipped past me earlier this year but I’m glad I found it now. Unfortunately this book is sold out, but if I’m lucky maybe it will show up on ebay at a reasonable price some day.

“Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made”, was designed by MM Paris. The firm is best known for art direction and collaborations with musicians, fashion designers, and contemporary artists, including Björk, Madonna, Yohji Yamamoto, Balenciaga, Pierre Huyghe, and Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, as well as magazines including Vogue Paris, Interview, and Purple Fashion. Based on the photographs and the un-boxing video below you can see why they are held in such high regard.

This book documents Kubrick’s film on Napoleon Bonaparte. Slated for production immediately following the release of 2001 in 1968. Kubrick’s vision for the film was to present a character study of Napoleon and a sweeping epic film chronicling his rise to and fall from power. The film was to feature thousands of extras, and massive battles all shot on location. To write the screenplay for the film, Kubrick embarked on a two-year research journey that employed dozens of research assistants, and an Oxford specialist in Napoleonic history. Through painstaking research Kubrick amassed 15,000 location scouting photos, 17,000 slides of Napoleonic imagery, and took copious amounts of notes for the film. In the end M.G.M. and then United Artist decided not proceed sighting cost and production issues for such a large undertaking.

Taschen’s book, designed by MM Paris presents Kubrick’s vision of his unmade masterpiece. The book is a series of books within books, encased in a huge leather hard bound volume. Readers are presented with a selection of Kubrick’s correspondence, various costume studies, location scouting photographs, research material, script drafts, and more, each category of material in its own book. Kubrick’s final draft of the screenplay is reproduced in facsimile, and the other texts are neatly bundled into one volume where they do not interfere with the visual material. All of the individual books are nested inside of the main volume, a carved-out reproduction of a Napoleon history book.

MM Paris has done an amazing job with the design of this book. You can see why it had a $1500.00 dollar price point when you watch the video.

Click image to see the un-boxing video