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The Greatest Movies Never Made

With the cancellation of Disney’s big screen adaptation of The Lone Ranger this week due to its substantial budget requirements, let’s look back at five monumental movies that never saw the light of day.


Having sculpted four of the greatest American films ever made – The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, The Conversation and Apocalypse Now – many will wonder why Francis Ford Coppola then went on to make some shit about reverse ageing and a dull courtroom drama. Well, Coppola wanted to make a few studio flicks in order to get his science fiction epic, Megalopolis, off the ground. It was said to be about an architect in a futuristic New York who tries to create utopia. However, as soon as September 11th happened the project was scrapped. Coppola believed there was no way of telling a story about a New York utopia after those events that had taken place. Here is some concept art:


A remake of the 1940 film My Favorite Wife, Something’s Gotta Give would be Marilyn Monroe’s final project before her death on August 5th 1962. The film is comedy about a man, Nick, who remarries after his first wife, Ellen, became lost at sea and was presumed dead. However, Ellen is rescued and returns home to her husband and Nick decides to try and keep the women secret from each other. Due to alleged fevers, headaches, chronic sinusitis and bronchitis, Monroe rarely appeared on set and production fell behind schedule and over budget. On June 8th, she was fired from the project by the director and production ground to a halt. She died just two months later. Most of its footage remained unseen for years, but parts can be found on a documentary called Marilyn: The Final Days and you can see it here:



Alfred Hitchcock, along with Benn Levy, came up with an original film called Kaleidoscope. The movie was to revolve around a young, handsome bodybuilder who lures young women to their deaths and a policewoman posing as a potential victim in order to catch him. The script, written in the late 60s, would be told entirely from the perspective of the killer and was going to feature relentless sex and violence. Universal found the idea to be too controversial and production was cancelled, however, some ideas can be seen in his 1972 movie Frenzy. Here are some stills from the film:


Orson Welles went to Hollywood in 1939 and signed a deal with RKO Pictures that gave him complete creative control over whatever films he wanted to make. His first project was to be an adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s classic novel Heart Of Darkness. However, typical of Welles’ style, he didn’t want to simply film an adaptation of the book, he wanted to insert his own signature stamp on it. Therefore, he decided to film it all from the first-person perspective of his protagonist Captain Marlow. The idea was bold, but led to a huge increase in RKO’s budget and the film never made it to production. Welles instead made a little film called Citizen Kane. Read the script from 1939 here.


Perhaps the greatest movie never made, it’s not a stretch to suggest that Napoleon could have been the true masterpiece of film legend Stanley Kubrick. In the mid 60s, having made Dr. Strangelove, Paths Of Glory and 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick embarked on his most ambitious project to date: A big screen version of the life of French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. To write the screenplay, Kubrick demanded an assistant to literally follow in the man’s footsteps, read hundreds of books, found information on everything from food tastes to the weather on particular days, gathered 15,000 location scouting photos and acquired 17,000 slides of Napoleonic imagery. To shoot the film, he then took teams across France, Italy and Yugoslavia – at one point borrowing 50,000 members of the Romanian army – to capture his story with painstaking accuracy. Along the way, it gathered a cast of Audrey Hepburn, David Hemmings and Alec Guiness. However, it all came crashing down in the 1970s when another Napoleon film was put into production and the studio decided it was too financially risky. Kubrick tried time and time again to get the project off the ground, but it was never to be…

About Daniel Sarath

Daniel is a 23 year old award nominated journalism graduate who has been writing film news and reviews online for the last four years. His work can be seen at Yahoo, Screen Invasion and HeyUGuys.