For this week’s list, we have a movie, a statue, a novel, an album, and a musical composition.
Stanley Kubrick’s “Napoleon”
“Napoleon” was to be a large-scale biographical film about Napoleon Bonaparte by filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. It was supposed to be his next film after the sci-fi hit, “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), to be released in the 1970s. Kubrick had already ironed out everything up to the very last detail, but just before the actual production phase began, film studio MGM decided to cancel the project partly due to its staggeringly high projected cost. “Napoleon” was planned to be filmed on location in France and in studios in the United Kingdom. In addition, around 50,000 soldiers would have been enlisted to act in the battle scenes that were to be filmed in Romania. Other reasons that were said to have affected to shelving of “Napoleon” were the Western release of Soviet filmmaker’s Sergei Bondarchuk’s adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” in 1968 and the “commercial failure” of Bondarchuk’s other film “Waterloo” which is, interestingly, a Napeleon-themed film, too.
However, it seems that “Napoleon” will finally be able to see the light of day as Steven Spielberg announced early this year his plans of developing it as a miniseries.
Leonardo da Vinci’s “Gran Cavallo”
In his lifetime, da Vinci was said to have left a number of his works unfinished. One of them was a massive bronze-cast statue of a horse, the “Gran Cavallo,” which was commissioned by the Duke of Milan in honor of his father. Da Vinci was able to finish a clay model by 1492 – at 23 feet tall, it was said to have been bigger than Donatello’s “Gattamelata” and Verrocchio’s “Bartolomeo Colleoni,” the only two large equestrian statues from the Renaissance period.
But war broke out between France and Italy in 1494, which caused the bronze that was to be used for the statue to be used instead to build cannons. The clay model didn’t stand a chance, either, as it was said to have been used for target practice by the invading French troops.
Charles Dickens’ “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”
Death came sooner than English novelist Charles Dickens was able to finish his final novel, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” so we’ll never be able to know the ending that he had planned for it. The book was named after the character Edwin Drood, an orphan, but focuses on his uncle John Jasper. In the story, Edwin was murdered; however, the culprit’s identity was never revealed.
Talk about a major cliffhanger!
”The First Rays of the New Rising Sun” by Jimi Hendrix
A couple of years before his death in 1970, Jimi Hendrix had already been working on this album. He even mentioned it in interviews and live performances. Recordings were done intermittently between 1968 and 1970, with Hendrix supposedly having jotted down a few track lists already. But plans for the album were scrapped and replaced one too many times. “The First Rays of the New Rising Sun” was supposed to be a double LP release to be released around late 1970 or early 1971. However, Hendrix passed away even before he was able to set his plan in motion.
Fortunately, more than two decades later (on April 22, 1997, to be exact), the album was released posthumously “as closely as is feasible to how he [Hendrix] would have wanted it."
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Requiem”
Mozart began composing the “Requiem Mass in D Minor” in Vienna in 1791. It was commissioned anonymously by Count Franz von Walsegg, allegedly to pass off as his own composition to commemorate his wife’s death in February 1792. But like in the cases of Dickens and Hendrix, Mozart died on December 5 that same year with only the opening movement (or the Requiem aeternam) completed.
Mozart’s student Franz Xaver Süssmayr took over the project and finished the “Requiem,” which was delivered to the Count’s court the following year.
This list was based on Yahoo!’s 10 Unfinished Works of Art; however, all information in this article were sourced from the Stanley Kubrick and Stanley Kubrick’s unrealized projects pages on Wikipedia, Top Tenz, the Leonardo da Vinci page on Wikipedia, The Mystery of Edwin Drood page on Wikipedia, the First New Rays of the New Rising Sun page on Wikipedia, and the Requiem page also on Wikipedia
Further reading: Read Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Napoleon’ Script and Peruse His Plans for World Domination, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” on Wikipedia and Project Gutenberg, “First New Rays of the New Rising Sun” on Wikipedia, and “Requiem” on Wikipedia.
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