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on 19 January 2015
Over the space of (approximately) 250 pages this book takes us through a fairly large number of films that never got made, or in a couple of rare cases that were made or nearly completed and never exhibited. Some of these projects, such as Kubrick's Napoleon (apparently he hated the Abel Gance movie - a new tidbit for me found here) are not very obscure, but much of what is here was completely new to me. There's a criticism below about the inclusion of poster art (or hypothetical poster art), and it is true that a fair number of pages are taken up with this - one full page for each film, plus a two page spread acting as the break between each decade. This didn't annoy me - when I thought about it I realised that engagement with a film is often first through its own visual advertising, and I suspect posters remain important in getting customers through the doors, so the imagery and the emphasis on cast and crew might say quite a bit about audience expectations. The narrative itself is of consistently high standard, and well researched. There were perhaps (for me) a few too many references to websites, but the fact that what was most often being quoted were interviews with relevant players made these more relevant than they might, in the worst case scenario, have been. Trivia tidbits abound, and not withstanding the age of Google I still find these more attractive when linked by a coherent narrative (I'm not going to give the game away by saying who the first ever person to play James Bond on screen was, but it was lovely to be told). I'd have one very minor quibble with the title - not all of these films sound as if they would have been great, at least as originally contemplated. One indeed, a holocaust based Jerry lewis film could have been one of the worst films ever made, and a couple read like very pretentious euro-movie gumph. The design values are very high - lots of 'break-out boxes' (some of them high on interest and low on relevance) and good illustrations throughout. I quite enjoyed the running joke of regular Orson Welles' entries, and did delay turning the light off at 1am to finish this. Recommended for the film buff who has everything.
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on 8 March 2014
Really interesting and revelatory. I know a fair bit about film but a lot of these were new to me. Very imaginative mocked-up poster art.
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on 25 May 2015
Fascinating study of movies that did not get to be made. Intriguing look at the problems of 'development hell' in Hollywood.
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on 27 November 2013
I bought this book as I love movies and am fascinated by things considered lost. So this purchase seemed like an ideal read for me. After having read the entries about planned but scrapped movies I felt I had paid more for the art work in the book than for the information provided. Maybe there aren't that many facts available about these unproduced movies but I felt that such subjects Hitchcock's "Kaleidoscope" and Kubrick's "Napoleon" could have had more than 3 or 4 pages each. That's the problem with this book: the writers don't have enough material on these never realized films.

So instead this 250 page book is crammed with some artists idea of what the posters for these unmade films could have looked like. Too much space is given for these supposed posters that look instantly dated and amateur. I think the editors thought the posters would be "cool" in a Criterion Collection cover art kind of way. If the pictures had been smaller and not so blatantly taking up so much space I could have overlooked it. But they are not good enough to warrant so much attention and the price of the book. Otherwise, it is a riveting idea to write about potential and "lost" films.
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on 22 January 2015
Bought as a gift and loved
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on 9 December 2015
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on 16 July 2014
Purchased as a gift, just the right amount of packaging
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on 22 December 2014
bought as a present - went down well
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