5 of the Best Films That Never Got Made

These movies could have been classics

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 30, 2014 1:02 PM CDT

(Newser) – In honor of last week's release of Jodorowsky's Dune, a documentary about Alejandro Jodorowsky's planned but never made adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction novel, the BBC lists the "10 greatest movies never made." Five standouts:

  • Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon: Kubrick spent years digging into the French emperor while planning a biopic that he hoped to film after 2001: A Space Odyssey and which he hoped would star Oskar Werner as Napoleon and Audrey Hepburn as his wife. MGM scrapped the plan over costs, but as of last year, rumor was that Steven Spielberg may resurrect it as a TV miniseries.
  • Alfred Hitchcock's Kaleidoscope: Hitchcock filmed an hour of test footage in the 1960s for what he saw as a modern, edgy film featuring nudity and violence, but MCA/Universal turned down the project. Hitchcock ended up using some of the ideas in Frenzy in 1972.

  • Orson Welles' Heart of Darkness: In the 1940s, the director decided to adapt Joseph Conrad's novella, and planned to play the narrator, Marlow, himself, using a "subjective camera" technique in which the audience would see things from Marlow's perspective rather than seeing Marlow himself. The film ended up being too expensive, so Welles made Citizen Kane instead.
  • Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote: Gilliam started pre-production in 1998 for a movie starring Johnny Depp as a man who travels back to Quixote's era and adventures with him, but problems including the poor health of French actor Jean Rochefort, who was to play Quixote, forced filming to stop. Gilliam has said he may still make the movie with different stars, though a 2010 effort to do so was a flop.
  • David Lynch's Ronnie Rocket: Mel Brooks wanted Lynch to make a film for him, and Lynch planned a script about a detective who travels to a different dimension, where he meets a teenager who must be plugged into an electricity source constantly; the teen becomes the titular rock star, Ronnie Rocket. Lynch ended up adapting The Elephant Man as his next film instead.
Click for the complete list, which includes another would-be Orson Welles film.

Orson Welles delivers a radio broadcast from a New York studio in 1938.   (AP Photo)
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