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Archive for September 10th, 2011

By Bob Clark

There’s a special kind of disappointment to be found in cataloging the abortive attempts at movies by great filmmakers that never got off the ground. Whether it’s Kubrick’s Napoleon, Kurosawa’s version of Tora Tora Tora or just about any of the hypothetical near-misses of Terry Gilliam’s career, there’s no shortage of occasions in the annals of cinematic history where the perfect synthesis of filmmaker and subject matter almost came to fruition. Oftentimes, it happens to arise around the matter of adapting a work from one medium into films, and though we may see great directors pass on from a project, more often than not we wind up with someone even more fitting for the job (Francis Ford Coppola directing The Godfather after Sergio Leone turned it down, Stanley Kubrick picking up A Clockwork Orange after Ken Russell) or at the very least no less fitting than anyone who preceded them (David Lynch inheriting Dune after the likes of Alejandro Jodorowski and Ridley Scott, or Ken Russell inheriting Altered States, cast and all, from Arthur Penn). In the realm of animation, however, there are likely few missed opportunities more disheartening than the series of creative misfortunes that suffered the long-developed Little Nemo anime, which slipped through the fingers of no less than Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, only two of the luminary figures whose paths crossed with the film in its long-slumbering production.

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