So a few months before they collaborated on the script of Paths of Glory, Stanley Kubrick and Calder Willingham wrote a screenplay adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s “The Burning Secret“, a 1913 novella involving a mother, her adolescent son and a romantic suitor. The script was submitted to the MGM script department on 10.24.56, but MGM execs didn’t like it and the project fell through. Soon after Kubrick and Willingham co-wrote Paths of Glory and the rest is history.
In 1987 or thereabouts Andrew Birkin, who had worked with Kubrick on 2001: A Space Odyssey and Napoleon, wrote and directed his own film of Burning Secret, also based on the Zweig novella and costarring Klaus Maria Brandauer, Faye Dunaway and David Eberts. It came out in ’88 but didn’t cause much of a stir. And what?
As long as we’re talking about dormant Kubrick projects, whatever happened to the idea of HBO producing a version of Kubrick’s Napoleon, which Cary Fukunaga was going to direct with Steven Spielberg producing? It was announced a little more than two years ago.