Unknown Kubrick screenplay on Napoleon is posted on the internet

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A screenplay by the late director Stanley Kubrick for an epic film dealing with the career of Napoleon has been posted on the internet - shocking his family but entrancing fans who followed his work.

A screenplay by the late director Stanley Kubrick for an epic film dealing with the career of Napoleon has been posted on the internet - shocking his family but entrancing fans who followed his work.

The appearance of the 1969 script, which was never made into a film, has raised questions about how it was delivered, as sources have suggested that the original was circulated within only a tiny inner circle of Kubrick's closest colleagues.

Yet about a week ago, a film site run by a Norwegian film fan, Bjorn Hundland, posted the screenplay of a draft for Napo-leon, a drama-documentary about the French emperor's life, with annotations in Kubrick's hand. It appeared at www.movie-page.com.

It was removed earlier this week only after demands by Polaris Productions, Kubrick's production company. "I got contacted by the people who owned the rights to the script, and they asked me to take it down," Mr Hundland said yesterday.

Kubrick died on 7 March last year at his home in Hertfordshire, shortly after completing Eyes Wide Shut.

The film proposed by the Napoleon script was a grand-scale reconstruction, recreating the battles of Austerlitz and Waterloo, and involving 200,000 gallons of fake blood, 35,000 troops and 5,000 horses. Kubrick claimed that it would have the qualities of "a great piece of music, or the purityof a mathematical formula,the sheer visual and organisational beauty of historicalwarfare".

But the failure in 1970 of Waterloo, starring Orson Welles, made it impossible to get funding. Instead, Kubrick turned his attention to a futuristic script by Anthony Burgess and created A Clockwork Orange.

Jan Harlan, the executor for the Kubrick estate, said yesterday: "There have been other scripts from Stanley's films out there but those we don't mind about, because the films are made, so what does it matter?

"But Napoleon is different. It's an original screenplay which he didn't make because of the failure of Waterloo. And when he returned to it, it became clear that it would really have to be an eight-hour epic for TV. So he just left it on the back burner. But it's still his intellectual property, his copyright."

Mr Harlan, asked if he would try to recover the script, said: "What is there to get back? The fact that it's publicised on the Net doesn't mean anyone has acquired the film rights."

Mr Hundland said that he had been sent the script anonymously by e-mail, from someone who has previously sent him film information and material. "This person has sent me things before, and it's always been real," he said, explaining how he was confident that the screenplay was real.

Although he lists 2001: A Space Odyssey among his favourite films, Mr Hundland is not a particular Kubrick fan. "I haven't seen a lot of his stuff. He's a little before my time."

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