Stanley Kubrick is one of the most famous directors of all time, and one who was gone too soon. And like all visionaries who die suddenly, he was working on several projects, including a script for Burning Secret an adaptation of a 1913 novella by Austrian novelist and playwright Stefan Zweig. The screenplay was thought to be lost, but a nearly finished copy has been found.
Written by Kubrick and author and screenwriter Calder Willingham, Burning Secret is a dark tale that follows a mother and son on a holiday, when a mysterious man who befriends the young boy in an attempt to seduce his mother. The script was shown to Nathan Abrams, a film professor at Bangor University in Wales, by a son of one of Kubrick’s collaborators who wished to remain unnamed.
“It’s a full script: beginning, middle, end,” Abrams told BBC. “As to whether that was the final one, we can’t say.”
It’s not as though this would be the first adaptation of the novel on the screen. There was a 1933 an Austrian-German film by Robert Siodmak, followed up by an English feature in 1988 by Andrew Birkin.
Even if a studio does pick up the film, the problem would be that it would be another director’s vision. Kubrick was meticulous in his directing, and didn’t usually just rely on the screenplay to dictate the final product. Still, it’s cool to know that a screenplay does exist and could have easily made it to film. Another interesting story to be added to the annals of film history.