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The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made Paperback – April 28, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It's a muted celebration and a "melancholy examination" of what might have been in movie buff David Hughes's (The Complete Kubrick) The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made. In brief, slap-happily titled chapters (Twin Freaks; Alienated; Lights, Cameron, No "Action!") Hughes explains David Lynch's difficulties with movie financing, how a Spielberg project called Night Skies became the genesis for both E.T. and Poltergeist and why the Six Million Dollar Man never made it to the silver screen. Illus.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

From Tim Burton's Superman Lives to Steven Spielberg's Night Skies, the litany of uncompleted films presented here lends credence to the notion of Hollywood as a city of broken dreams. Hughes (The Complete Kubrick) draws on numerous exclusive new interviews with the disappointed filmmakers for this compendium of good intentions gone awry. Not surprisingly, the intricate machinations of business and financing tend to play the primary role in the demise of promising projects, together with healthy doses of petty bickering and infighting. Whether a prospective film might have turned out to be great cinema is usually a minor consideration. For instance, the proposed Terminator 3 faded away largely because the legal rights to produce the film were bogged down with the failing production company responsible for Terminator 2, writer-director James Cameron's interest was drifting away to other ventures, and Arnold Schwarzenegger insisted that he would not do another Terminator without Cameron. Serious sf fans and those fascinated by the inner workings of the film industry will be intrigued by the complexity of events that thwart these often promising projects. Recommended for academic libraries. Richard W. Grefrath, Univ. of Nevada Lib., Reno
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (April 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556524498
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556524493
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,165,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Not American on January 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
Well, Hughes has done it again. He has written a book that appeals to students of science fiction (of all types, not just films), movies, history, economics, you name it - and has made it completely entertaining and utterly un-putdownable at the same time. Fans of his earlier book on David Lynch will appreciate the chapter on Lynch's two "lost" movies, Ronnie Rocket and One Saliva Bubble.
Also, even though this book is only a couple of years old, it is interesting to see what has happened with some of these projects. For instance, Spider Man and Terminator 3 have already been released, Thunderbirds and Alien vs Predator are being filmed right now (Jan 2004), and apparently I Am Legend and The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy are being cast and actually being made (for sure this time!). I think this proves how fascinating this book is - with any other writing the fact that you are reading about Terminator 3 as a "dead" or "possible future" product would ruin the reading experience. With this book, though, it is still just as fascinating to see why the projects took so long to come to fruition.
So if you have any interest in films, art history, behind the scenes Hollywood gossip, or just a fascinating read, pick up this book NOW. Then go on to read his David Lynch bio, and everything else this man has written. I GUARANTEE you won't be disappointed.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
A must for all Sci-Fi and film fans (like myself!). I'd always wondered why some of the greatest Sci-Fi stories had never made it to the silver screen and why the one that had were often very disappointing; after reading this book, I now know why!!!
Not only due to you get all the facts and figure regarding the featured "never made" movies, this book lets inside the hearts and mind of the people that tried their hardest to make these movies happen and the studio management idiots that stopped them!
Like movies? Like Sci-Fi books? Want to know why your favourite stories never made it to celluloid? Read this book and find out!
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Taed Wynnell on September 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
This isn't a bad book, but it's namesake _The 50 Greatest Movies Never Made_ does a far better job at similar material. There is almost no overlap between the two books, despite the fact that the former book does cover a good deal of science fiction.
Where I think this book fails most is its approach. It's spends a lot of time dealing with production notes on the movies that were made instead (for example, Alien3), instead of the movie that wasn't made (Aliens vs. Predator). Furthermore, it never gets to the key issue -- why would this particular unmade movie have been great?
So, I'd recommend this book only as a follow-on if you've already read the "original".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
It's a miracle that a good movie gets made. Having seen the machinery at work while at Dino De Laurentiis Productions, I can attest to the fact that when it comes to a movie whatever can go wrong will go wrong and that's BEFORE a single frame has been shot.

Author David Hughes has updated his book so we have the ongoing saga about why good films often don't result from good novels, comic books and original screenplays. Hughes covers the difficult birth of "Spider-Man" a project tied up in legal limbo for over a decade. He also brings to light the long ongoing saga of both Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End which the late writer-producer Phil DeGuere tried to mount for TV as a mini-series only to see cut down several times and how Alfred Bester's classic science fiction novel The Stars My Destination was derailed before it ever had a chance to have a final screenplay written. We also learn about projects that eventually did get produced but after a birth so difficult that the creative team should have been given an epideral to deal with the pain.

The movie business is crazy precisely because just when you think you've learned the rules, you learn there are no rules except that until the film is finally released it might not happen. It's a bizarre world where movie executives and "suits" often have no clue as to the history of a project (or even the history of film as an art and commerical form--when an executive wonders aloud who Alfred Hitchcock was or has never heard of "Citizen Kane" but has the clout to green light a project you know you've entered Porky's Wackyland)or even the history of the world (one executive suggested that the Mayan civilization somehow be featured in a "Star Trek" pitch by noted writer Harlan Ellison that was set before the Dawn of Man.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MarkK VINE VOICE on November 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
As a longtime film fan, one of the things that has always intrigued me is the uncompleted film project, the idea that for some reason stalls out and never makes it to fruition. This fascination is what made David Hughes's book such an interesting read for me. Using a mixture of firsthand interviews and exploitation of fan and film literature he chronicles numerous projects, drafts, and proposals for science fiction movies. While many of the projects he chronicles never saw the silver screen, he also describes some of the abandoned drafts and visions for some of the most enduring franchises of the genre, such as the Star Trek and "Alien" series.

Some of his chapters will be heart-breaking for fans of the novels and franchises that underwent the process, yet reading the book offers insight into the convoluted process of film making. Reading it can often be saddening, as Hughes often succeeds in firing the imagination with description of unrealized projects that could have been breathtaking. Though true fans of these various franchises may be familiar with many of details Hughes describes, the book serves as a good overall account of Hollywood's often awkward relationship with the genre and a nice gift for the sci-fi film fan in your life.
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