The list of works which might have been great

2 October 2008

One of the films which Michael Powell tried to develop, after Peeping Tom made him notorious to the point of being unemployable, was a film that I would have loved to have seen: a version of The Tempest starring James Mason as Prospero and the young Helen Mirren as Miranda (‘such creatures’). Since reading about it, I’ve had half an eye for similar unmade possible masterpieces, but with little success.

On holiday, I stumbled across another one. According to Jenny Uglow’s wonderful biography, the Newcastle wood engraver Thomas Bewick, he of British Birds fame, turned down the chance to cut a set of engravings to Robert Burns’ new poem Tam O’Shanter because he was too busy.

The unmade might-have-been masterpieces in your notebook?

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