No matter what one thought of 2001's "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence", the meshed cinematic styles of Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg worked. That could be a personally minority opinion, but the immensity of scope and vision in the above film went beyond most levels of cinema thanks to the consolidation. As well, it forced Spielberg into giving more of an ambiguous ending rather than going for his slightly happier, emotional endings.
That's why some of us who appreciated that collaboration from beyond the grave perked up when hearing about Spielberg adapting another of Kubrick's unrealized projects: "Napoleon." Even if it's not doable as a theatrical movie (especially with Abel Gance's awesome 1927 silent epic still being screened), it sounds more feasible as an obsessively detail-oriented TV miniseries.
But if that ever becomes successful, Spielberg may have proven himself a true guardian toward finishing Kubrick's many other unrealized movie projects. Kubrick had as many of them as Orson Welles had quadruple the amount. And almost all of them may be subjects Spielberg could easily connect with emotionally or intellectually.
First case in point: During the mid 1950s, Kubrick was considering adapting a highly controversial story called "The Burning Secret" about a German baron who befriends the young son of a Jewish woman. The friendship turns out to be a ruse in order to merely seduce the son's mother.
The above was an example of the developing fascination Kubrick had with the relationship between the Germans and Jews during World War II. For years, Kubrick even wanted to make an epic Holocaust movie that was canceled only by the irony of Spielberg making "Schindler's List." Nevertheless, these particular projects are ones Spielberg could easily revisit today.
With "The Burning Secret", especially, Spielberg could yet again show the occasionally fascinating relationships between particular Germans and those of the Jewish faith dangerously living within Germany's confines. In the 1950s, it couldn't be filmed due to the prurient content. Today, Spielberg could make it and still settle for an R rating.
If Spielberg doesn't want to revisit Nazis, he could settle for finally adapting "Foucault's Pendulum" by Umberto Eco as a kick in the pants to "The Da Vinci Code." Kubrick was planning to make a film version of the former in the late 1980s, even though he never had a script written. Surely, Kubrick must have written some rough production notes that Spielberg could use as a guide toward finally making an intelligent conspiracy movie.
Then again, Spielberg is also on a compelling historical film path that's led to a reinvention of how we view history on film. Kubrick wanted to do more history films after "Barry Lyndon" and "Full Metal Jacket." One of those pipe dreams was an adaptation of a book called "All the King's Men" that would have had an in-depth look at British Intelligence.
It's the kind of historical project Spielberg would bring to a specialized new life considering how vivid his historical movies have become. In that regard, Spielberg can easily get away with raiding Kubrick's vault without anybody fearing the latter late director is spinning around.
There's also a consolation in seeing the ideas of Kubrick become Spielberg's new muse in adjusting the latter director's style to something more interesting than under his singular projects.