Hallam lecturer uncovers Kubrick plan to aquire Doctor Zhivago film rights

Senior lecturer in media, James Fenwick, has discovered that two of cinema’s most revered film-makers – Hollywood star Kirk Douglas and director Stanley Kubrick – tried in vain to acquire the movie rights to Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak’s classic love story set against the Russian revolution, in the 1950s. Fenwick has been taken aback to find a letter of 8 January 1959, in which Kubrick had written to Pasternak, pointing out the quality of his previous work. “The last film we made, Paths of Glory, received the best picture of the year award in Belgium, Brazil and Finland,” he wrote. “We would now like to buy the motion picture rights to Doctor Zhivago. We have contacted the law firm in New York who represent the Italian publishers of the book. Negotiations are at a standstill as they are not yet prepared to finalise a deal.”

The discovery will be published in two forthcoming books, Stanley Kubrick Produces and Shadow Cinema: The Historical and Production Contexts of Unmade Films, a collection of essays by leading scholars that James Fenwick has co-edited.

The Guardian has covered the news.