Queen's Quarterly

Queen's Quarterly
Queen's Quarterly

Ira Wells


Spring 2020 - Ira Wells

Films You’ll Never See: Reckoning with the Cinema That Might Have Been

The basic math of Hollywood production – only those “properties” that promise the strongest returns on investment ever bathe in the proverbial green lights – virtually guarantees that every “auteur” leaves behind a trail of aborted projects. In some cases, however, filmmakers seem to accrue a particularly important body of unrealized works – a shadow filmography that illuminates radically different versions of film history. Because filmmakers lack direct control over their own destiny, these artistic counterlives may provide a clearer sense of who these creators imagined themselves to be …


Ira Wells is Academic Programs Director at Victoria College in the University of Toronto. His writing has appeared in the Walrus, the Guardian, the New Republic, the Globe and Mail, and elsewhere. His book Norman Jewison: A Director’s Life is forthcoming from Sutherland House in spring 2021.



[Francisco Reiguera stars in Orson Welles’ 14-year project Don Quixote, a work he would never finish.]