It is very ironical how humble masters deal with credit issues. Credit of artistic works is a very tricky business indeed when it comes to literature of the past. Some go to the extent of negating that the plays of Shakespeare were written by a group of people or doubt authorship of Jane Austen’s novels.
However, currently while working on my research paper, one comes across variety of references. And a curious case just hit my eyes.
Filmmaker Stanley Kubrick was highly in awe of Arthur C Clarke as the science fiction writer. Kubrick wanted to make a film based on Clarke’s work. He prompted Clarke for a story, and the writer in return opened his gamut of short stories and novels in front of him. Together they picked the short story, ‘The Sentinel’ and develop it into a larger scale, keeping it as an inspiration. However, writing is an obsessive job. It can take years and days, depending on the writer’s frame of mind and loads of other external factor. Clarke and Kubrick simultaneously started developing a screenplay and Clarke was also writing the novel out of the same story. In the end, both the movie and the novel ended up as remarkable sci-fi cults. However, the story in the novel is quite different from the screenplay.
Clarke’s and Kubrick’s work was so interwoven that there could have been many differences. But the mark of a flawless work of art means there were no flaws in the process either. Of course, they had their differences of opinions and tiffs about developments, and creative fits, but at the end, they both knew that sharing credits isn’t such a bad thing after all.
And in spite of those differences, Kubrick made the movie ‘based on the novel’ 2001 – A Space Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke. And the novel was published with equal thankful notes and Clarke didn’t forget to give Kubrick due credit. But then we’re talking about the masters here.
This instance just reminded me of the strange publicity stunt by a writer and a production company in India where they were fighting over the novel and screenplay not being similar. Those who prefer to indulge into such humbug, crass, loud show-biz, might gain temporary success. But they never qualify to reach the level of classics.