Our film was not about Dublin, it was Dublin itself. And our experience was very much like that of the experience of the Dubliners of 1904. There were too many of us, we had too little money, and we had limited access to indoor plumbing.
Lorentz Mulino, director
The Sweet Smell of Failure
The Untold Story of the Ulysses: the Animated Film
It’s altogether unclear how the right to adapt Ulysses for the screen fell into the hands of Lorentz Mulino, a little-known filmmaker, whose only previous directing credit was attached to the Disney short “Mickey's Wild Ride” (instantly shelved by the studio for its depictions of drug use and frank sexual content).
James Joyce's Ulysses is the pre-eminent work of modern literature, named ‘the greatest novel of the Twentieth Century’ by such famed list-makers as Vladimir Nabokov and Anthony Burgess. “I’d never read Ulysses,” Mulino recalls, “but I had a friend who told me it was pretty good.”
But it was not to be. After years of troubled production that included financial setbacks, tense disputes among the crew, and at least one brutal knife-fight, the project was finally shelved and the production material recycled into toilet paper and novelty ashtrays to recoup studio losses. Today, all that remains of the animated Ulysses is the scant archive of sketches, cels and film stills that Mulino was able to cram into a single suitcase before fleeing the country.
On this site, for the first time, that archive has been made available to the public. Says film historian Elsbeth Shuntmann, “This material gives us an amazing insight into a piece of film history that we’d thought had been lost forever, as well as fodder for any number of lawsuits for alleged emotional abuse.”
So join us for an unforgettable story of passion, obsession, and above all, abject failure.