This film exists in its inexistence as a perfect and complete totality. Imagine if I’d tried to sully that purity by finishing it. The thought is grotesque.
No one agrees on the ultimate cause of the project’s collapse. According to film historian Hans Papp, “The studio was afraid of his vision. That’s why they couldn’t allow him to finish it. They feared the power of what he was trying to achieve.” Lead animator Irwin Knut has a different theory: “When they found out the running time would be over 26 hours, I think that was probably the nail in the coffin.”
But Mulino maintains his own explanation. “It was never intended to be finished,” he says. “Those who lament the collapse of this production have completely failed understand the nature of my vision. The failure was the ending. The collapse of this project was the ultimate climax, the summation of everything that I wanted this film to express.
“Of course,” he adds, “the investors didn’t like that at all.”