Alfred Hitchcock's Unproduced Projects
The Films That Hitchcock Didn't Make
Few filmmakers of Hollywood's Golden Era have thrived in what was the heyday of the studio system while also making deeply personal pictures. If there is a single director whose career began in the days before the talkies that remained very much in the mainstream through the post-Jaws blockbuster era, his name is Alfred Hitchcock.
"I could never retire," Hitchcock said at the age of seventy-eight. "I have lots of ideas that I've never yet managed to get on the screen, and something always comes up, some new story that excites me. I warn you, I mean to go on forever!" To the great disappointment of movie audiences around the world, Hitchcock could not go on forever and the film he was preparing at the time, The Short Night, never made it to the screen. In one sense though, Hitchcock was right, in that his presencenow thirty years lateris as strong as it ever was, due to the films he left behind and his overall influence on the cinema. What Hitchcock also left as a legacy, was a very intriguing statement, that he had lots of ideas which still hadn't gotten to the screen.
In his fifty years as a motion picture director, Alfred Hitchcock completed fifty-five feature films. Most filmographies overlook the director's German language version of his 1930 British production Murder!, called Sir John Grieft Ein! (or Mary), which has a completely different cast. Also excluded from most lists is Hitchcock's silent version of Blackmail, which has obvious differences from his more celebrated sound version, and indeed enjoyed its own successful theatrical run. To the Hitchcock completist, anything the master put to film is of interest. Happily, gems such as the above two titles have become available again, if only to an occasional retrospective. With the 1993 re-release of Hitchcock's wartime propaganda films, Bon Voyage and Aventure Malgache, and a 1998 presentation of Incident at a Corner, the director's only color telefilm, it would seem that there will always be something new to discover about Hitchcock. What remains then are the projects which Hitchcock never completed, and are thus lost.
Hitchcock's foibles in the film trade were less conspicuous than some of his celebrated colleagues, such as Orson Welles and Joseph L. Mankiewicz, for the simple reason that his output never diminished. For nearly three decades, audiences enjoyed sometimes two pictures a year from the rotund Englishman who made those little suspense pictures, like The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes, Notorious, Rear Window and Psycho. While a legend such as Welles might be as famous for Citizen Kane as he was for the films he didn't make, the sheer volume of Hitchcock's work might lead one to suspect that he had little if any trouble getting his films to the screen. Such was not the case.
As with any filmmaker, there were projects started by Hitchcock which for one reason or another were abandoned, compromised, or never realized. Through the years Hitchcock had many projects which came rather close to production, going as far as casting star performers, securing locations, making budgets, designing sets, and drafting a screen treatment or shooting script. Additionally, a great number of his moviessome of his most successfulwere not as he intended them to be.
This aspect in the career of one of the cinema's great artists has remained largely unexplored. Thus the world has been deprived of examining how Hitchcock's completed works either evolved, or were affected by works which did not come to fruition. Hitchcock's unrealized projects reveal his diverse taste for story material as they could not be more varied in theme and content. No Bail for the Judge was to have been a big-budget, highly commercial, star vehicle, while Mary Rose would have been a small, intimate, and deeply personal picture. The bold original story called Frenzy was a departure from Hitchcock's roots of following a hero thrust into world of chaos and terror, whereas The Short Night marked a return to the moral ambiguity of his British espionage classics Sabotage and Secret Agent.
Each of these projects and more will be discussed here in great detail ... Beginning with the original story that Hitchcock called Frenzy and later Kaleidoscope, and the film he nearly made with Audrey Hepburn, No Bail for the Judge.
These are just some of the projects discussed thus far:
And coming soon ...
The Blind Man, Flamingo Feather, The Short Night