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IN THE WORKS: Studios Raid Hitchcock Files, First ‘Rebecca,’ Now ‘Suspicion’

IN THE WORKS: Studios Raid Hitchcock Files, First 'Rebecca,' Now 'Suspicion'

Joan Fontaine was nominated for the Oscar for two back-to-back Hitchcock masterpieces, 1940’s “Rebecca” and 1941’s “Suspicion,” and won for the latter. In the space of a week it looks like two studios are prepping remakes of those films.  Of course, Working Title/DreamWorks and Montecito/Paramount insist that they are returning to the source, Daphne Du Maurier and Francis Iles (“Before the Fact”), respectively. (UPDATE: For more on these Hitchcock films, read Dave Kehr’s latest NYT DVD column.)

With all the film talent flocking to cable, it’s nice to see the flow coming back Hollywood’s way: TV scribe and showrunner Veena Sud (who turned the Danish series “The Killing” into a hit AMC series) is writing up “Suspicion” for Montecito and Paramount, reports Variety.

The story is about a mousy, wealthy young woman (Fontaine) who meets and marries a charming rogue (Cary Grant), who may or may not be what he claims. She becomes more and more concerned about his odd behavior, to the point that she thinks he wants to do her in. 

Hitchcock remains one of the most commercial filmmakers of all time. He had a knack for figuring out how to put together stories that audiences would want to see, often playing into our fears and anxieties by asking us to identify with his flawed protagonists. The studios are poring through their library catalogues and public domain titles to see what they can mine that has already proven successful and easily sold as a genre title, like a thriller.

So far Hitch can rest easy, as none of the myriad remakes and rip-offs of his work has ever challenged his originals, from Gus Van Sant’s heartfelt “Psycho” shot-by-shot recreation to Robert Towne’s “Mission: Impossible II,” loosely inspired by my all-time fave Hitchcock, “Notorious.”

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