Is Hitchcock's The 39 Steps Due For A Remake?
The 39 Steps was one of Hitchcock's early films made in England before he leapt over to Hollywood, and gets a little overlooked as a result-- it has neither the thematic depth or memorable cinematography of, say, Vertigo, or even his second take on The Man Who Knew Too Much. But when the film was adapted as a successful, long-running Off-Broadway play a few years ago it got a bit of a revival, and it comes as far less of a surprise to learn that there's someone out there considering a remake.
The particular someone may surprise you-- according to Moviehole, the guy is Vic Armstrong, who has worked for decades as a stuntman and second-unit director (on the likes of Mission: Impossible III and the forthcoming Thor) but has yet to make his feature directing debut. It's unclear why he's interested in The 39 Steps, but the project is already well on its way to existing, with a script from Bob Couttie, Neal Bloom and Debbie Bishop and financiers at Film Planet. Moviehole says the script is "tight," which is no surprise given the excellent film it's based on, and that Armstrong will be adding plenty of action given his past credentials.
And, really, Hitchcock wasn't the first person to tell the story-- his film was based on the novel by John Buchan. In his version of the film, a man is falsely accused of murder, running away from a secret group of spies and, oh yeah, handcuffed to a woman who wants nothing to do with him as he escapes across the British countryside. It's one of those mistaken-identity stories that Hitchcock excelled at, with the added flair of a screwball comedy. It's also a story that could easily be updated for modern times-- it's basically The Bourne Identity with less technology. I'm interested to see what Armstrong might do with such a classic story for his directorial debut, and if a remake sends more people to the Hitchcock original, it works well out for everybody regardless.
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