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Thou Shalt Not Remake Hitchcock

Let me start with one very important commandment that must be obeyed in the world of film:

Thou shalt not remake Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Gone With The Wind, 2001 a Space Odyssey (to name a handful of classic films) and anything directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Anything. Even if one day a reel containing a commercial shot by the man shows up, it cannot be remade.

Not that it hasn’t been tried. Just ask Gus Van Sant who tried to remake Psycho. I say tried even though the film was shot and released. Remember? Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates? Vince Vaughn??? I have to say this one more time. Vince Vaughn? Remaking the film was bad enough, but come on, you can’t replace Anthony Perkins at all much less with Vince Vaughn.

Not that Van Sant was the only one. There have been other remakes including Rear Window, Vertigo, Dial M For Murder, The Lodger, among others.

So it  now comes to pass that there is another man who has decided to take on the Hitchcock commandment and defy it. Rumor according to the guys at Latino Review is Will Smith is that man. The film? Suspicion. The 1941 Cary Grant film co starring Joan Fontaine in which a naive young woman marries a mysterious man and then comes to believe he’s trying to kill her. The audience isn’t sure. Is he a murderous scoundrel or a misunderstood loving husband? Will he kill her? Won’t he kill her? Is she crazy? Is he gas lighting her? Is she doomed? Should she stop watching Hitchcock films which are making her paranoid.

All of the above are just the plain old facts about the film. The big one is it’s a Hitchcock film. No matter what you think of Hitchcock, even if you don’t like his films, they are classics directed with a very particular style and point of view. Suspicion has something else about it that makes it a remake folly. It stars Cary Grant.

Don’t do it Will! Don’t take on Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock.

Sure, Hitchcock was a guy who tied live birds to strings and then tied them to Tippi Hedren. He was said to have a sadistic streak a mile wide, evidence, among other things, being he tied live birds to strings and then tied them to Tippi Hedren. The guy who loved cool blond actresses and enjoyed making their lives a living hell,  still deserves respect for his work.

Will Smith isn’t alone in challenging the Hitchcock commandment.  A remake  of The Birds is on the table. I bet Naomi Watts and Scarlett Johansson are duking it out over who gets to be victimized by birds run amok. All I know is  I can’t watch the original version or I get nightmares.

Remaking Hitchcock’s Suspicion might be Will Smith’s nightmare. The ghost of the great director might threaten him with a leg of lamb. (This is a reference to an episode of  Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Barbara Bel Gedes bludgeons her husband with a leg of lamb. When the police arrive she’s cooked the murder weapon and graciously serves it to them. The episode was titled “Lamb to the Slaughter.”)

What do you think? Should the Hitchcock Commandment be enforced or should Will Smith attempt to step into Cary Grant’s shoes and break the commandment?


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Robin Ruinsky has been a writer since penning her autobiography in fourth grade. Along the way she's studied theater at Syracuse University, worked with Woody Allen starring most of the time on the cutting room floor. A segue into the punk rock scene followed but writing was always the main focus. She writes for various crafty, artsy magazines about people who make craftsy, artsy collectible things. But her first love is writing fiction and film criticism which some people think are the same thing.

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