One of my fave sites, Mental Floss, has compiled a list of 13 films that the legendary Alfred Hitchcock had planned to make but was forced to abandon owing to problems ranging from budgets to studio interference to star and script issues.
Here are three of those films that caught my eyeballs:
Hamlet, starring Cary Grant
In the late 1940s, Hitchcock hit on an odd idea: he wanted to produce a modernized version of Hamlet set in England with Cary Grant in the title role. According to Hitchcock, the project “would be presented as a psychological melodrama.” The idea hit the rocks after Hitchcock’s studio, Transatlantic, announced the project and a professor who had written a modernized version of Shakespeare’s tale threatened a lawsuit.
The Wreck of the Mary Deare
Hitchcock always wanted to do a movie with Gary Cooper. He offered Cooper the lead role in Foreign Correspondent only to have the star turn it down because it was a thriller; Joel McCrea ended up memorably playing the part instead. In 1959, though, Hitchcock had another shot when MGM optioned the rights to the novel The Wreck of the Mary Deare for a Hitchcock-Cooper collaboration.
Hitchcock and Ernest Lehman spent weeks working on the script, but they eventually decided that the story really became a snoozer of a courtroom drama and shifted their focus to the early planning for North by Northwest.
In 1965, Hitchcock hired the Italian writing duo Age and Scarpelli—perhaps best known in the States for their screenplay for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly—to pen a script about an Italian immigrant to America who rises in the hotel world, then sends for his Sicilian family. Unbeknownst to the hotelier, his relatives are a pack of thieves. Eventually the sticky fingered family tries to swipe a valuable coin collection from the hotel; the title comes from numismatic jargon. Hitchcock told Truffaut, “I dropped the project because it seemed to be shapeless. Aside from that, you know that Italians are very slipshod in matters of story construction. They just ramble on.”
Yes, for example Bicycle Thief. It just rambles on.