According to the hundreds of film critics polled by the British magazine Sight & Sound, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo is the second-best movie ever made, behind only Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, When Sight & Sound polled critics a decade ago, they picked Vertigo as the #1 movie of all time. In both cases it ranked ahead of Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, and other masterpieces like The Godfather, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Tokyo Story.
So… who wants to see a remake? Apparently Paramount does, as they are currently developing a new version of Vertigo that they hope will star none other than Robert Downey Jr. in the role originally played by Jimmy Stewart. In Hitchcock’s film, Stewart plays a police detective afflicted with a fear of heights; forced into an early retirement. He accepts a job following an acquaintance’s wife, who has been acting strangely. That leads him into a case full of twists, obsessions, and tragedies.
Whether the remake will be a tragedy or not remains to be seen, but Paramount is working on it. Deadline reports that Steven Knight — who is already in the news this week as the new writer of the upcoming Star Wars movie — is working on the screenplay, based on the original script by Alec Coppel and Samuel Taylor.
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Hitchcock’s movies have in some cases been remade before — even by Hitchcock, who directed a new version of The Man Who Knew Too Much 22 years after the original film he’d also made. Of course, some of the remakes of Hitchcock films have become downright notorious. (Hitchcock puns!) Gus Van Sant’s 1998 shot-for-shot remake of Psycho has gone down in history as one of the strangest experiments in all of Hollywood cinema. How the new Vertigo will turn out is anyone’s guess.
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