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There Have Been No Original Ideas In Your Lifetime

August 15, 2012 1 comment

Proof that copyright overreach is not only a problem for the internet age. From a list of 13 aborted Hitchcock films: 

4. 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.

You got that? A guy was literally going to sue Alfred Hitchcock over stealing the idea of stealing Shakespeare’s ideas. I’m honestly not even sure what law he thought he could sue under, but it was enough to scare off a big movie studio. 

The idea is laughable now, but it seems that there was a point where let’s rewrite Shakespeare in a modern context seemed like a novel idea. Of course, writers have been ripping off Shakespeare since, well, Shakespeare’s time. The true innovation was to just cut the crap and call the damn film “Hamlet”. 

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