There was much consternation over the weekend over the gall of someone daring to develop a remake of, shock horror, an Alfred Hitchcock movie. I appreciate that yes, Hitchcock is one of the greats, but to suggest that to remake his work would be a travesty is, to be frank, a little strong. It’s nothing new, Hitchcock must be one of the most re-made directors of all time. And after all, Hitchcock himself wasn’t adverse to a remaking his own work…

I understand the reasons why people are so against remakes of classic films, and remakes in general. It’s lazy, they’re just reworking an existing screenplay. It’s cheap, and for every remake produced an original script isn’t getting its chance to be made.

The fact is, there are movies that have been made, even some that are considered classics by some, that could benefit from a bit of reworking for a contemporary audience. I love the concept of Logan’s Run for example, but i didn’t like the film that much. I know i’ll get roasted for that, but i think it’s a great basic idea that could be done much better. Now, i can’t speak for Suspicion, because if i have seen it, i certainly don’t remember it. But looking at historical reviews of it, it was ‘good’ at best, and certainly not a highly plaudited example of the master’s work.

There is a dearth of great writers in Hollywood. There are very few actively working screenwriters that are capable of coming up with compelling stories, and well constructed plots. If you’ve got a choice between a mediocre story idea realised by a shoddy director, or a decent story idea done by that same director, which would you choose to watch? Cynical maybe, but the bottom line is movies need to be made constantly for the studios to survive, and if they all made the decision to take risks on original screenplays, for every great success story there would be a film company out of business, because they couldn’t turn a profit on the awful movies they were churning out.

There’s a generation of moviegoers who haven’t seen Hitchcock’s work, and never will. They are black and white, they are awfully static due to filmmaking restrictions from the period, and the style of acting is different to that which the younger audience is used to. Better to let the story live on by reinterpreting it for modern day than let it die with the older audience that remember it so fondly.

The idea that remakes are taking the place of original ideas isn’t necessarily right either. Great filmmakers will continue to develop new ideas, and make great original movies. Jean-Pierre Jeunets will carry on making Micmacs, Kathryn Bigelows will continue making Hurt Lockers and Duncan Joneses will carry on making Moons. Mediocre, journeyman filmmakers will make average, or below average movies whether the material is original or rehashed. Remakes are required to keep the revenue stream going. The Hurt Locker just about covered costs, Moon possibly didn’t even manage that. Clash of the Titans and Robin Hood will make huge box office. Audiences will continue to pay money to see recognisable work, and shy away from brand new material. Come on, can you tell me you’re not going to go and see Clash of the Titans or Robin Hood? Vote with your wallets, not your mouths. Even the highest grossing movie of all time, Avatar, is a mish-mash of old ideas.

Clearly the biggest problem here is that Hollywood studios are not putting enough work in to developing promising young writers. By all accounts, the spec script system is very much a lottery, and there are probably great movie ideas sitting in stacks in cupboards, or in landfill, discarded after a ten page read because they were only ‘two thirds there’. There are too many aspiring writers, and no effective system for panning out the gold.

The biggest surprise for me is that Will Smith is contemplating this for his next movie. By his own calendar, he’s due to save the world again. He obviously sees potential for this movie, and for everything you can say about Will Smith, his movies make a lot of money. In a time when dollars are made on brand recognition rather than star power, Smith is a rare commodity. 

 Bazmann – You can follow me on Twitter at