Remake of a classic: is it really necessary?

Gus Van Sant remade Psycho in 1998, with the bold casting of Vince Vaughn, better known for comedies, in the role of Norman Bates. The director didn’t want to change anything from the 1960s classic, one of Alfred Hitchcock‘s greatest successes: sequences and dialogues were kept as in the original, and – unsurprisingly – it was a flop. Maybe that’s why I reacted with skepticism to the news that there will be a remake of the most perfect of the English director’s films: Vertigo. Is it really necessary?

Reshoot rights have been purchased by Robert Downey Jr., who is set to star in the role that James Stewart immortalized 65 years ago. The good news is that the project is in the super capable hands of Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders and Spencer), one of the best screenwriters working. Steven, by the way, is highly requested because he is working on the film about Maria Callas, Maria, to be starred by Angelina Jolie and is also taking care of a “Star Wars not yet announced”.

In Vertigo, retired detective John “Scottie” Ferguson (James Stewart) was removed from his duties after failing to prevent the death of a colleague when he suffered a vertigo attack that paralyzed him. A friend who hasn’t seen him for a long time hires him to follow his wife, Madeleine (Kim Novak), who is in a process of depression (or possession). Gradually, Scottie becomes obsessed with her, but once again his Vertigo prevents him from saving her when she climbs the tower of a Spanish mission and jumps to her death. Months later, he meets a woman who is Madeleine’s spitting image and their relationship becomes an unhealthy rehash of the past, until secrets from the past come back to haunt him.

Today on the list of one of the 100 best films ever made, the complexity of the story provoked mixed reactions in 1958, and it only became recognized as a “masterpiece” in the 1980s.

Particularly, I don’t see where it can be revised or even less, redone. But it will be something to keep track of.

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