An Alfred Hitchcock Movie Went Unmade Because of Walt Disney
Throughout his career, Alfred Hitchcock created dozens of movies and gained a reputation as one of the most influential filmmakers of all time. He directed several dozen films, but there’s one that never reached audiences. A Hitchcock film called The Blind Man sputtered out, due in part to Walt Disney.
Alfred Hitchcock was at the height of his career after ‘Psycho’
By 1960, Hitchcock had established himself as one of the period’s foremost directors. He began working in the film industry in the 1920s and rose steadily in prominence throughout the next several decades. In the 1950s, Hitchcock hit his peak. The “Master of Suspense” put out several movies which frequently rank as the greatest of all time.
In 1954, Hitchcock released Rear Window starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly. Four years later, he had another classic on his hands with Vertigo. In 1959 and 1960, Hitchcock released North by Northwest and Psycho. Releasing four of his top films in this brief period lifted him to unprecedented success.
An Alfred Hitchcock movie went unmade because of Walt Disney
Fresh off the luminous success of Psycho, Hitchcock began to work on a new screenplay with famous screenwriter and North by Northwest collaborator Ernest Lehman. According to Penguin, their film was The Blind Man.
In The Blind Man, a blind jazz pianist receives an eye transplant only discover that his new eyes came from a murdered man. The image of the man’s killer is seared into the pianist’s vision, so he attempts to track the murderer down before he kills again. Hitchcock initially wanted Jimmy Stewart in the title role, but the actor could not commit due to his busy schedule.
Ultimately, Stewart’s unavailability was the least of Hitchcock’s problems. Initially, Hitchcock and Lehman planned for a suspenseful chase scene in the midst of a carnival at Disneyland. Walt Disney had other ideas. According to the book Hitch: The Life and Times of Alfred Hitchcock by John Russell Taylor, Disney was disgusted by Psycho and did not want his park associated with the famed director.
Disney “promptly made a statement that in no circumstances would Hitchcock, maker of that disgusting movie Psycho, would be allowed to shoot a foot of film in Disneyland.”
Hitchcock and Lehman could not work through the ensuing plot snag, and Lehman dropped out of the project. Hitchcock ultimately shelved the film.
Several other Hitchcock movies never came to fruition
The Blind Man isn’t Hitchock’s only film that didn’t become a finished product. Over the course of his career, Hitchcock dealt with multiple stalled projects. Per IMDb, the movie that was meant to be Hitchcock’s directorial debut, Number 13, ran out of funding after they completed just two reels of film. Hitchcock later explained that it was no great loss, as the film wasn’t that interesting.
Hitchcock was planning to release the film No Bail for the Judge starring Audrey Hepburn in 1959. Ultimately, Hepburn pulled out of the project, and it didn’t move forward. Hitchcock recovered quickly, though, releasing Psycho the following year.