Alfred Hitchcock is known in history as the most prolific film director. Hitchcock directed over 70 films and shorts at the beginning of his career in 1922 and appeared in 39 projects. His career spanned 45 years and earned him six nominations for an Academy Award. When Hitchcock died in 1980, it was believed that any movie he wanted to make had been made.
That is not the case, however. He tried for more than a decade to make a film based on George Blake, the famous spy. The only reason he ended up not making the film was his failing health.
George Blake, who was he?
George Blake was, easy and pure, a double agent.
Blake was stationed in South Korea in the 1950s as a part of British intelligence.
He was arrested during his deployment and held as a prisoner of war. He started to work for the military when he returned to Britain.
Blake secretly supplied the Soviet Union with classified information, however.
Blake led a reasonably normal life, according to NPR, while he served as a spy. He married, had children, and for more than a decade he remained undetected.
Blake was subsequently arrested, charged and sentenced to over 40 years in jail.
However, Blake fled to Russia five years after his arrest, where he lived the remainder of his life.
Blake died at the age of 98 in December 2020.
Blake was hailed as a hero in Russia and built a second family in his later life, according to the New York Times.
For his Blake film, Alfred Hitchcock scoured locations and hired screenwriters
Hitchcock was determined to use the real-life spy as a feature film inspiration. In the late 1960s, Hitchcock opted for a spy thriller with the novel “The Short Night” and the non-fiction book “The Springing of George Blake” The conspiracy ostensibly revolved around an escaped spy pursued by a CIA agent.
While waiting for the spy to arrive, the agent falls in love with the spy’s wife.
Eventually, the spy escapes to the Soviet Union on a train.
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Reportedly, Hitchcock was so interested in the film that he scanned locations in Finland where the film could be filmed. He was accompanied on this trip by his wife, Alma Hitchcock, and they scanned out many possible locations to film.
Hitchcock engaged several screenwriters from 1967 to 1979 to collaborate on a screenplay for him.
Hitchcock left the project and all other programs in 1980,
The untitled project would possibly have been the last one for Hitchcock. Currently, when he eventually decided to give up his job and walk away, it was the project he was working on.
According to The Hitchcock Report, by late 1979, progress on the project had slowed down, and by early 1980, he was prepared to admit that he was no longer able to produce films.
In early 1980, he left his office at Universal Studios and died a couple of months later of kidney failure. It was only a month before his death that he made his last public appearance, in March 1980.
While drafts of the film script exist, the screenplay for the untitled George Blake film was never completed.