The BBC has announced three new unique radio dramas for October. Continuing its Unmade Movies series, BBC Radio Four is bringing three unmade movie works from this trinity of 20th Century cinema’s gods. As well as Orson Welles 1939 adaptation for Joseph Conrad’s Hearts of Darkness (starring James McAvoy and Jamie Lloyd) and Arthur Miller’s The Hook (starring David Suchet and Tim Pigott Smith) this new strand of dramas also presents Alfred Hitchcock’s The Blind Man.
“To discover an unmade screenplay of the calibre of any of these is a find in itself, but to unearth three is little short of a miracle. I hope our audience will agree that being offered these three masterpieces on consecutive Saturdays is a massive treat. Get yourself a long drink, a bucket of popcorn, and sit back and enjoy the cream of Hollywood in its heyday – three brand spanking new stories from Arthur Miller, Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles.”
Jeremy Howe, BBC Radio 4 drama commissioner
Fresh off the success of North by Northwest, Alfred Hitchcock and co-writer Ernest Lehman worked on screenplay for The Blind Man. “Set in 1961” and “the story of a famous blind jazz pianist who agrees to an eye transplant” (BBC Press Room), the adaptation stars Hugh Laurie (House) and is adapted and directed by film scholar (and Catching Bullets foreword writer Mr Mark Gatiss).
Ernest Lehman was one of the genius scribes of the silver screen. Not only is North By Northwest one of the unspoken templates for the whole Bond movie launch in 1962, Lehman’s CV includes the not-inconsequential The Sound of Music, Sabrina, Sweet Smell of Success, The King and I, Hello Dolly, West Side Story and Hitchcock’s final film as director – 1976’s Family Plot.
Completed with the full consent of Hitchcock’s three granddaughters and Hitch consultant Laurent Bouzereau, the unfinished The Blind Man was first discovered in a research institute in Texas alongside plentiful notes, letters and exchanges between Hitch and Lehman. Gatiss has now completed writing the screenplay and has now adapted it for the BBC and the Unmade Movies series. It will air (appropriately maybe) on Halloween, Saturday October 31st.
“The first time I read Ernest Lehman’s script of The Blind Man, it was like finding a pre-war Bugatti in a barn. We swept off some of the chicken droppings, cranked the handle, and it started first time. It was a thrill and a delight to be involved.”
The Blind Man
BBC Radio Four
Saturday October 31st 2015
A Feelgood Production / BBC