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The Guardian (29/Dec/2003) - Hollywood embarks on 39 Steps programme

(c) The Guardian (29/Dec/2003)

Hollywood embarks on 39 Steps programme

It's a classic film with huge stars and one of the most famous directors of all time, but it looks like that isn't enough for Hollywood. They are keen to make a "contemporary" version of The 39 Steps.

Variety reports that Robert Towne, the much respected writer of Chinatown and Mission Impossible 3 has made an agreement to write and direct an updated version of the famous thriller.

"It's not much of an exaggeration to say that all contemporary escapist entertainment begins with The 39 Steps," Towne told Variety. "I look forward to having it in my future.

Some argue that Hollywood has run out of original ideas. This latest remake may well support that theory, as The 39 Steps has been already been turned into three films.

The most famous version is the 1935 adaptation, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, who named it as one of his favourite pictures. Based on a novel by John Buchan, this film is a classic spy thriller, brilliantly acted by Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Peggy Ashcroft and John Laurie.

Kenneth More starred in a 1959 version of the film, while Robert Powell and David Warner were the stars of the 1978 attempt.