The Bramble Bush
After completing I Confess (1953), Hitchcock intended The Bramble Bush to be the next Transatlantic Pictures production. Based on the 1948 novel by David Duncan, the story tells of a disaffected Communist agitator who, on the run from the police, is forced to adopt the identity of a murder suspect.
To Truffaut, Hitchcock described it as:
...the story of a man who stole another man's passport without knowing that the passport owner was wanted for murder.
In the autumn of 1952, Hitchcock worked with writer George Tabori to develop a script but the result wasn't to the director's satisfaction. William Archibald began working on a new script but pressure from Warner Bros, coupled with the slow speed of development, meant that Hitchcock started to consider dropping it for an alternative project.
With Transatlantic in debt, Sidney Bernstein decided to resign in early 1953 which meant The Bramble Bush would become a Warner property. However, the studio wasn't keen on the project and wanted Hitchcock to instead make a film in 3D — the director eventually selected Dial M for Murder.
In his biography of Hitchcock, John Russell Taylor stated:
He had a pet subject in mind, a book by Francis Iles (author of the novel on which Suspicion was based) about a timid country doctor who murders his wife — a perfect role, he felt, for Alec Guinness. But before that he intended to make The Bramble Bush, a David Duncan story Warners owned the rights to about a man who steals another man’s identity in Mexico, only to discover that the man he has become is wanted for murder — a very similar idea to that eventually filmed by Antonioni in The Passenger, Hitch liked the subject, and put in a lot of work on the scripting, but somehow could never contrive to get a satisfactory script out of it, and finally gave it up as a bad job.
Notes & References
- Hitch: The Life and Times of Alfred Hitchcock (1978) by John Russell Taylor, chapter 12