The Day Christ Died
In an interview published in the 12th December 1960 issue of Film Bulletin, 20th Century Fox studio executive Darryl F. Zanuck talked about various projects, including an adaptation of Jim Bishop's novel The Day Christ Died (published in 1957).
Perhaps, one of the touchiest, most provocative themes Zanuck has seized upon is "The Day Christ Died" (script by Paul Gallico, book by Jim Bishop), which he plans to put into production in February. He has some unusual plans for that one too: "I am planning to show that day in the context of a simple and powerful suspense-murder mystery. No spectacle: I would like to get either Alfred Hitchcock or Georges Clouzet to direct it. Jesus, although the central character, is not the most important role in it. The important roles will be those of Judas, Pilate and the Temple priests. There will be no crucifixion, either — I did that, as you may remember, before in 'The Robe'."
Ever since Hitchcock made Lifeboat for the studio, Zanuck had been keen to make another film with the director. The Day Christ Died was just one of several potential 20th Century projects linked to Hitchcock following the completion of Psycho (1960), including Village of Stars and Trap for a Solitary Man.
In an interview with the New York Times (03/Dec/1960), Zanuck stated that he wanted either Hitchcock or Henri-Georges Clouzot to direct the film and that it would be filmed in southern Italy as a "black-and-white suspense story about a group of people who commit a murder. The victim happens to be Christ."
Ultimately, the studio didn't adapt the book immediately and it was eventually made into a TV-movie screened in 1980, directed by James Cellan Jones.