nabokov and hitchcock

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In late 1964, Alfred Hitchcock approached Nabokov with the idea of having him provide the story for for a future film project. In a letter dated 19 November, Hitchock includes two outlines for possible movie scenarios, one a rather conventional spy thriller, the other involving a young girl enmeshed in a hotel run be her crooked relatives, apparently neither of which appealed to Nabokov. He responded on 28 November with a few ideas of his own, including this one:

“A girl, a rising star of not quite the first magnitude, is courted by a budding astronaut. She is slightly condescending to him; has an affair with him but may have other lovers, or lover, at the same time. One day he is sent on the first expedition to a distant star; goes there and makes a successful return. Their positions now have changed. He is the most famous man in the country while her starrise has come to a stop at a moderate level. She is only too glad to have him now, but soon realizes that he is not the same as he was before his flight. She cannot make out what the change is. Time goes, and she becomes concerened, then frightened, then panicky. I have more than one interesting denoument for this plot.”

Hitchcock replied that the story was not in his genre, and it does seem more of an idea for an episode of The Twilight Zone. Still, it is intriguing to imagine how such a story would develop when fleshed out by Nabokov and made into a film by Hitchcock.

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