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LonesomePolecat

Musicals that DESPERATELY need to be remade...

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I believe one purpose of remaking a great film such as West Side Story is not to make a good film, or a good film better, but to bring a good story up to date with today's social mores and preferences. Essentially, provide something with which our young adults can more easily relate.

 

I would imagine everyone looking like people in today's society as well as using current popular song material. How many times has Romeo and Juliet been adapted or remade - with good results in many cases.. It's a timeless story.

 

That's just my imagination... I would not be interested in a remake either.

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Sadly enough, Steve Spielberg has shown an interest in doing a re-make of the original 1961 film, West Side Story.   Fox has unlocked it for him to do so.  I sincerely hope that the plug gets pulled on this idea and that West Side Story never gets re-made, because it would just cut the heart and soul right out of this film.  If Steve Spielberg has as much affection for this great film as he claims to have, he'll leave well enough alone and not mess with a classic.  I wrote him a letter and told him all my reasons that I think West Side Story should not be re-made.  I didn't get an answer to my letter from Spielberg, but I at least made my opinion known to him, and told him exactly how I felt.

 

Remakes always bring more attention to the original.   I would think that those that love the 1961 version would want more people to view the film.      A remake of the film would lead to that.

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I believe one purpose of remaking a great film such as West Side Story is not to make a good film, or a good film better, but to bring a good story up to date with today's social mores and preferences. Essentially, provide something with which our young adults can more easily relate.

 

I would imagine everyone looking like people in today's society as well as using current popular song material. How many times has Romeo and Juliet been adapted or remade - with good results in many cases.. It's a timeless story.

 

That's just my imagination... I would not be interested in a remake either.

Meh.  More than anything, it shows how bereft of originality Hollywood is.

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Meh.  More than anything, it shows how bereft of originality Hollywood is.

:D

Now that's true. But it's always been true. 

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:D

Now that's true. But it's always been true. 

 

It would be interesting to see an actual study that charted Hollywood film releases over the last 5 or so decades and classified films into certain categories and provided the percentages of films in those categories.

 

The categories could  be 'based on original work,  never filmed before',  based on original work,  filmed before',  or 'a sequel \ prequel' etc..     

 

I was about to give the same reply of 'it's always been true'.    Some actual data to crew on would be interesting to me.  

 

Take 'based on original work,  never filmed before';   well if a book was written in 1980,  of course no film of that book could have been made before 1980.    Has the percentage in this category drastically changed over the years?     Many people assume so but I wonder.

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I chuckled a bit at the notion of West Side Story being wildly original. It was well done, but it was an adaptation of a stage show that itself was a musical remake of a 400 year old Shakespeare play that had previously been filmed multiple times.

 

I'm also surprised no one has mentioned yet the news about the latest remake of A Star is Born, this time to star Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. This appears to be the same script that Clint Eastwood was going to film a couple of years ago, with Beyonce in the lead, along with Cooper, but Clint dropped out when Beyonce did, and Cooper is apparently directing now.

 

And James, I would love to see that info as well. I don't think people realize how many remakes have always been released by Hollywood, as well as multiple films with similar storylines or situations, often in the same weeks or months. The same with trends in regards to literary adaptations. There were years with too many Tennessee Williams films, and too many Love Story style love stories, or too many Grisham-esque legal thrillers, or hard-boiled detectives, etc etc. It's cyclical. It's perhaps more off-putting at the moment, since the trends are superheroes and YA SF & fantasy, but that's the ticket-buying market at the moment, too. It will take one or two big hits in another direction and we'll be on to the next over-exposed trend.

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I chuckled a bit at the notion of West Side Story being wildly original. It was well done, but it was an adaptation of a stage show that itself was a musical remake of a 400 year old Shakespeare play that had previously been filmed multiple times.

 

I'm also surprised no one has mentioned yet the news about the latest remake of A Star is Born, this time to star Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. This appears to be the same script that Clint Eastwood was going to film a couple of years ago, with Beyonce in the lead, along with Cooper, but Clint dropped out when Beyonce did, and Cooper is apparently directing now.

 

And James, I would love to see that info as well. I don't think people realize how many remakes have always been released by Hollywood, as well as multiple films with similar storylines or situations, often in the same weeks or months. The same with trends in regards to literary adaptations. There were years with too many Tennessee Williams films, and too many Love Story style love stories, or too many Grisham-esque legal thrillers, or hard-boiled detectives, etc etc. It's cyclical. It's perhaps more off-putting at the moment, since the trends are superheroes and YA SF & fantasy, but that's the ticket-buying market at the moment, too. It will take one or two big hits in another direction and we'll be on to the next over-exposed trend.

 

Well said.   Yea,  I also understand the off-putting effect at the moment with the superheroes etc.. .but as you note that is just a current trend.

 

Get-TV has been focusing on the crime \ detective type serials of the 40s.   I didn't know there were so many of them.  They appear to have been a big part of Columbia's output during the decade;  e.g.  Lone Wolf,   Boston B-L-A-C-K-I-E,  and The Crime Doctors.   There are around 35 films from these 3 serials alone.    

 

Yea, to view the movie release of West Side Story as an original work is kind of out there.

 

A Star is Born is sound source material.    Why not let a new 'team' use this sound source material and make a movie.    Where I think people get confused is that many interpret that in a way like 'Lady Gaga is no Judy Garland'.    I just don't look at it in this way.    Instead I see folks that recognizes a great story and wish to tell that story from their own POV.     Gaga has a great version of Check to Check with Tony Bennett.   That doesn't mean she is saying she is Ella!    Instead she is just honoring a great song and a previous era.   To me that is showing respect and not disrespect like so many 'old timers' assume.

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Get-TV has been focusing on the crime \ detective type serials of the 40s.   I didn't know there were so many of them.  They appear to have been a big part of Columbia's output during the decade;  e.g.  Lone Wolf,   Boston B-L-A-C-K-I-E,  and The Crime Doctors.   There are around 35 films from these 3 serials alone.    

 

 

Columbia bought the rights to these stories, because most of them were long-running programs on the radio with built-in audiences. Ellery Queen was another one. The other option was to get the rights to comic strip characters like Dick Tracy and develop series around them, which is what RKO did. 

 

Columbia and RKO could make these B film series economically, use plots already devised by previous radio writers and comic strip creators, and get a nice quick return on their investments.

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Take 'based on original work,  never filmed before';   well if a book was written in 1980,  of course no film of that book could have been made before 1980.    Has the percentage in this category drastically changed over the years?     Many people assume so but I wonder.

Interesting post. But realize that even if a book or screenplay was written in 1980 or after, it still could have borrowed substantially from an already existing property. How many times has James Cameron been sued for stealing old copyrighted material...? Some of the so-called original work bandied around Hollywood is not original at all. And I'm not even getting into the gray area known as 'loosely based on' or 'inspired by.'  

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Columbia bought the rights to these stories, because most of them were long-running programs on the radio with built-in audiences. Ellery Queen was another one. The other option was to get the rights to comic strip characters like Dick Tracy, which is what RKO did. 

 

Columbia and RKO could make these B film series economically, use plots already devised by previous radio writers and comic strip creators, and get a nice quick return on their investments.

 

Thanks for the info.     So one could say there was a lack of originally with these serials;  e.g. the movie screenplay was based largely on the plots, and I assume some of the dialog,  of the radio programs.      I'm not saying this as a knock on these serials but as it relates to the point of view we see at threads like this that Hollywood use to be original but no longer is.

 

I'm not saying things haven't changed over the decades but not to the degree many folks assume.     Of course maybe back in the 40s folks around the water cooler were complaining that these serials were just made to make a buck.     I'm having a flashback;  'hey Joe,  I went and saw that latest Boston film and it was so similar to the radio program I use to listen to,,,, I wanted to ask for my 5 cents back".

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I chuckled a bit at the notion of West Side Story being wildly original. It was well done, but it was an adaptation of a stage show that itself was a musical remake of a 400 year old Shakespeare play that had previously been filmed multiple times.

And many of Shakespeare's plays are said to be drawn off the works of earlier dramatists. So even the Bard's tale of the woe that came to Juliet and her Romeo may not have been very original.

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Thanks for the info.     So one could say there was a lack of originally with these serials;  e.g. the movie screenplay was based largely on the plots, and I assume some of the dialog,  of the radio programs.      I'm not saying this as a knock on these serials but as it relates to the point of view we see at threads like this that Hollywood use to be original but no longer is.

 

I'm not saying things haven't changed over the decades but not to the degree many folks assume.     Of course maybe back in the 40s folks around the water cooler were complaining that these serials were just made to make a buck.     I'm having a flashback;  'hey Joe,  I went and saw that latest Boston film and it was so similar to the radio program I use to listen to,,,, I wanted to ask for my 5 cents back".

I think the movie studios got away with it more back then, because while they were technically doing remakes of radio or comic strip stories, they were adapting the material for an audience that wanted to see it up on the big screen. Plus a voice actor on a radio show might have been good, but he was no Chester Morris or Richard Dix-- and the audience wanted to see these stories re-enacted with bonafide movie stars. 

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Another aspect that may make the recent spate of remakes/reboots/sequels more grating to some viewers is that in the old days, they often tried to hide it, while now they revel in it. Frequently in the past, a remake would have a new title, with little to no acknowledgment that it even was a remake, and some studios even went about trying to suppress or outright destroy previous versions of their remakes. Sequels or series films also rarely had titles to reflect their status, beyond the repetition of the main character's name. You rarely saw a "Part 2" or "I, II, III".

 

Nowadays, they make sure you know about the previous versions, often re-releasing the older versions on new DVD's/Blu Rays/format of your choice, and the films themselves often have callbacks in the story to the older film or cameos with some previous cast members. It's more of a wallow in nostalgia and pandering to familiarity than an attempt to tell the story in a new way or "update it for a new generation".

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Another aspect that may make the recent spate of remakes/reboots/sequels more grating to some viewers is that in the old days, they often tried to hide it, while now they revel in it. Frequently in the past, a remake would have a new title, with little to no acknowledgment that it even was a remake, and some studios even went about trying to suppress or outright destroy previous versions of their remakes. Sequels or series films also rarely had titles to reflect their status, beyond the repetition of the main character's name. You rarely saw a "Part 2" or "I, II, III".

Totally agree. Even entries in long-running B film series were sometimes renamed to make it seem like they were new and not a recycled concept. The last movie in RKO's Scattergood Baines series with Guy Kibbee was called CINDERELLA SWINGS IT, to imply it was about a young female, when it was actually yet another picture with Kibbee's character. And one of the Crime Doctor films was given a title that did not even refer to the main character. I am speaking about THE MILLERSON CASE, where Warner Baxter was once again cast as Dr. Robert Ordway. The studios and their marketing departments were trying to hide the redundancy of selling the same stories and characters to the public.

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As I read all these posts, it tickles me because everyone is essentially right in their own way. My belief is that Hollywood, like everything and everyone, has fallen victim to "progress". What were once great studios with great star potential and talented writers have gone the way of so many things in the name of progress. Studios merged, true "star-quality" diminished, plagiarism won out over originality, and then came hundreds of independent filmmakers and movie producers. Leave us not forget the invention of television as well. There are just too many contributing factors to list, but they all fall under the heading of "progress". We all know it is much easier to remake than originate. Don't get me wrong, there are hundreds of films that should be remade and just as many that never should have been produced in the first place. Since Hollywood began, there has always been the apparent need to transpose the written word (novels, radio show transcripts, comic books, etc.) into film. Unfortunately that process was left in the hands of screen writers and a little thing called "interpretation". Being human, no two screenwriters interpret the same material the same way...just as it is today. There are an indeterminable number of reasons to remake a film (many of which have been discussed thus far on this forum) which leads me to believe that remakes have their own place in the natural order of the universe. My conclusion is that there will always be progress and there will always be movie remakes...whatever the reasoning. :rolleyes:

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As I read all these posts, it tickles me because everyone is essentially right in their own way. My belief is that Hollywood, like everything and everyone, has fallen victim to "progress". What were once great studios with great star potential and talented writers have gone the way of so many things in the name of progress. Studios merged, true "star-quality" diminished, plagiarism won out over originality, and then came hundreds of independent filmmakers and movie producers. Leave us not forget the invention of television as well. There are just too many contributing factors to list, but they all fall under the heading of "progress". We all know it is much easier to remake than originate. Don't get me wrong, there are hundreds of films that should be remade and just as many that never should have been produced in the first place. Since Hollywood began, there has always been the apparent need to transpose the written word (novels, radio show transcripts, comic books, etc.) into film. Unfortunately that process was left in the hands of screen writers and a little thing called "interpretation". Being human, no two screenwriters interpret the same material the same way...just as it is today. There are an indeterminable number of reasons to remake a film (many of which have been discussed thus far on this forum) which leads me to believe that remakes have their own place in the natural order of the universe. My conclusion is that there will always be progress and there will always be movie remakes...whatever the reasoning. :rolleyes:

 

Rarely is a film remade.   Instead a new team (producers,  screenwriters, director),   take source material (e.g. a book),  and make their version \ interpretation of that source.     New films are a remake of a prior film only in the minds of those that have seen the prior film version of said source material.   

 

e.g.  I didn't know the 41 Huston \ Bogie version of The Maltese Falcon was a 'remake' since that film was the first interpretation of the book I saw.     Therefore I didn't watch the film as a 'remake'.     Later on I saw the 31 version and the Bette Davis one and my viewing of those films was tainted by me seeing the 41 version first.

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They already remade *South Pacific*, and it is so horrible, it makes the original film look like the greatest movie ever made.

 

There's been some talk of remaking *My Fair Lady*, and I welcome that. I hate the original film, for all sorts of reasons.

In regards to My Fair Lady, are you referring to the 1938 original with Leslie Howard or the 1964 version with Rex Harrison?

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In regards to My Fair Lady, are you referring to the 1938 original with Leslie Howard or the 1964 version with Rex Harrison?

 

My Fair Lady is NOT a remake of the Howard film Pygmalion  (instead that British film is a remake of previous German and Dutch films .    Instead the film version of My Fair Lady is based on the popular play that made Julie Andrews famous.      

 

Yes,  both are based on the same Shaw play but the musical play is so different from the Shaw play that I don't see how one could call that a remake.   In fact Shaw prevented a musical from being made from his play which is why a musical wasn't done until after his death.  

 

As it goes for the Hepburn movie version;    This has been discussed often and those that were lucky enough to see Andrews on stage,  say the film pales in comparison.

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You might be right about that. However right now I don't care about how much of an accomplishment it is. I'd just rather watch the better version before the weaker adaptation. Maybe after I've watched both of them I'd be more inclined to discuss the actual accomplishment or lack thereof.

Porgy and Bess is somewhat of an anomaly when it comes to operas. There have been so many adaptations since its original Broadway debut in 1935 (with Todd Duncan and Anne Brown) which lasted 124 performances.at over 4 hours in length. The show went on tour from Jan to Mar 1937, ending in Washington, D.C. where it was credited with being the first ever integrated audience at a performance in that venue. A drastically cut version was revived in 1942 with the original cast. Brown was replaced by Etta Moten, whom Ira Gershwin wanted to begin with, and ran for 9 months with a much better reception and actually made money.  Ran in Europe in 1943 with an all-white cast in black-face for 22 sold out performances until the Nazis shut them down. There have been tons of stage productions through the years and continuing to present day...some you can even view online.

    Sorry for my long-winded way of getting to my point (Bi-Polar you know) which concerns the 1959 Otto Preminger adaptation. Although it won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a Grammy, none were for acting. Although they had an amazing cast of dramatic actors and actresses, not one of them could sing. This was an opera for gosh sake!!! Any avid movie musical fan will tell you that lip-syncing, if not performed perfectly, can kill the whole experience. It definitely warranted merit in the area of acting however, in my opinion, it fell short in the musical production department.

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If ever there was a film that required no remake, it's the superb WEST SIDE STORY.  Spielberg imagines he's a better director than he is.  There is no shortage of poorly made film versions of Broadway shows that could stand to be remade (A CHORUS LINE, ANNIE, MAN OF LA MANCHA and others), or how about Broadway shows that were never made into a film (CARNIVAL!, RAGTIME, PROMISES, PROMISES and many others)?  Why waste time on a perfectly made classic film?  It will bomb, that's for sure.

 

You're absolutely spot-on about this, Johnm001!  Steve Spielberg has done a number of awesome films, but it's agreed that West Side Story is definitely a film that should not be remade!  West Side Story is a classic that is what it is, and should definitely be left alone.  If Steve Spielberg has that much affection for the film West Side Story, he'll abandon the idea of re-making it and leave it alone!  Ever heard the expression  "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"?  That applies here, perfectly!

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   I would think that those that love the 1961 version would want more people to view the film.      A remake of the film would lead to that.

 

Really?  How so?

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I believe one purpose of remaking a great film such as West Side Story is not to make a good film, or a good film better, but to bring a good story up to date with today's social mores and preferences. Essentially, provide something with which our young adults can more easily relate.

 

I would imagine everyone looking like people in today's society as well as using current popular song material. How many times has Romeo and Juliet been adapted or remade - with good results in many cases.. It's a timeless story.

 

That's just my imagination... I would not be interested in a remake either.

 

What would be so wonderful about bringing an already-great classic such as the film West Side Story up to date with today's musical and social mores and preferences?  I stand by my position that the best way to introduce this great classic to younger generations is to introduce the film West Side Story just as it is, by re-releasing it into the movie theatres.

 

Isn't it funny that my generation (Baby-boom) never demanded that older movies get re-made in order to fit our musical and social mores and preferences?    This generation smacks of hypocrisy, at times.

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Really?  How so?

 

Remakes always bring attention to prior film versions.     Most people have seen very few films made before they were born (us folks that are fans of TCM are rare and odd birds of a feather).    Therefore most people don't even know a film is a 'remake'  (that there has been prior versions), unless someone tells them this.     When a film that is a remake is mentioned in the media prior versions are mentioned as well.   This lead to more people being aware of prior versions.

 

The Meg Ryan remake of The Women is a good example;   My wife had a lot of friends in their 40s that saw the film and after they became aware of the great Crawford\Sheer version many rented that one.    If there wasn't a remake these women would have never been interested in seeing an 'old' movie.

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The biggest bombs on screen where the biggest hits when on stage.  A second chance is due for  Chorus Line,  Mame,  A Little Night Music and Man of La Mancha.

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Remakes always bring attention to prior film versions.    

 

I agree. And this applies to Hollywood remakes of foreign films. When I see something like SCARLET STREET, which I love very much-- it makes me curious how the earlier French version LA CHIENNE was made (without production code restrictions).

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