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Originals & Remakes?


sewhite2000
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How do the rest of you feel about the practice of airing a movie followed by its remake, which TCM did twice in succession last night and seems to do with some regularity? The month you're most likely to witness this programming practice is December, where it seems to have become a matter of routine for the network to show the RKO and MGM versions of LITTLE WOMEN back-to-back, THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER followed by IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME and at least two versions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL/SCROOGE. I think last December, they actually showed THREE versions of SCROOGE in succession, and somehow I managed to sit through about two and a half of them. And it doesn't just have to be Christmas movies. Pretty sure there have been nights when TCM has aired two versions of the SADIE THOMPSON or the ANNA KARENINA stories back-to-back.

 

Personally, I'm less than thrilled when TCM opts to do this, particularly when the two films are as similar as THE CRIMINAL CODE and CONVICTED were last night. After watching CODE, I turned the TV off after only 27 minutes of CONVICTED after seeing the latter was following the former scene for scene, heck, practically line of dialogue for line of dialogue. Both films began with two squabbling cops so wrapped up in their argument they can barely feign interest in the manslaughter case they're investigating - in CODE, they're arguing over whether one owes the other money in a card game; in CONVICTED, over whether modern-day baseball players compare to the legendary names of the past. The girl in the nightclub whose presence leads to the fatal fight is called Bertie in one film and Gertie in the other - all they could change from one movie to the next was one letter in her name! The very strong similarities continued.

 

Had I stayed up late enough to watch the Muni and Pacino versions of SCARFACE, which were made 50 years apart, I think I could have handled that, because while those two filmsthematically similar, there are enough differences between the two storylines to hold my interest. But surely, the writer(s) of CONVICTED must have had a copy of the CRIMINAL CODE screenplay on his/her desk, because it's almost more than a remake - it's what I would call a "redo" or "re-creation".

 

If I'm going to invest enough time to watch two movies on TCM, I prefer to have the variety of completely different storylines.  On the other hand, I can understand the pleasure some people might get out of examining the minute differences between two incredibly similar movies by watching them in immediate succession. But that's a pleasure I would rather discover by seeing those two movies in completely different weeks or months or years, rather than seeing them back-to-back.

 

How do the rest of you feel about it?

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I found Criminal Code back to back with Convicted very interesting.  Despite the scene-for-scene similarity, there was such difference in tone and atmosphere.  The prison atmosphere in the first film is much harsher; in some ways, the earlier movie is much more brutal.  I also found the Philip Holmes character more sympathetic than Glenn Ford.  There's a haunted quality about him almost from the beginning.  Finally, give me Walter Huston over Broderick Crawford any day.  Huston is the superior actor.  Plus, Boris Karloff is much scarier than Millard Mitchell.

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How do the rest of you feel about the practice of airing a movie followed by its remake, which TCM did twice in succession last night and seems to do with some regularity? The month you're most likely to witness this programming practice is December, where it seems to have become a matter of routine for the network to show the RKO and MGM versions of LITTLE WOMEN back-to-back, THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER followed by IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME and at least two versions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL/SCROOGE. I think last December, they actually showed THREE versions of SCROOGE in succession, and somehow I managed to sit through about two and a half of them. And it doesn't just have to be Christmas movies. Pretty sure there have been nights when TCM has aired two versions of the SADIE THOMPSON or the ANNA KARENINA stories back-to-back.

 

Personally, I'm less than thrilled when TCM opts to do this, particularly when the two films are as similar as THE CRIMINAL CODE and CONVICTED were last night. After watching CODE, I turned the TV off after only 27 minutes of CONVICTED after seeing the latter was following the former scene for scene, heck, practically line of dialogue for line of dialogue. Both films began with two squabbling cops so wrapped up in their argument they can barely feign interest in the manslaughter case they're investigating - in CODE, they're arguing over whether one owes the other money in a card game; in CONVICTED, over whether modern-day baseball players compare to the legendary names of the past. The girl in the nightclub whose presence leads to the fatal fight is called Bertie in one film and Gertie in the other - all they could change from one movie to the next was one letter in her name! The very strong similarities continued.

 

Had I stayed up late enough to watch the Muni and Pacino versions of SCARFACE, which were made 50 years apart, I think I could have handled that, because while those two filmsthematically similar, there are enough differences between the two storylines to hold my interest. But surely, the writer(s) of CONVICTED must have had a copy of the CRIMINAL CODE screenplay on his/her desk, because it's almost more than a remake - it's what I would call a "redo" or "re-creation".

 

If I'm going to invest enough time to watch two movies on TCM, I prefer to have the variety of completely different storylines.  On the other hand, I can understand the pleasure some people might get out of examining the minute differences between two incredibly similar movies by watching them in immediate succession. But that's a pleasure I would rather discover by seeing those two movies in completely different weeks or months or years, rather than seeing them back-to-back.

 

How do the rest of you feel about it?

I think it's a good idea. The opportunity for immediate comparison is very educational.

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Generally I like the idea of back-to-backs, as long as they're far enough apart in time and/or cast so that they don't just seem like carbon copies.  The Criminal Code and Convicted were marginal, since the Ford version is so weak, but for movies like Scarface, Waterloo Bridge, A Star Is Born (the first three, but not the Streisand),  The Maltese Falcon (with Satan Met a Lady and the Bogart, not the 1931 version), I like the idea of showing one after the other.  Makes it easier to get them both on the same DVD, if nothing else. B)

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I couldn't care less if a remake is run immediately after an original. I just wish to high heaven that TCM would give us 'Stagecoach' (1966) to watch for a change.

 

And while I'm on the subject, I'd very much like TCM to run 'The Postman Always Rings Twice' (1981) for once as well.

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I couldn't care less if a remake is run immediately after an original. I just wish to high heaven that TCM would give us 'Stagecoach' (1966) to watch for a change.

 

And while I'm on the subject, I'd very much like TCM to run 'The Postman Always Rings Twice' (1981) for once as well.

These guys won't even show Jaws 2 which does have alotta good moments because of Roy Scheider.  :)

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Not opposed to it as long as they say it is a remake.  Could do this in Now Playing for example.

One factor is a movie made in 1930's or 40's vs. remake made in 70's or later.  Directors had a lot more latitude in what they could or could not do in later versions.

For example, 1942's The Falcon Takes Over, 1944's Murder My Sweet and 1975's Farewell My Lovely are all based on Raymond Chandler's novel Farewell My Lovely.  IMO, the '75 version with Robert Mitchum is the best of the three.

On the other hand, showing a remake of a movie made within past five years is doubtful unless the first one was terrible.

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These guys won't even show Jaws 2 which does have alotta good moments because of Roy Scheider.  :)

 

THE FOLLOWING IS JUST MHO....

 

Unfortunately, many recent movie sequels have not been nearly as well received as older sequels. Case in point: The film you brought up.

 

Jaws II

 

No where near as good as the original. Once we had the original film we all knew that any other film based on the original film would be jet another rehash of the same story, or at least an off-shoot of the same story. I mean, come on. Who in their right mind would think that another great white shark would invade the same community that had fought another shark just a few years before?

 

The second film and the other sequels made little sense except to try and recapture lost expenditures from the first film. The same is true with the Rocky series. Oh, I’ll admit that the first two sequels were fun. But that series should have ended after #2.

 

Now some have indicated that the original Star Trek film from 1979 had little to do with the other films in the franchise, and they would be correct. Except for the redesign of the starship Enterprise, not much was carried over to the other films in that series.

 

In fact Star Trek II, III, and IV were really part of a trilogy, with V and VI meant as separate entries with their own story lines. When they filmed II, I am sure they were not really sure that a story could be developed showcasing the cast in a further adventure within the same story arch. But they succeeded. II was successful as was IV. Up until the reboot of Star Trek in 2009, IV was the most finically successful of the first six films with the original cast.

 

The other series that was butchered was the original Batman films with Michael Keaton as Batman/Bruce Wayne. Unfortunately for the producers, Warner Brothers felt that Batman turns, the second film starring Keaton was not as financially good as the first one so they decided to take the series in a different direction. Tim Burton was replaced as director with the flamboyant Joel Schumacher (Burton was retain in a producer status), but Keaton did not like the new direction so he bowed out and was replaced by Val Kilmer. A shame really, because of all the actors who have portrayed Batman on screen he and Christian Bale have been the best IMHO.

 

Another film series that needed to end after the sequel was the Planet of the Apes film starting off with the original blockbuster from 1968 starring Charlton Heston this series should have been killed off after the second film starring James Fransciscus.

 

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Star Wars movies are I think even called prequels and sequels, it had gotten so bad. So I agree on the sequels part but a remake and a sequel are kind of different entities, as Spock would say. The sequels became the marketing precursor to the never ending continuous series now like Harry Potter, Transformers, comic book movies, etc.

 

That huge flop John Carter was expected to be another long series of movies that they had already counted the money on, until the movie came out and flopped, lol. Shorter ideas are now drawn out to last multiple movies like the Lord of The Rings prequel starting with Unexpected Journey, etc.

 

Some of the remakes are almost exact shot for shot scenes redone and those are not good unless the movie itself is great enough. High Sierra comes to mind. Others like Scarface are very different. I still have to watch my copy of 1995 Kiss Of Death remake, everyone has already seen by now 1991 Cape Fear too.

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I would like to see The Devil Is a Woman (Von Sternberg) and That Obscure Object of Desire (Bunuel) back to back. They're both based on the same novel -- The Woman and the Puppet, which is also the basis for two silent films and an Egyptian film. I'd like to see a whole evening of these films. As Dietrich says of The Devil Is a Woman: "I was never more beautiful."

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"Harry Porter" and "The Lord of the Rings" are both based on a series of books.  The problem is when film makes try to manufacture a trilogy out of thin air or keep rehashing the same plot over and over again- like "Transformers"  But it is interesting to see the original/remake back to back.

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Star Wars movies are I think even called prequels and sequels, it had gotten so bad. So I agree on the sequels part but a remake and a sequel are kind of different entities, as Spock would say. The sequels became the marketing precursor to the never ending continuous series now like Harry Potter, Transformers, comic book movies, etc.

 

That huge flop John Carter was expected to be another long series of movies that they had already counted the money on, until the movie came out and flopped, lol. Shorter ideas are now drawn out to last multiple movies like the Lord of The Rings prequel starting with Unexpected Journey, etc.

 

Some of the remakes are almost exact shot for shot scenes redone and those are not good unless the movie itself is great enough. High Sierra comes to mind. Others like Scarface are very different. I still have to watch my copy of 1995 Kiss Of Death remake, everyone has already seen by now 1991 Cape Fear too.

 

But Hollywood has been doing this (sequels) since it started.   e.g. the Thin Man series.    The goal in making a movie is to make money.   If a sequel makes money then it was wise to make that sequel.   When should producers end a series of sequels;  when they no longer make money.      It has always been this way and will continue to be this way in a for-profit society.

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I like the original "Plane of the Apes" better because its a paradox. Zira and Cornelius are not only the last of their kind but the "Adam and Eve" of the apes. Prevent Charlton Heston going forward or Zira and Cornelius from going back in time, the intelligent apes will cease to exist. 

 

EscapefromthePlanetoftheApes1.jpg

 

The new prequels don't make sense because that is not how the intelligent apes came into being on that 3 mooned alternate "Earth" in the 2001 film or the alternate 1 moon Earth.

 

In this Youtube clip, notice that the apes are living on an Earth that is not destroyed and have the same technology as we do. Would have been interesting to see how man fit in on the alternate Earth.

 

 

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The new "Planet of the Ape" series can be seen as different origin story-it's ceartingly a major improvement on Tim Burton's dissapointing re-make of the original movie/novel.

 

Tim Burton did a good mind twister on the 2001 version.  Any prequels or possible sequels should have reflected on that.  I don't like the subliminal message in "Rise of the Planet of The Apes" which is trying to find a cure for Alzheimer's can have devastating results.

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I personally don't mind especially if I enjoyed one or both of the remakes.  I can see why TCM would do this, it allows viewers to compare the two films and see a different take on the story. To me, remakes are justified if the filmmakers do something different with the story (even if I don't agree with what it is that is being remade-- some films are just sacred to me, I don't want to see it redone).  See the new Footloose and The Karate Kid for example of remakes that I refuse to watch.

 

In the case of literature made into films, Little Women, Shakespeare, Dickens, etc. I don't think these are remakes so much as different versions. 

 

Personally for me, no version of A Christmas Carol can beat The Muppets' Christmas Carol

 

A while ago, they aired Red Dust and Mogambo back to back-- with Clark Gable playing the same role in both films.  It is interesting to see Gable playing the same role in two films 21 years apart from one another.  Personally, I find Red Dust more interesting than Mogambo.  However, it's been awhile since I've seen both, I think I'd need to watch both again in order for me to really make a bold comparison between the two.

 

Then there is Gus Van Sant's shot by shot remake of Psycho.  Personally, I don't see the reason why this remake needed to be redone.  Vince Vaughn is just not as good a Norman Bates as Anthony Perkins. 

 

In the 30s, there were a lot of remakes of silent films and pre-code films.  For example, the 1938 The Dawn Patrol is a remake of the 1930 The Dawn Patrol.  Since the 1938 film stars my beloved Errol Flynn, I just cannot imagine liking it's predecessor.  The later 'Dawn Patrol' I believe even reused footage from the original film. 

 

Then, there are the two Father of the Brides.  The first one stars Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor and the second is with Steve Martin and Diane Keaton.  Personally, I've seen both and I prefer the remake.  This may partly be due to the fact that I'm not a big Spencer Tracy fan.  However, I just didn't find the first film as funny as the second one.  After having seen the original and then the remake again, I noticed that the second film included many homages to the first one.

 

I also think the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo is much better than the original with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway.  Despite having the more interesting actors, the original 'Thomas Crown' is dare I say, boring?

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And Speedy, let us not forget the reason many a silent movie was remade later in the '30s and beyond, and the reason why many '30s and '40s B&W movies were remade later in vivid Technicolor...

 

Advancements in technology and the idea to film a story which had been known to have earlier caught the imagination of the public and by means of this newer technology.

 

I'm thinking the almost shot-for-shot 1952 Technicolor remake of THE PRISONER OF ZENDA might be a great example of such. And in my opinion the remake is almost as good as the '37 original and is in no manner any sort of "embarrassment" at all.

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I also think the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo is much better than the original with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway.  Despite having the more interesting actors, the original 'Thomas Crown' is dare I say, boring?

 

As much as I love Faye Dunaway, I had a difficult time getting through THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR.

I have not seen the remake.

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And Speedy, let us not forget the reason many a silent movie was remade later in the '30s and beyond, and the reason why many '30s and '40s B&W movies were remade later in vivid Technicolor...

 

Advancements in technology and the idea to film a story which had been known to have earlier caught the imagination of the public and by means of this newer technology.

 

I'm thinking the almost shot-for-shot 1952 Technicolor remake of THE PRISONER OF ZENDA might be a great example of such. And in my opinion the remake is almost as good as the '37 original and is in no manner any sort of "embarrassment" at all.

Yes.  I agree.  I would also include the horrid silent version of The Wizard of Oz that recently aired.  The beloved Technicolor remake of 1939 is so much better.  With how important color is to the story, ruby slippers (albeit, they were silver slippers in the book), yellow brick road, emerald city, etc. I just cannot imagine this film in black and white or sepia tone or whatever. Thanks to the horrible silent version, I was subjected to what a colorless 'Wizard of Oz' might look like. 

 

There are also all the various versions of Robin Hood, all of which pale in comparison to the 1938 Technicolor classic.  Granted, I haven't seen the Douglas Fairbanks silent version; however, I'm not a fan of silent films; so I can't see myself enjoying this version either.  In regard to the Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe ones... I'll just forget that those happened.  Aside from my beloved Flynn adventure, the only other acceptable Robin Hood is the Disney one and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

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There are also all the various versions of Robin Hood, all of which pale in comparison to the 1938 Technicolor classic.  Granted, I haven't seen the Douglas Fairbanks silent version; however, I'm not a fan of silent films; so I can't see myself enjoying this version either.  In regard to the Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe ones... I'll just forget that those happened.  Aside from my beloved Flynn adventure, the only other acceptable Robin Hood is the Disney one and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

 

Lemme guess here, Speedy. THIS is 'cause you think the Disney version ALSO stars..ahem.."a real fox" too, RIGHT?!

 

(...get IT?!) ;)

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Lemme guess here, Speedy. THIS is 'cause you think the Disney version ALSO stars..ahem.."a real fox" too, RIGHT?!

 

(...get IT?!) ;)

Haha.  I get it.  I agree.  It does indeed star a fox! I'm always partial to Disney. Though I don't know which Disney fox I like better: Robin Hood or Tod from "Fox and the Hound."

 

Having good eye candy more times than not elevates the film for me.  If the film is subpar, at least there's something pretty to look at!

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Haha.  I get it.  I agree.  It does indeed star a fox! I'm always partial to Disney. Though I don't know which Disney fox I like better: Robin Hood or Tod from "Fox and the Hound."

 

Having good eye candy more times than not elevates the film for me.  If the film is subpar, at least there's something pretty to look at!

 

Yeah, I KNOW what ya mean, alright!

 

(...and the very reason I'll even watch some of Ava Gardner's lesser films!) ;)

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Yeah, I KNOW what ya mean, alright!

 

(...and the very reason I'll even watch some of Ava Gardner's lesser films!) ;)

Haha.  At the risk of going off topic in this thread... what is "the" ultimate Ava Gardner film?  I know she's gorgeous and all that; but I want to see if she's a real actress or whether she's all beauty and no substance. 

 

Ava Gardner starred in Mogambo which was a REMAKE of Red Dust!  (However, I don't feel like this is the quintessential Ava Gardner role, that's why I ask).

 

There's my segue back to the original topic of the thread.

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Haven't read the entire thread but want to comment on "remakes" for your opinion.

 

Last night I showed the (17 yr old) kid the 50's version of WAR OF THE WORLDS. She kept saying, "I've already seen it" meaning the Tom Cruise one. She was really into it saying, "I don't remember ANY of this" meaning the first landing or the Army defense....you know, the STORY.

 

"All I remember was Tom Cruise and his little boy trying to get away." I had asked if the invading machines looked the same and she couldn't remember what the machines LOOKED LIKE in the newer version.

 

When we stopped the DVD for a food break, the kid looked at the paused picture and said, "Wow that looks so real-like we're looking at them through a window" and we discussed the color & lighting.

 

I asked throughout how she liked the special effects, was it hokey or fake looking? Nope, she loved it-the machines, the sound effects, the death ray, even the ET like creature that you barely see. 

 

The room erupted in laughter at the end narration, "God in his infinite wisdom created tiny bacteria" so I asked her if she preferred the ending of the Tom Cruise version, but she could not recall it.

 

So what does that tell you about modern, big budget, action packed CGI enhanced films? 

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