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Originals vs. Remakes


NickAndNora34
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Sometimes there are great remakes of films, but other times there are those that honestly should not have been made.

 

Some that come to mind are:

Auntie Mame (1958)>Mame (1974): I LOVE Lucy, but I don't think she was entirely right for the role of Mame Dennis, vocally wise. Obviously, she's a great actress, and one of my favorites, but I think the singing portions were the most unbearable.

Love Affair (1939)>An Affair to Remember (1957): Neither of these are some of my favorite films, but I think both couples (Charles Boyer & Irene Dunne) and (Cary Grant & Deborah Kerr) had good chemistry and were believable.

My Favorite Wife (1940)>Move Over, Darling (1965): Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. Need I say more.

The Shop Around the Corner (1942)>In the Good Old Summertime (1949): I enjoyed both films; I thought it was interesting how they decided to make the latter more of a musically dense film.

The Philadelphia Story (1940)>High Society (1956): No one can beat Katharine Hepburn.

Bachelor Mother (1939)>Bundle of Joy (1955): I haven't personally seen Bundle of Joy, but I did enjoy Ginger Rogers in the former.

My Man Godfrey (1936)>My Man Godfrey (1957): I liked Carole Lombard's portrayal of the sort of scatterbrained heiress in the 1936 film more than June Allyson's in the 1957 one.

 

What are some remakes you liked or didn't like? *Any decade*

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910) with: Bebe Daniels and Hobart Bosworth.

The Wizard of Oz (1925) with: Dorothy Dwan and Oliver Hardy.

The Wizard of Oz (1939) with: Frank Morgan and Ray Bolger.

 

My favorite is: 1925 version with Oliver Hardy.

 

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) with: Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway.

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) with:  Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo.

 

I much prefer: 1968 version because of: Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. I liked very much the script for: 1999 version and Pierce Brosnan acquitted himself well in his role. Major flaws of the remake are casting of: Rene Russo who flounced her way through movie as if playing a cheap streetwalker and editing was very poor. Brilliant part of movie was casting: Faye Dunaway as therapist. I was surprised very much how well: Denis Leary carried his role. I did not expect to like him as actor but he was excellent.

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I like the 1966 'Stagecoach' with Bing Crosby, Van Heflin, Red Buttons, Ann-Margret, Robert Cummings, Alex Cord, Stephanie Powers, Keenan Wynn, Mike Connors and Slim Pickens much more than the 1939 original with John Wayne. Much more.

 

TCM never shows the remake, though. It's really disappointing.

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Sometimes there are great remakes of films, but other times there are those that honestly should not have been made.

 

Some that come to mind are:

Auntie Mame (1958)>Mame (1974): I LOVE Lucy, but I don't think she was entirely right for the role of Mame Dennis, vocally wise. Obviously, she's a great actress, and one of my favorites, but I think the singing portions were the most unbearable.

Well, there's a difference between a remake and a musical version of a work, which is quite a different thing. I love Auntie Mame the book and film with Rosalind Russell, and I loved Mame on Broadway, with Angela Lansbury. The screen adaptation of the musical was just not well done, and Lucy was not very good, either singing or acting, in it.

 

I think the 1956 remake (by the same director) of The Man Who Knew too Much is much better than the enjoyable 1934 original.

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DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE--(1920)--with; John Barrymore and Nita Naldi.

 

DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE--(1932)--with: Fredric March and Miriam Hopkins.

 

DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE--(1941)--with: Spencer Tracy and Ingrid Bergman.

 

This comes down to co-stars performances. The 1920 version is my least favorite, despite Barrymore doing an outstanding job in the dual title role.  Nita Naldi is a vivid presence, but she disappears from the film far too quickly.  Barrymore's co-star who plays his fiancee is so bland I can't even remember her name.

 

 In the 1941 version, Spencer Tracy is miscast and looks uncomfortable to be caught in a horror film: Lana Turner is completely unconvincing as a Victorian maiden, but looks spectacular and screams on cue.  Just looking at her makes the viewer somewhat understand the source of Jekyll's frustration (which is an undercurrent of the film, whether The Code wanted it there or not).  But Ingrid Bergmans' barmaid Ivy is a presence that knocks Tracy off the screen.  She gives the best performance in the film by far; her performance, along with excellent cinematography and music, vault this version above Barrymores' silent.

 

The 1932 version is my favorite.  Fredric March won a Best Actor Oscar for the title role, Miriam Hopkins clearly implies she is ready to sleep with Jekyll, and does one of her best acting jobs here. Rose Hobart as his fiancee breaks the tie,  She is the Only person to make a believable human being out of a badly underwritten role; though she can't act, the 20 year old Turner is a vision, and makes a definite impression on the viewer.  John Barrymore is the reason to see the 1920 version, IMO.

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Farewell My Lovely. Don't know how many versions were made of this Raymond Chandler book, but first I am aware of is 1942's The Falcon Takes Over with George Sanders.  Very entertaining if you like the Falcon series.

Then there is 1944's Murder My Sweet with Robert Montgomery.  I don't really care for it that much.  Montgomery is too flippant.

To me, the best version is 1975's Farewell My Lovely with Robert Mitchum.  Of course, it is in color and they could do so much more in 75 that they could not in 42 or 44.

As for The Thomas Crown Affair, McQueen defined the role as his forever.  Never have cared for Pierce Brosnan-too wussy.

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Farewell My Lovely. Don't know how many versions were made of this Raymond Chandler book, but first I am aware of is 1942's The Falcon Takes Over with George Sanders.  Very entertaining if you like the Falcon series.

Then there is 1944's Murder My Sweet with Robert Montgomery.  I don't really care for it that much.  Montgomery is too flippant.

To me, the best version is 1975's Farewell My Lovely with Robert Mitchum.  Of course, it is in color and they could do so much more in 75 that they could not in 42 or 44.

As for The Thomas Crown Affair, McQueen defined the role as his forever.  Never have cared for Pierce Brosnan-too wussy.

 

Murder My Sweet starred Dick Powell.   (who was indeed too flippant) 

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Murder My Sweet starred Dick Powell.   (who was indeed too flippant) 

 

HEY now! What's wrong with "flippant" anyway, HUH?! ;)

 

I think Dick was great in that role, and evidently so did enough of the movie-going public back then that it revised and revived his career.

 

(...now, IF ya wanna talk about "too flippant", then Ricardo Cortez as Sam Spade in the '31 version of THE MALTESE FALCON is your man!)

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Another remake I like a lot better than the original is 'The Postman Always Rings Twice ' (1981).

 

It's dirtier and more realistic. Jessica Lange does far more with the role than Lana Turner could. Nicholson is pretty believable as a sleazy drifter - more so than Garfield. Jack really looks sleazy in this one.

 

It's probably heresy that I favor the 1981 version of this in addition to the 1966 version of 'Stagecoach' more than the '46 and '39 versions respectively, but what the hey.

 

Worst remake ever was probably 'Psycho' (1998). Casting Vince Vaughn as nervous mama's boy Norman was one of the worst cinematic choices off all time. The movie can't overcome such a massive error no matter how hard it tries to be a shot for shot copy of the original.

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HEY now! What's wrong with "flippant" anyway, HUH?! ;)

 

I think Dick was great in that role, and evidently so did enough of the movie-going public back then that it revised and revived his career.

 

(...now, IF ya wanna talk about "too flippant", then Ricardo Cortez as Sam Spade in the '31 version of THE MALTESE FALCON is your man!)

 

I also felt Powell did a fine job as an actor in the film.    Actors don't write the dialog so the 'too flippant' comment is a reflection of the screenwriter and director.

 

Note that we see this style in a lot of Cagney movies.  At least in Murder My Sweet,  Marlow got his butt kicked when he was too flippant.    

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I agree that the original version of The Thomas Crown Affair starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway is preferable to the remake with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo.  

 

While the passage of time (and loosening of production code standards) allows the remake to be more explicit sexually, I much prefer the more subtle (but not so subtle, if that makes sense) sexual tension in the original version.  The chess scene between McQueen and Dunaway is probably one of the sexiest scenes in cinema.  

 

While the remake may have more bells and whistles and more action, I much prefer the more stylized original.  The original is more stylish and more appealing aesthetically.  The leads are also much more interesting to watch on screen.

 

---

 

I preferred the 1986 remake of The Fly starring Jeff Goldblum over the 1958 version.  The transformation into the fly is more dramatic (and definitely more gross) in the remake.  I also thought the actors and the story were better in the 1986 version. The original was very corny and more comical than scary.

 

---

 

The two versions of Father of the Bride are interesting.  I enjoy both films in their own right.  Spencer Tracy is more subdued and reflective in his role as Stanley Banks, patriarch of the family.  He spends the film trying to deal with the large cost of his daughter's upcoming wedding and also coming to terms with the fact that his "little girl" is grown.  I thought both Tracy and Steve Martin in the 1991 remake conveyed this bittersweet feeling very well.  Martin made his character more manic and neurotic (like when he has the breakdown in the grocery store over the disproportionate number of hot dog buns to hot dogs); whereas, Tracy's character seemed a little more realistic.  Some of his "contributions" to the wedding planning were not helpful, but it seemed like he was "trying" to help.  His nightmare sequence was the equivalent of Martin's hot dog tirade.  The addition of "Franck" in the remake was a way to add comic relief.  The original film, while it had funny points, it was also more sentimental than anything.  Comic relief would have been out of place in this film.  I appreciated how the remake paid homage to the original.  For example, both Elizabeth Taylor (in the original) and Kimberly Williams (in the remake) receive the same gaudy Venus de Milo clock. 

 

I don't think one version is necessarily better than the other.  Each version has it's own unique charm.  I like both films for different reasons. 

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I also felt Powell did a fine job as an actor in the film.    Actors don't write the dialog so the 'too flippant' comment is a reflection of the screenwriter and director.

 

Note that we see this style in a lot of Cagney movies.  At least in Murder My Sweet,  Marlow got his butt kicked when he was too flippant.    

Stand corrected on Powell rather than Montgomery.  Regardless, the actor brings a lot to the role or not.  In this case, Powell didn't.  Can't blame the director or screenwriter for how he delivered his lines and the persona he presented.  

A good movie takes a good script, good director and good actors.

However, I do like Powell in Cry Danger.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bring on the hit men!  I admit that I liked the recent remake of True Grit over the 1969 version which will have all the John Wayne fans wanting my head.

 

1969 has a great Elmer Bernstein score and I can't begrudge JW finally getting an Oscar but the newer version looked much more like West Arkansas and Oklahoma and the country music was more authentic to the time and era.  Jeff Bridges looked more like the derelict lawman Rooster Cogburn is supposed to be; had he not won the Oscar the year before I think he would have joined JW in winning for playing Rooster. Hallie Eisenberg was the right age for Mattie which gives her the edge over Kim Darby who was closer to 20 than 13.  Finally the story stuck with the novel and it's bittersweet ending.  The whole film had the aura of the time and place.  It's the better of the two.        

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Bring on the hit men!  I admit that I liked the recent remake of True Grit over the 1969 version which will have all the John Wayne fans wanting my head.

 

1969 has a great Elmer Bernstein score and I can't begrudge JW finally getting an Oscar but the newer version looked much more like west Arkansas and Oklahoma and the country music was more authentic to the time and era.  Jeff Bridges looked more like the derelict lawman Rooster Cogburn is supposed to be; had he not won the Oscar the year before I think he would have joined JW in winning for playing Rooster. Hallie Eisenberg was the right age for Mattie which gives her the edge over Kim Darby who was closer to 20 than 13.  Finally the story stuck with the novel and it's bittersweet ending.  The whole film had the aura of the time and place.  It's the better of the two.        

 

I agree with you on True Grit but I also wish to mention Matt Damon.  He is a far better actor then the non-actor Glen Campbell (who I admire as a guitar player and I have many of his instrumental guitar recordings made before he became too famous to make instrumental records).

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  • 6 months later...

"If I were King" was made a record 4 times.The original was released in 1920 with William Farnum (as Francois Villon), Betty Ross Clarke (as Katherine de Vaucelles), and Fritz Leiber (as King Louis XI). The first remake was released as the musical "The Vagabond King" in 1930 starring Dennis King (as Francois Villon), Jeanette MacDonald (as Katherine de Vaucelles), and O.P. Heggie (as King Louis XI). The second remake reverted back to "If I Were King" in 1938 and starred Ronald Coleman (as Francois Villon), Frances Dee (as Katherine de Vaucelles), and Basil Rathbone (as King Louis XI).  The 3rd remake, and possibly the most popular, was released again as the musical "The Vagabond King" in 1956 starring Oreste Kirkop (as Francois Villon), Kathryn Grayson (as Katherine de Vaucelles), and Walter Hampden (as King Louis XI).

 

Having seen all four versions, it is my opinion that the 1938 version was far more entertaining. This was due, no doubt, to Ronald Coleman's distinct acting style and innate ability to deliver a line. The 1956 version was quite enjoyable...predominantly due to the vocal abilities of Kirkop and Grayson. Not to mention the advent of Technicolor and marvelous Vistavision adding to its viewing pleasure. Even though the sound was mono, the music was wonderful. I would highly recommend both of these versions but you really should watch all four and develop your own opinion. There are far worse things things you could do with your time. :D

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Having seen all four versions, it is my opinion that the 1938 version was far more entertaining.

 

 

I agree completely! I love very much: Ronald Colman in the lead. I find: Basil Rathbone perfect as powerful but oft befuddled king. 

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"If I were King" was made a record 4 times.The original was released in 1920 with William Farnum (as Francois Villon), Betty Ross Clarke (as Katherine de Vaucelles), and Fritz Leiber (as King Louis XI). The first remake was released as the musical "The Vagabond King" in 1930 starring Dennis King (as Francois Villon), Jeanette MacDonald (as Katherine de Vaucelles), and O.P. Heggie (as King Louis XI). The second remake reverted back to "If I Were King" in 1938 and starred Ronald Coleman (as Francois Villon), Frances Dee (as Katherine de Vaucelles), and Basil Rathbone (as King Louis XI).  The 3rd remake, and possibly the most popular, was released again as the musical "The Vagabond King" in 1956 starring Oreste Kirkop (as Francois Villon), Kathryn Grayson (as Katherine de Vaucelles), and Walter Hampden (as King Louis XI).

 

Having seen all four versions, it is my opinion that the 1938 version was far more entertaining. This was due, no doubt, to Ronald Coleman's distinct acting style and innate ability to deliver a line. The 1956 version was quite enjoyable...predominantly due to the vocal abilities of Kirkop and Grayson. Not to mention the advent of Technicolor and marvelous Vistavision adding to its viewing pleasure. Even though the sound was mono, the music was wonderful. I would highly recommend both of these versions but you really should watch all four and develop your own opinion. There are far worse things things you could do with your time. :D

The Colman/Rathbone version is outstanding for the acting and Preston Sturges' writing ("The pigs beseech you to accept their fattest hams.") 

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I found High Society (1958) to be a pointless, almost irritating movie with Bing Crosby breaking into song every five minutes with a drink in his hand, and Grace Kelly taking over what was the role played by Katherine Hepburn. I have watched this movie before when it was called "The Philadelphia Story" (1940) which was way more funnier. I think most of us could have lived without  High Society's version. Cocktails, singing, everyone acting swank... not for me...I know I may come of as a stickler at a young age, but a lot of movies just should NOT be remade. Imagine someone remaking the following:

 

Gone With the Wind

Easy Rider

Midnight Cowboy

The Graduate

How the West was Won

ANY Cary Grant Movie

To Kill A Mockingbird (There is only ONE Atticus Finch!)

Sunset Boulevard (though it has done well on the stages)

Bullitt

ANY Bette Davis movie

ANY James Cagney movie...

to name a few...

 

When my fave movie of all time, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? was remade by Redgrave sisters in 1991 I was ticked off! Please, you really think you can replay the film featuring the ACTRESSES Bette Davis and Joan Crawford? Bad move. Bad movie. Paled so much in comparison with the original...

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I found High Society (1958) to be a pointless, almost irritating movie with Bing Crosby breaking into song every five minutes with a drink in his hand, and Grace Kelly taking over what was the role played by Katherine Hepburn. I have watched this movie before when it was called "The Philadelphia Story" (1940) which was way more funnier. I think most of us could have lived without  High Society's version. Cocktails, singing, everyone acting swank... not for me...I know I may come of as a stickler at a young age, but a lot of movies just should NOT be remade. Imagine someone remaking the following:

 

Gone With the Wind

Easy Rider

Midnight Cowboy

The Graduate

How the West was Won

ANY Cary Grant Movie

To Kill A Mockingbird (There is only ONE Atticus Finch!)

Sunset Boulevard (though it has done well on the stages)

Bullitt

ANY Bette Davis movie

ANY James Cagney movie...

to name a few...

 

When my fave movie of all time, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? was remade by Redgrave sisters in 1991 I was ticked off! Please, you really think you can replay the film featuring the ACTRESSES Bette Davis and Joan Crawford? Bad move. Bad movie. Paled so much in comparison with the original...

I  agree with you about High Society. I have never seen the film in its entirety, but I do not think it was a wise move made by the film studio. I don't see Grace Kelly as a "higher society girl;" more of a "country girl."  :)

 

And perish the thought of someone remaking Gone with the Wind. 

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I  agree with you about High Society. I have never seen the film in its entirety, but I do not think it was a wise move made by the film studio. I don't see Grace Kelly as a "higher society girl;" more of a "country girl."  :)

 

And perish the thought of someone remaking Gone with the Wind. 

 

The making of High Society was a very wise move by MGM.   This from Wiki:

 

"At the North American box office, High Society was a success. It was one of the 10 highest grossing films of 1956 in the US and Canada earning $5,602,000, and $2,656,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $1,148,000."

 

Movie making is a business that every once in a while produces a work of art.     

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I didn't have any issue with High Society when I saw it.  Maybe it's not as good as The Philadelphia Story, but I found it entertaining.  To me, Grace Kelly screams upper crust, high society.  Her high brow Mid-Atlantic accent seems like it'd be out of place in the country.  I haven't seen The Country Girl, but I'd love to know what Kelly did that was so much better than Judy Garland's performance in A Star is Born.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Kelly's work, but Garland was so fantastic in her comeback vehicle, it's hard to imagine someone whose performance was better in 1954. 

 

As for Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, I loved their singing.  I didn't mind there being a lot of songs, it is a musical after all.  The swingin' music, the cocktails, the whole nine yards, makes the film very entertaining.  An added bonus is the appearance of Louis Armstrong! I love the swankiness of the film.  It's fun.  It's entertaining.  

 

What I appreciated about this film is that the filmmakers took the same source material (The Philadelphia Story) as the 1940 comedy, and made it their own.  It wasn't a straight scene for scene remake.  What's the point of remaking something if you aren't going to do something different with how the story is told?

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I didn't have any issue with High Society when I saw it.  Maybe it's not as good as The Philadelphia Story, but I found it entertaining.  To me, Grace Kelly screams upper crust, high society.  Her high brow Mid-Atlantic accent seems like it'd be out of place in the country.  I haven't seen The Country Girl, but I'd love to know what Kelly did that was so much better than Judy Garland's performance in A Star is Born.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Kelly's work, but Garland was so fantastic in her comeback vehicle, it's hard to imagine someone whose performance was better in 1954. 

 

As for Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, I loved their singing.  I didn't mind there being a lot of songs, it is a musical after all.  The swingin' music, the cocktails, the whole nine yards, makes the film very entertaining.  An added bonus is the appearance of Louis Armstrong! I love the swankiness of the film.  It's fun.  It's entertaining.  

 

What I appreciated about this film is that the filmmakers took the same source material (The Philadelphia Story) as the 1940 comedy, and made it their own.  It wasn't a straight scene for scene remake.  What's the point of remaking something if you aren't going to do something different with how the story is told?

 

Well said,  especially this comment "Grace Kelly screams upper crust, high society".    She gave a solid performance in The Country Girl but it stands out in her career because it was an atypically performance for her.

 

There is great music in High Society (yea Louis is worth the price of admission by himself).    While I like TPS more HS still has a lot to offer. 

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Well said,  especially this comment "Grace Kelly screams upper crust, high society".    She gave a solid performance in The Country Girl but it stands out in her career because it was an atypically performance for her.

 

There is great music in High Society (yea Louis is worth the price of admission by himself).    While I like TPS more HS still has a lot to offer. 

Maybe there's something wrong with me, i'm not much of a Kelly fan to begin with, i'm not sure why but she was GREAT in The Country Girl--a big change in what we're used to...right down to her looks... she plays them down, looking still attractive, but the makeup, the glamour is gone, cos she's a country girl...if it's the same film I remember watching, Kelly's character is weary, sad, protective wife that is afraid her husband (Bing Crosby) after a tragic accident involving his little boy while he was at the height of his fame. But he is unhappy and turns to his old friend alcohol (I assume that's why Kelly wanted to protect him with his demons)

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