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Remakes, Sequels & Adaptations


LawrenceA
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I thought I'd start a thread to discuss the title phenomena. New or old, pro or con, anything's up for debate.

 

I was inspired to create this thread after just reading that Ben Wheatley (High-Rise) is currently writing, with an eye to direct, another remake of Wages of Fear. The original, widely regarded as one of the greatest suspense films ever made, was a French film starring Yves Montand, and released in 1953. It followed a group of desperate characters who are driving trucks laden with volatile nitroglycerin over unpaved roads, where any one of the many bumps or jostles could send the trucks sky high. It was remade by William Friedkin in (mostly) English in 1977, starring Roy Scheider, and renamed Sorcerer. The remake was decent, but not up to the original. As far as the proposed new remake, I don't really see the need. With all of the unproduced screenplays and unadapted great works previously published, I would much rather see something new on screen. I know the usual argument is that studio execs are scared and only want to produce something they "know" is going to work. Obviously, that knowledge only goes so far, as many sure bets flop every year, and there are at least one or two big hits that no one expected. But I don't see there being a big public desire for, or even a recognition of, Wages of Fear, despite it being one of my personal favorites.

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Y'know, Lawrence, I saw SORCERER, but never saw WAGES OF FEAR, but I liked the remake enough to now long to see it's original.

 

This sort of thing has been tackled here before, and it's been almost settled that many here like some remakes as much as the originals, but those examples are  mostly individualy subjective, and I can't think of any as far as I'M concerned.

 

But, interesting  thread.

 

Sepiatone

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I just read today about a remake in the works of Papillon.

Wow. I saw that film eventually earlier this year because of Steve McQueen`s birthday and it was intense and difficult to watch, but it was an excellent example of the fight for survival.

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To me the term 'remake' isn't accurate since in most cases producers are not making a new film based on a prior film but instead based on the source material (book,  play),  that may have been used to make a prior film.   Therefore these films are really adaptations of this source material and not remakes of a prior film. 

 

Audience that have seen films made from that same source material call the latest film a 'remake' and of course compare the various film adaptations.  In addition seeing prior adaptations tends to influence how one experiences the latest adaptation in ways similar to if one has read the source material and then see the film.    Once one has been 'tainted' it is more difficult to view a film as a completely independent work. 

 

The complain that a new adaptation isn't fresh (a first time, unique experience) are only valid to those that have seen prior adaptations.   Since many folks today (the majority?) have only seen a handful of movies made years before they were born,   if producers make a new adaptation of  source material that was last made into a film in, say, in the 50s,  this latest adaptation will be fresh to most folks.  

 

Of course there are true remakes like the 1968 version of Hitchcock's Psycho.   To me one would have to be psycho to make this type of film.  

 

     

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The 1974 version of 'TEN LITTLE INDIANS' is based on the script from the 1965 version of 'TEN LITTLE INDIANS'.  A few changes had to be made as the setting was switched to an Iranian hotel in the middle of the desert from a snowy Alpine lodge, but darn sure not many.  Harry Alan Towers produced both films (along with the 1989 remake, which I've never seen).

 

     I like the 1974 version quite a bit.  I find it to be a kind of deranged parody of the more-serious '65 film.  

 

     Charles Aznavour has the Fabian role in the '74 movie.     

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Just look at all the various adaptations of one of my favorite swashbucklers...

 

The Prisoner of Zenda (1984) (TV Mini-Series)
The Prisoner of Zenda, Inc. (1996) (TV Movie)
 
The 1952 version is almost a shot-for-shot remake of the 1937 version, and pretty much uses the same Alfred Newman score.
 
(...and here's ya an interesting little fact according to the IMDb website...One of the changes from the 1937 version for the 1952 version is changing the character of the Bishop to a Cardinal. Long-time MGM contract player Lewis Stone played the part. Ironically, Stone played both leads in the 1922 version of The Prisoner of Zenda (1922).)
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To me the term 'remake' isn't accurate since in most cases producers are not making a new film based on a prior film but instead based on the source material (book,  play),  that may have been used to make a prior film.   Therefore these films are really adaptations of this source material and not remakes of a prior film. 

 

This is true, and not true, of the recent version of Brighton Rock (2010), which can stand-up to comparisons to the 1947 version and has much in common with the novel. The primary difference is the newer film is set in the early 1960s and exploits the teddy-boy subculture of the time (reminding me a bit of the scenes from Quadrophenia (1979) with the menace on Vespas).

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This is true, and not true, of the recent version of Brighton Rock (2010), which can stand-up to comparisons to the 1947 version and has much in common with the novel. The primary difference is the newer film is set in the early 1960s and exploits the teddy-boy subculture of the time (reminding me a bit of the scenes from Quadrophenia (1979) with the menace on Vespas).

 

I don't see how Brighton Rock is a good example of a producer using a prior version of a film as a source for their version.   The makers of the 2010 film when making their adaptation decided to not use the time period as depicted in the book.    I'm a fan of this idea (love Quadrophonic a work of art by the WHO),   but I don't see how that relates to the 1947 version.

 

To me a good example would be where a prior version of a film adds a character that was NOT contained in the book and a later version utilizes this same character.    I'm sure there are other examples were a later version steals something from a prior version not found in the book.    

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I thought I'd start a thread to discuss the title phenomena. New or old, pro or con, anything's up for debate.

 

I was inspired to create this thread after just reading that Ben Wheatley (High-Rise) is currently writing, with an eye to direct, another remake of Wages of Fear. The original, widely regarded as one of the greatest suspense films ever made, was a French film starring Yves Montand, and released in 1953. It followed a group of desperate characters who are driving trucks laden with volatile nitroglycerin over unpaved roads, where any one of the many bumps or jostles could send the trucks sky high. It was remade by William Friedkin in (mostly) English in 1977, starring Roy Scheider, and renamed Sorcerer. The remake was decent, but not up to the original. As far as the proposed new remake, I don't really see the need. With all of the unproduced screenplays and unadapted great works previously published, I would much rather see something new on screen. I know the usual argument is that studio execs are scared and only want to produce something they "know" is going to work. Obviously, that knowledge only goes so far, as many sure bets flop every year, and there are at least one or two big hits that no one expected. But I don't see there being a big public desire for, or even a recognition of, Wages of Fear, despite it being one of my personal favorites.

 

I haven't see either of the two films  Has Wheatley been inspired by the novel, rather than the two film versions? Perhaps he thinks there's something in the novel that hasn't been conveyed in the films? Wheatley has done a wonderful job with High-Rise, a novel said to be unfilmable.

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Well, perhaps a better example of an actual remake is Magnificent  Seven which was an American version of The Seven Samerai. There were several sequels. It has been remade.

 

This is a good example of what I call  a 'remake';    A film that is based on a prior film and the prior film's original screenplay instead of based on non film source material like a play or book.     

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I posted previously about how "Hollywood seems to be running on empty..." I think there are so many sequels and remakes being released now and in future years.

 

One one hand, I am excited for certain remakes as I enjoy seeing animation/special effects/CGI (and everything else that falls under that category). We have come so far as a film industry, and it is always interesting to me to see just how far we've come with certain aspects.

 

A major phenomena is that of the "superhero" movie. Granted, superheroes have been a part of pop culture for a while now, but due to the technological advancements of special effects, etc., there has been sort of an uprising in the demand for more Marvel/DC comics to make the transition from page to screen.

 

Some film production companies (I won't mention any names, but a hint would be "Mickey Mouse") can afford to remake their films. I read on several websites about some of the upcoming projects, such as Dumbo, Mulan, Toy Story 4 (why?), Beauty and the Beast, Pirates of the Caribbean (again, why?), Tink, Pinocchio, Winnie the Pooh, The Sword in the Stone, Peter Pan, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Jungle Cruise... Many others!

 

Don't even get me started on the "Mary Poppins" sequel.

 

I think it could be very interesting to see these animated Disney classics with a fresh take, and even fresher animation and special effects. I enjoyed the special effects for Jungle Book (2016), but was not very satisfied with the film as a whole. Honestly, the only live action Disney film I was intensely excited about was "Into the Woods" (2014) as I am an avid musical theatre/Broadway fan, and Stephen Sondheim is one of my all-time favorite lyricists/composers.

 

I appreciate that TCM has made the effort to play older movies at select movie theaters, although the only one I attended was Gone with the Wind (it was magnificent). I think other theaters should try to play older films, as they will attract a wider variety (audience-wise).

 

Anyway, I've run out of steam for the moment.

 

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A solid reason to make a new adaptation of a well written book or play is that the prior adaptation was made during the Production Code era.     E.g.   The fine play by Lillian Hellman The Children's Hour. 

 

The 30s version (These Three) couldn't use the lesbian theme contained in the play while the 60s version could.   

 

 

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A solid reason to make a new adaptation of a well written book or play is that the prior adaptation was made during the Production Code era.     E.g.   The fine play by Lillian Hellman The Children's Hour. 

 

The 30s version (These Three) couldn't use the lesbian theme contained in the play while the 60s version could.   

That is an excellent point, jazz. (Can I call you "jazz"?) I had forgotten that Children's Hour was essentially a remake of These Three.

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That is an excellent point, jazz. (Can I call you "jazz"?) I had forgotten that Children's Hour was essentially a remake of These Three.

 

Thanks, and yes, you can call me Jazz.   What I look for in a new adaptation,  assuming I have seen prior adaptations,  is originality.   e.g.  the lead actors bringing a different interpretation to the character they are playing,  the screenwriter \ director emphasis certain scenes and \ or characters differently,  the director and cinematographer apply their own unique style etc.... 

 

The 41 version of The Maltese Falcon is a good example.    Even the 1936 Bette Davis starring version Satan Meets A Lady was at least unique in this regards (even if not a very good film).

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To me a good example would be where a prior version of a film adds a character that was NOT contained in the book and a later version utilizes this same character.    I'm sure there are other examples were a later version steals something from a prior version not found in the book.    

 

Jjg ~ I seem to have quoted you without understanding your interpretation of the concept of a remake. You seem to make a distinction that most filmmakers use, one clarified by the appearance of the word adaption in opening titles. Perhaps I can clear up my confusion by giving you two examples of what I now understand you to mean.

 

You (would) agree that The Opposite Sex (1957) is not a remake of The Women (1939) despite the filmmakers including men in the cast, who are not found in Clare Booth Luce’s play but were also not in the 1939 version. You (would) also agree that Gus Van Zant’s 1998 version of Psycho is not a remake, but a (near) scene-for-scene recreation of Hitchcock’s earlier film.

 

I remember a friend of mine being distraught over the notion of a remake of 3:10 To Yuma (2007) as he had a sentimental attachment to the 1957 version. I had not seen the original and decided to watch both as a bit of comparison. I had a similar experience with the Coen Brothers version of True Grit (2010), however; in this case I had seen the original but chose to re-watch. Both later films were neither better nor worse than the original; the filmmakers simply had a different vision when retelling the stories.

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Jjg ~ I seem to have quoted you without understanding your interpretation of the concept of a remake. You seem to make a distinction that most filmmakers use, one clarified by the appearance of the word adaption in opening titles. Perhaps I can clear up my confusion by giving you two examples of what I now understand you to mean.

 

You (would) agree that The Opposite Sex (1957) is not a remake of The Women (1939) despite the filmmakers including men in the cast, who are not found in Clare Booth Luce’s play but were also not in the 1939 version. You (would) also agree that Gus Van Zant’s 1998 version of Psycho is not a remake, but a (near) scene-for-scene recreation of Hitchcock’s earlier film.

 

I remember a friend of mine being distraught over the notion of a remake of 3:10 To Yuma (2007) as he had a sentimental attachment to the 1957 version. I had not seen the original and decided to watch both as a bit of comparison. I had a similar experience with the Coen Brothers version of True Grit (2010), however; in this case I had seen the original but chose to re-watch. Both later films were neither better nor worse than the original; the filmmakers simply had a different vision when retelling the stories.

 

The Women (1939) was based on a play.   I don't know if The Opposite Sex was based more on the play or the film The Women (e.g. did the play the play have men in it?),    but there are enough creative differences for me to say TOS is an adaptation of the play and NOT a remake of  film The Women. 

 

The 1998 film Psycho is a remake; you said  'is NOT a remake' but I assume that was mistaken (type-o).

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  • 2 years later...

Reviving this thread that I know annoys jamesjazzguitar (sorry!) to mention two recently announced "remakes" in the works:

Eddie Murphy To Lead “Grumpy Old Men”

Eddie Murphy is set to star in a remake of the Walther Matthau and Jack Lemmon 1993 comedy “Grumpy Old Men” for New Line.

Murphy would play one of the feuding seniors in this story of a lifelong battle between two neighbors that only gets worse when a new female neighbor moves in across the street.

His co-star hasn’t been selected as yet, but THR indicates Samuel L. Jackson is under consideration. “Ride Along” helmer Tim Story will direct the new take which will be produced by John Davis.

 

Mel Gibson To Helm “Wild Bunch” Remake

“Hacksaw Ridge” and “Apocalypto” director Mel Gibson is set to co-write, executive produce and direct a remake of Sam Peckinpah’s iconic 1969 western “The Wild Bunch” at Warner Bros. Pictures.

The original followed an ageing group of outlaws looking for one last big score as the traditional American West is disappearing around them and the industrial age is taking over.

On the way, they are pursued by a posse led by a former partner they double-crossed. Wiliam Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O’Brien, Warren Oates, Jaime Sanchez and Ben Johnson co-starred.

Bryan Bagby will also co-write the remake which has been in the works for nearly a decade with Tony Scott previously linked as director.

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