So, we all know that Star Wars (fuck the goofy subtitle added too late in the game) is The Hidden Fortress set in outer space. The two bumbling bickering peasants equal two bumbling bickering droids, etc.
What are some others? And I’m not looking for homages, or “similar to” stories, but for films where you can point to exact plot machinations, or exact characters transplanted from one film to another.
Great latitude is expected as all posters may not agree that one equals the other. I did say “almost.”
The Seven Samurai has been adapted a number of times. The Magnificent Seven was the most obvious one, but there’s also Battle Beyond the Stars, which set the story in outer space, with a hero flying in a talking spaceship with tits.
Also, I don’t know how common this is in the US, but the Japanese video stores are filled with copycat movies (usually from Europe) that seem to be marketed solely on the premise of looking enough like a more famous movie in the hopes that people will rent them by accident. (“Vanished in 60 Seconds” “Clones” and “Death Cube” from “Gone in 60 Seconds” “6 Days” and “Cube” respectively). I’ve never fallen for one, so I don’t know how similar the actual stories are, but great pains are taken to get the name, cover design and title font as close as possible to the “original”.
The plot of Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle was pretty much taken from Mission:Impossible, i.e. the two-part NOC list. The main difference is that high technology enabled them to encode it on two rings, instead of two disks.
And Mission: Impossible 2’s plot is based on the Hitchcock movie Notorious, what with the spy using an old love of an evil man to get close to him. The scene at the dog track is meant as an homage to the dog track scene in Notorious.
Actually, I’d debate this – not that Lucas ripped off The Hidden Fortress (he’s admitted that), but that the entire film is a remake of it. Having watched both films I can see the similarities (and Han Solo really does feel like he’s Toshiro Mifune’s fighter, and there’s the strong adventuring princess, and the bickering peasants that R2D2 and C-3PO imitate), but there are plenty of differences, too. The first time I saw it I was watching in vain to see the plots go exactly the same way – they don’t.
Lucus borrowed from lots of films in making his epic (and other sources – aside from the Samurai helmet, Darth Vader’s costume is just Dr. Doom’s from The Fantastic Four, done over in black.) The end of the film, as I pointed out in an essay in Teemings, is lifted from The Dambusters, right down to some of the dialogue. I understand a lot of the dogfighting sequences came from Squadron 733.
Alien/It! The Terror from Beyond Space is the rip-opff that occurred to me. I’ve mentioned it many times on the Board before. and, overall, I prefer the older film, where the monster isn’t miraculous and the crewmen are shown as being resourceful and not incompetant.
A few Akira Kurasawa’s films have been remade as Westerns – The Seven Samurai and **Yojimbo[/B[ have already been mentiioned. But did you know his classic Rashomon was redone as a western? I haven’t seen it, but I’ve seen pictures and part of the script. It seems amazingly miscast – William Shatner as a preacher, Howard da Silva (Ben Franklin!) as a prospector, Edward G. Robinson as a con man (OK, that one’s OK), Claire Bloom as The Woman and Paul Newman (!!!) as a Mexican Bandit (the Toshiro Mifune part).
(Marge: “But you likedRashomon!”
Homer: “That’s not the way I remember it!”)