Have two movies ever been made from the exact same script?

The first time I read a movie script, I was surprised by how little detail is provided by the scriptwriter, and how many of the artistic decisions made in creating a movie are made by people other than the creator of the story. I guess I expected it to be much more like a novel.

It made me wonder - have there ever been two movies made from the exact same script, but by different directors, etc.? It would be really interesting to see how much they differ.

*Psycho *(1998) was a shot-for-shot remake of *Psycho *(1960); the remake credits Robert Bloch, the writer of the original novel (who was also credited for the 1960 version) and Joseph Stefano, the writer of the 1960 screenplay, for its screenplay.

I’ve never understood why Gus Van Sant, who’s capable of so much more, decided to (quite literally) remake the original; Van Sant is capable of directing really good movies – not just literal remakes.

There was a remake of Psycho several years ago (IMDb says 1998) that I heard was intended to be a shot-for-shot recreation of the original. Never saw it, so I can’t say if they held to that standard. And most of what I’ve heard about it is that it wasn’t very good.

If you’re willing to consider the small screen, there was a British TV show called Coupling that was remade in the U.S. The first episode (and probably more) used the same script as the original.[sup]*[/sup] The interesting thing to me was to see how the actors played it. The original Jane had a certain direct obliviousness. She’s say the wrong thing so instantly that there just seemed like there was no point in even questioning it. The new Jane would stop and think about what she’d been told, and then, of course, give the same answer. It was interesting how that changed the character.

Not for the better, however. The remake only lasted a few episodes.

  • I think this was done with The Office, as well.

There have been several Shakespeare plays that have been made into more than one film version.

I dunno, that Sam Taylor guy keeps messing with things…

I have often thought the same thing. If you could give them a script from a movie that wasn’t well known and that they had never seen, so they’d go in cold, and that they had to adhere to the script and dialogue exactly to get the closest match possible, and if it was from an earlier era, like the 70s, when the sensibilities of filmmaking are so different to today, it would be fascinating to see what theyc ome up with.

A similar experiment would be to give multiple directors a short film script, dialogue only, and let them go and make whatever movie in whatever setting they wanted from it.

Well, the literalness is the key. You know how Warhol made art out of doing the same thing over and over again, making endless numbers of silk screened images of celebrities with different colored backgrounds, commenting on the very act of mass-production? Well, Van Sant is a big Warhol fan: think of his Psycho as an attempt to do something similar, to see if such a literal adaptation could be done. It couldn’t. Movies have moving parts that are impossible to replicate (Van Sant: “Even with the movie to look at, I couldn’t get certain shots the way Hitchcock did.”) It’s a failure, sure, unwatchable even, but it was a legitimate attempt at art instead of hackwork.

I personally think that it would be more artistically interesting to just take the original film and then project it with candy-colored tints.

Not quite the same thing, but once upon a time many films were shot twice, once in English, and once in Spanish for distribution in Mexico. The English version was shot during the day, and the Spanish version done at night on the same sets. The Bela Lugosi version of Dracula was done this way. Some have said the Spanish version was superior.

The two versions of Michael Haneke’s Funny Games are nearly identical - almost shot-for-shot and word-for-word. I think his justification for the English remake was that his reason for making the (first) German one was as a critique of US cinema or something, so making it in English was his original intention anyway.

All of the Rambo movies?

There was a Saturday Night Live sketch soon after the Gus Van Sant remake of Psycho about someone making a shot-for-shot remake of the movie Turner and Hooch, the point being that a shot-for-shot remake is a pretty ridiculous notion.

Didn’t Hitchcock himself do this with one of his early movies?

The Spanish version is superior in some ways, but they use different actors. I’ve seen it with a commentary track, which says that the actor playing Dracula saw the rushes from the earlier-in-the-day Lugosi filmning and was supposed to mimic him, but basically failed. So while some of the cutting and composition are better, the acting is not. I don’t know whether this counts as “same script” since it’s in Spanish.

Better example is that Laurel and Hardy made several of their films (early 1930s) in both English and Spanish. They were famous silent stars (where the same film could be used with different language cards, of course) so couldn’t be replaced. They didn’t know Spanish but learned (or had cue cards) phonetically. These look pretty much the same, but of course they were shot simultaneously with same directors etc.

I don’t know of any other remake that uses the same script. However, I think it’s clear that there’s more to a film than the script. The script of CASABLANCA, for instance, seems dreadful dull.

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934 & 1956). Had the same writers credited, but there were some changes to the story, mostly in the locations and the addition of a song (“Que Sera Sera,” which won and Oscar and became Doris Day’s theme song).

Similarly, The Vanishing was a film by Dutch director George Sluicer. He remade it a few years later with an American version, which everyone agrees is terrible, but there was a different scriptwriter for that version (though it came from the same source material).

IIRC, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have required every version of The Office to use the same script (or a translation thereof) for its first episode.

Not just in Spanish, either. The introduction to this clip says they did all of the dialogue themselves, without resorting to dubbing by other actors:

The first time I was aware I had seen two movies made from exactly the same script was this one:

Sometimes they’re made with different titles, but are almost identical shot-for-shot:

The main difference between the latter two was that the first was actually kind of sweet (it had a romantic ending), while the second heavily featured the Jerk Humor of Steve Martin (and the ending was, shall we say, somewhat different).

The first episode of the US adaption of Shameless followed the UK version fairly closely. I can’t remember if it was exact, though.

Quite funny: When KITN (Channel 29 in Minneapolis/St Paul) first came on the air in the '80s, it ran Bedtime Story with the promo “Marlin Brando and David Niven are dirty, rotten scoundrels.” The night it aired, the station-break graphic was for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; it took them 45 minutes before someone in the studio realized they were watching a different movie and changed the graphic.

A real D’oh! moment. :smack:

WTF is it with url’s and parentheses?!? :mad:





Samuel Beckett’s only film, titled Film, was produced in 1964 and remade in 1979 from the same screenplay. (It contains one line of dialogue: “sssh!”)