Movie Remakes

  1. Name the best movie remakes, either of movies that were good the first time, or bad the first time, or movies that benefitted from being remade because of improved technology

  2. What older movies should be remade because the technology has improved enough to bring a fresh visual look to the story, or because they were a good idea poorly handled the first time.

  3. What foreign movies would make for a good English language remake for American audiences? Before someone says foreign language movies shouldn’t be remade because people should see the original, I mostly agree that seeing the original is preferable to some Americanized version, but there are stories out there that the mainstream misses because they, for whatever reason, dislike subtitles.

  4. What are some of the worst remakes ever?

Let me start this with a few:
Good remake of a good foreign language movie:

Reservoir Dogs: The origianl was a Hong Kong movie named City on Fire, directed by Ringo Lam. Tarantino lifted roughly the last half hour and expanded it to a full length picture. In many respects it is superior to the original, but it doesn’t have Chow Yun Fat, and it leaves the best moment in the original film out.[sup]1[/sup]

Good remake of a mediocre movie:

The Fly: This is one that was hampered by technological limits in the original.

Foreign Movie that should be remade:

After Life: This is a Japanese movie about people whose job it is to help the recently dead choose a memory in which to spend their after life. It has no special effects, and the script and plot would work with virtually no changes at all.

Foreign Movie that was remade, but shouldn’t have:

The Vanishing: A man becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to his wife, who disappeared at a diner while on vacation. The ending is absolutely perfect, but I will say no more except that if you have not seen this movie, find a copy of the original Dutch version. If you were floored by The Sixth Sense or The Usual Suspects, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. The American version has a poor setup, which could be forgiven, but it changes the ending, which changes the entire point of the movie. It is unforgivable, even more so because it was the director of the original who helmed this travesty.

Great remake of a good movie:

His Girl Friday: The only bad version of “The Front Page” is “Switching Channels”, but none of the others can match this second version. Sparks practically fly back and forth between Cary Grant and Rosalind Russel.

Worst remake of a Great movie:

Caboblanco: A remake of “Casablanca”. Why remake a perfect movie?

The Maltese Falcon (1941) was vastly superior to Satan Met A Lady (1936), and better than Dangerous Female (1931), though the latter was pretty good, and benefitted from being pre-Hayes Code.

I actually enjoyed the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair, though the McQueen version is superior.

Sir Rhosis

Whose brain isn’t up to thinking of any more answers to the other questions.

[sup]1[/sup]The best moment in City on Fire occurs about half way through the movie. Chow Yun Fat is a police officer undercover as a gun runner. He’s being followed by the cops, who don’t know he’s a cop, and by a gang of jewel thieves who want his guns. He is late for a meeting with his fiancee to get a marriage license. He stops in a bowling alley to retrieve a cache of guns from a locker. As he approaches the locker and is about to put the key in the lock, he notices a familiar looking man at the end of the bar. He drops the key and steps on it, and looks around the bowling alley, trying to spot any potential cops / theives. The way he looks around with a mixture of fear, paranoia and indecision about what to do next is a masterpiece of acting. Just the way he looks around, slowly retrieves the key, and gets the guns from the locker, shows how this man is in a barely controlled state of panic, and it is done with a few facial expressions and subtle body language.

I think they should remake Spaceballs.

I don’t comprehend remakes. I can’t tell you how many people have told me “I loved the original Planet of the Apes/Rollerball so I’m really looking forward to the remake of Planet of the Apes/Rollerball.” Why? If the first one was good, why do it again? Do you HONESTLY think the remake will be better? Is there any precedent for this?

A Guy Named Joe was a good movie about a pilot who is killed and who returns unseen to “inspire” a young pilot – who falls in love with the dead pilot’s girlfriend. I enjoyed Steven Spielberg’s remake Always.

The Evil Dead 2 is less a sequel than a remake of the original. While the original (which had a budget of, I believe, about $100,000) has its charms, I think “2” is the better film.

There is another one that you have to watch for : Barb Wire.

Just saw In the Good Old Summertime last night. It’s a remake of The Shop Around the Corner, which was also remade into You’ve Got Mail. Remakes of good movies, such as Miracle on 34th Street or the aformentioned Casablance and Planet of the Apes tend to be a waste of time and money. Remakes of mildly popular movies can be better than the originals.

Good remake of good movie

No Way Out is at least as good as the original on
which it is based, The Big Clock. It dresses things up with a clever subplot, and doesn’t suffer from Charles Laughton’s uncharacteristically hammy performance. Props to Ray Milland in the original, though.

Bad remake of a good movie

Cat People. The remake can’t hold a candle to the original, with the singular exception of Ed Begley, Jr. getting his arm torn off. Also, High Society is not one-tenth as good as The Philadelphia Story.

I’ve heard this asserted many times, but have never seen the earlier versions (BTW, my sources say the first version was called The Maltese Falcon, too), although I have seen stills. I’d love to see the earlier versions (Dwight Frye as Wilmer!) and judge for myself.
In general, I don’t think remakes are anywhere near as good as the originals, and are usually a lot worse. The exception is that most of the silent originals aren’t as good. I don’t mean things like “Phantom of the Opera”, but things like “The Sea Beast” (Moby Dick).

Some atrocious remakes:

King Kong
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
(twice!!)
**Lost Horizon

A few “why bother” cases:

Psycho
DOA
Night of the Living Dead
That Lady Vanishes

Interesting remakes that did something different:
The Fly
The Man Who Knew Too Much
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Thunderball/Never Say Never Again

The Thing from Another World (1950’s version): Great science fiction film.

John Carpenter’s The Thing- Even better.

FWIW, the new version of Night of the Living Dead isn’t so much a remake as a scene-for-scene reshoot in color. Not sure why they did it, but I like it.

I’m actually not a big remake fan, although the Thomas Crown Affair one was pretty good, as was The Fly.

I have a candidate for bad remake – “It Happened One Christmas” starring Marlo Thomas, a remake of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” C’mon! Though I do think it’s somewhat interesting to change the lead character to female, it’s not enough of an excuse to remake a masterpiece of emotional manipulation. (I generally cry in the opening sequence, these days. :rolleyes: )

The Stewart Granger/James Mason Prisoner of Zenda was a very good remake; I prefer the original but only marginally.

The 1995 Rob Roy was a superb movie; I have not seen the original movie.

Ransom with Mel Gibson and Gary Sinise is a favorite of mine; I didn’t see the original Ransom, but it couldn’t have been much better.

I say that the best candidates for remake are movies whose first versions had good ideas but failed to fully exploit their potential.

With that in mind, the movie I would most like to see remade is Logan’s Run, an obscure '70s sci-fi flick with Michael York and Jenny Agutter, about a hedonistic utopia where nobody is allowed to live past the age of thirty. It is a magnificent movie for about the first two thirds, until the leads escape from the utopia, whereupon the movie’s momentum hits a brick wall and it spends forty or fifty minutes limping to an anemic conclusion. A remake not only would have far superior special effects (in fact, the original’s primitive effects are perfectly good for the time and don’t damage the movie at all), but could improve the denouement fivefold. I think it would be a perfect project for Spielberg.

Danimal (my children love your yogurt, by the way) – I credit Logan’s Run with providing me with a lifelong love of science fiction! I was maybe 12 when I saw it in the theater and simply ate up the concept. Good choice for a remake! The scene where the two runaways stare at the Apollo statue of Abraham Lincoln and marvel, “that must be what it looks like to be old” made a big impression on me.

The remake of Cape Fear with Nick Nolte was pretty good even though I admit that I never saw the original.

Fritz Lang’s Scarlet Street is a darker rendition of Jean Renoir’s La Chienne and although they’re both magnificent, I prefer the noir version better.

There are several versions of The Thief of Bagdad, but Alexander Korda’s remake is still hands down the best. I also find Richard Lester’s The Three Musketeers preferable to the assorted versions before and after.

I prefer George Cukor’s remake of A Star Is Born over the others. I also happen to like Eddie Murphy’s The Nutty Professor (though not its detestable sequel)

I think David Cronenberg’s The Fly is far superior in every way to the original. I also happen to like Philip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, though not as much as Don Siegel’s original. Ditto goes for Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys, which has its moments but is still outdone by Chris Marker’s original short La Jetee IMHO.

Yasujiro Ozu remade several of his own films, most notably Good Morning from I Was Born, But…, and they’re all great.

R.W. Fassbinder’s Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is a very good remake of Douglas Sirk’s classic All That Heaven Allows, adding race to the already complex melodramatics.

Though Aliens is technically a sequel, it is also, for all practical purposes, a remake of the underrated 50s sci-fi film Them!

Other remakes that can’t hold up against the originals: *Cape Fear, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Sorcerer *(remake of The Wages of Fear), You’ve Got Mail, Father of the Bride, Sabrina, Meet Joe Black, City of Angels, The Vanishing, Bedazzled, the birdcage, The Jackel and Point of No Return

Technically, the Boris Karloff “Frankenstein” is a remake of a silent film . . . .

There have been many versions of Shakespeare’s films. Kenneth Branagh’s remakes of “Hamlet” and “Henry V” are both excellent. I also thought Baz Luhrman’s version of “Romeo and Juliet” was probably the best overall (especially the ending). And Ian McKellan’s “Richard III” was better than the silent version. :slight_smile:

Gotta disagree with a lot of the statements here.

James Whale’s/Boris Karloff’s 1931 Frankenstein is not a remake of the Edison company Charles Ogle 1910 version. I’ve got some of the 1910 version, and it’s a period piece that doesn’t seem to be related except through the source material. Technically, the 1931 film is based on Peggy Webling’s play, but that was a period piece, too.
Aliens is emphatically not a remake of Them!. These are vastly different films, although I agree that Them! is underrated.
I’ll take the 1925 version of Thief of Baghdad over Alex Korda’s color film anyday.

Although I like Cronenberg’s The Fly (I always like Cronenberg), I’m impressed with the original, which I don’t think suffers from technical deficiencies. It’s a pretty good film, and somewhat better than the overrated George Langelaan story it’s based on. Cronenberg’s version is very, very different, although based on the same story.

I don’t know that those should be considered remakes, though – Shakespeare’s plays are performance texts to begin with, so multiple film adaptations don’t necessarily owe anything to one another. The same goes for adaptations of literature, except in that case they’re not based on texts intended for performance.

(All that said, I also preferred McKellen’s Richard III to Olivier’s… :D)