Friday, November 28, 2008

10 Movies that should be remade and why

There has been a saturation of remakes in the past decade and three of my picks are among these remakes that never really capitalized on the possibilities of the original:
1. Around the World in 80 Days (1956): The 2004 remake was a Jackie Chan film with his combination slapstick martial arts comedy geared towards kids. Movies are sometimes worth remaking if they can update the plot and I can envision a modernized version of this film where 80 Days could be compressed to 8 days (perhaps, 8 days without an airplane?). The story is a great one with a lot of potential: It invokes the thrill of the chase, has room for lots of fun cameos and can be more visually stunning with advances in cinematography.
2. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963): Another film that centers around the thrill of the chase, Stanley Kramer's film that starred one of the greatest comedic ensembles had a certain social value to it (theme: when there's enough money on the line, people sacrifice their morals). The film was made purely for comedic value in 2001 but I would like to see it done again with more pathos.
3. Charade (1963): A combination thriller and continental comedy based around a May-December romance, Charade was as elegant as it was entrancing. The film was remade in 2002 in a Mark Wahlberg-Thandie Newton vehicle called "The Truth About Charlie" but failed mostly due to miscasting the leads. With the right setting and good casting, the film has the opportunity to be popular again since the storyline is so solid. Like "Rat Race" the name of the original film wasn't used which opens the door for a more officially branded remake.
4. Wait Until Dark (1967): Speaking of Audrey Hepburn films, this film about a blind woman who slowly works her way out of a dangerous situation has the potential to be a great thriller with an economy that few films are able to pull off today. Like a play, the drama is mostly confined to one room but the challenge of filming Point-of-View shots from a blind person's perspective during climactic scenes could lead to stroles of brilliance.
5. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969): This seems like an easy enough film to be geenlit considering that reinventing original Bond titles is in vogue and the original never quite reached its full potential considering Sean Connery was replaced in the lead role with a man half his ability. The film could easily be inserted into the new Daniel Craig James Bonds because of its emotional core, allow the chance for
6. Sabetour (1942): Hitchkock wasn't just responsible for creating some of the best genre-defining thrillers of his day but his filmography also has a pretty deep bench of sleeper hits. That's why a golden ticket here would be to stay away from the ones that are so well-known and look for the hidden gems among them. Rebecca and Family Plot are two films that come to mind, but I will go with Sabetour. It has the classic innocent-man-forced-to-turn-in to-hero plot that Hitchcock replicated with "39 Steps" and "North by Northwest," but it is far less well-known and contains some of Hitchcock's greatest scenes: The Statue of Liberty fight, the man escaping into the movie theater, the protagonist trying to fool a blind man. It also has some political undercurrents that reminded me of the most previous election in which the words "socialist" and "communist" being thrown about.
7. The Freshman (1925): Harold Lloyd was a silent comic who outsold Charles Chaplain (and Buster Keaton for that matter) at the box office but is far less known today. One of his best films is about a nervous kid on his way to college who ends up going through a set of trials and tribulations that lead him to making the winning plays on a football team and impress the girl he likes. I've always been curious to know how this film might fare with sound and have a feeling that in the right hands it could transcend the cheap high school comedy genre.
8. The Towering Inferno (1972): Firemen have been glamorized since 9/11 and remakes of disaster films have proven to be pretty effective since "Perfect Storm" and "Poseidon" entered the scene. The original Towering Inferno had an all-star cast including Fred Astaire and William Holden, and it earned an Oscar nomination for best picture. A disaster film would never be in contention these days which means this film really needs to be recognized
9. Salt of the Earth (1954): A film about striking workers in New Mexico, the backstory is equally as interesting. It was made by the original members of the Hollywood 10 who refused to answer questions before congress and got blacklisted from Hollywood. I would like to see a remake that might even incorporate some more of this backstory, since the subtext is fairly obvious that the makers of the film have everything in common with the strikers they're portraying.
10. Lost Horizon (1937): Like Hitchcock and suspense, it would be great to bring back the lost idealism of a Capra film. His most complex film, in my opinion, was one of his earliest ones that was also one of the few films of its day to borrow far Eastern philosophy. Lost Horizon explores the universal questions of whether paradise exists on Earth and whether we'd be skeptical if we found it.

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