RARA-AVIS: Re: Remake of Westlake's The Stepfather

From: JIM DOHERTY (jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 16 Aug 2009

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    Re your comment below:

    "pathetic. unnecessary. original was damn near perfect."

    I see your point, and my gut reaction whenever a great movie is remade is much the same as yours.

    Lately, though, my head's been telling me something else.

    A great story's a great story. Does the fact that it's been done really well before truly mean that it should never ever be done again?

    Should, for example, Kenneth Branaugh not have made his own versions of HENRY V or HAMLET because Olivier had already done such superlative film versions back in the '40's? Hal and Hamlet are great parts. Should an actor be denied the chance to play those parts just because Olivier's already turned in such fine performances?

    Should no one every again play Stanley Kowalski just because Brando already made the part so much his own?

    This all occurred to me some years ago when the TV-movie remake of HIGH NOON was broadcast on TBS, using essentially the same Oscar-winning script as the 1952 classic. I hated the idea of HIGH NOON, one of my favorite movies, being remade. But it was free, so I went ahead and watched it.

    Now I certainly wouldn't say the remake was as good as the original. But it was good, and, despite the fact that it used the same script, it took a somewhat different approach to the material. I enjoyed it much more than I expected to.

    If no one ever remade a movie that was done really well the first time, there'd've been no MY FAIR LADY, because the Leslie Howard version of PYGMALION was already so good, no Robert Altman version of THE CAINE MUTINY COURT-MARTIAL, because the Humphrey Bogart version of THE CAINE MUTINY was already so good, no de Palma THE UNTOUCHABLES because THE SCARFACE MOB with Robert Stack was already so good, no HEAT because L.A. TAKEDOWN was salready o good, no Stewart/Day THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH because the Peter Lorre version was already so good, and no THE DEPARTED because INFERNAL AFFAIRS was already so good.

    Lately my attitude toward remakes has become, judge it on its own merits, not on the fact that it's been done before.




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