Marie, a fellow classic movie fan is guest blogging with her take on remakes of classic films.
Take it away, Marie!
Have you ever been watching a movie and thought, “why does this plot seem familiar?” I don’t mean the endless Christmas movies that all have the same story line. Boy/Girl goes to small town full of Christmas magic, intent on selling/destroying magical Christmas business, falls in love with said small town and said boy/girl, regains love of Christmas, gives up all evil intent and settles in small town to live happily ever after. I mean those movies that are modern adaptions of classic books or plays.
- Clueless. I watched this movie several times before it dawned on me. Emma, by Jane Austen. Much like Austen’s heroine, Cher, who appears on the surface to be a shallow, empty-headed Valley Girl, takes some lumps along her road to true love.
- Lion King. I confess, I always cry at the end of this movie. Nonetheless, I was surprised to learn the plot is loosely based on Hamlet, by William Shakespeare.
- 10 Things I Hate About You. Again, with the Shakespeare. Based on Taming of the Shrew, this modern adaptation has Julia Stiles delivering a slightly more restrained, yet still acid tongued performance as Kate. And Heath Ledger. Need I say more?
- You’ve Got Mail. Did you see the easter egg in this one? Meg Ryan’s bookstore is called the Shop Around the Corner, which is the name of the first move adaption, The Shop Around the Corner (1940) starring James Stewart. The idea was reworked in 1949 as a musical set in the 1900s as In the Good Old Summertime (1949) starring Judy Garland. The basic premise, a play entitled Parfumerie was written by Miklós László in 1937 and is set in Budapest. Enter the internet and voila! Budapest to New York and forward 60 years.
- A Bug’s Life. Surprise - Aesop! The Ant and the Grasshopper, an allegory about the perils of laziness is animated into a tale of good and evil, bullies and heroes, and hard work paying off in the end. And who can resist the little caterpillar who turns into a “beyooootiful butterfly?”
- Hunger Games. Yeah, sorry to disappoint you, but it’s not really an original idea. Battle Royal, Koushun Takami’s 1999 novel about a Japanese dystopian society was adapted for film in 2000.
Some movies take another character or play and build an entirely different movie around it. Here are a couple that come to mind.
- To Be or Not to Be. Hamlet. The first, starring Jack Benny, Carole Lombard and Robert Stack. The second, Mel Brooks and Ann Bancroft. A comedic drama? A dramatic comedy? The movie is both hilarious and edge of your seat thriller.
- Play It Again, Sam. Casablanca. A Woody Allen film based on the play of the same name, it’s about a playwright who conjures Bogey to help him with women.