Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Remakes vs. originals

Back on Sunday, TCM ran a double bill of Too Many Husbands, followed by My Favorite Wife. Neither of them was a remake of the other; it's more that both have pretty much the same story. A person loses their spouse in a shipwreck, and some years later remaries, only for the missing spouse who was legally declared dead to show up quite alive. Complications ensue. It wouldn't be the first such situation in Hollywood; Warner Bros. supposedly rushed Union Depot into production after learning that Grand Hotel was going to be an all-star movie so that Warner Bros. could have their own all-star movie. I'm not sure if I believe that story, which I heard in one of Robert Osborne's presentations, though, as Union Depot was released three months before Grand Hotel. Those two, however, aren't quite as close as Too Many Husbands and My Favorite Wife. All they have in common is a place where a lot of people gather, and a day in the lives of the people gathered there.

The real reason I mention all that, though, is that TCM is showing both an original and its remake in today's lineup, although not back-to-back. Nancy Goes to Rio is on at 3:15 PM, with the original, It's a Date, showing up at 2:15 AM. Boht have the plot of a young woman singing and trying to get a part in a big show, only for it to turn out that her mother is trying out for the same part. And, to make matters worse, they both wind up being pursued by the same man. In the original, the daughter is played by Deanna Durbin; the mother by Kay Francis; and the love interest by Walter Pidgeon. Frankly, I don't know if I like the idea of Walter Pidgeon going after Deanna Durbin, but there you are. The remake has daughter Jane Powell; mother Ann Sothern; and love interest Barry Sullivan, an actor you might best remember from the first section of The Bad and The Beautiful. Sullivan also shows up today in Grounds for Marriage at 1:30 PM, and Her Twelve Men at 6:15 PM.

In and among these movies are several Traveltalks shorts: Beautiful Brazil between Grounds for Marriage and Nancy Goes to Rio; a trip to Singapore and Jahore just after the Bette Davis version of The Letter, or about 9:38 PM; and a display of the Mexican police forces at about 11:50 PM, or just after Man Hunt.

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