Thursday, March 9, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks #139: Remakes and Sequels

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of the Thursday Movie Picks Blogathon, run by Wandering Through the Shelves. This week's edition is Remakes and Sequels. I'm going to post about some movies with interesting characters and endings, where I've wondered what happened to the characters after the ending.

Night Nurse (1931). Barbara Stanwyck plays a nurse who treats a gangster (Ben Lyon) and then gets a private nursing job taking care of two kids in a rich lady's house. She discovers that the chauffeur (Clark Gable) is having the kids slowly starved to death so that he and his pals can inherit the trust fund; the mother is kept downstars drunk so she doesn't see what's going on. The movie winds up with Stanwyck and her boyfriend having saved the day in a rather shocking way. Also shocking is the Stanwyck mentions to Lyon that the maid is going on about giving the kids a milk bath, and in the next scene you see Lyon doing a smash-and-grab at a dairy!

Red-Headed Woman (1932). Jean Harlow plays a brazen hussy who decides she's going to marry her way into polite society. She marries Chester Morris, but the marriage doesn't go so well; all the time she's carrying on with the chauffeur (a very young Charles Boyer). The movie ends with her having divorced Morris, moving to France, and having a relationship with a rich Frenchman -- and Boyer still as her chauffeur. There's also a shocking scene when Morris slaps Harlow:

Casablanca (1943). Every time I think about Casablanca, I think about the Simpsons parody of the ending. Bart and Lisa are using a metal detector, and find an old movie reel labelled "Casablanca alternative ending, which they take to Grampa and his elderly friends:

As Bart points out, the ending leaves things open for a sequel.


joel65913 said...

I'd love to see all those sequels! Night Nurse really deserves to be better known, watching it now it's very bold even for a pre-code. I can only imagine the milksop the censors would have made of it after the implementation of the code.

Harlow is a riot in Red-Headed Woman. It's easy to see how it changed the course of her career. Even if she was inevitably softened in Red Dust and moving forward she kept that brassy edge that made her stand out from the crowd. Lil Andrews is a fabulous grabber but long range her character would have limited Jean without a smoothing of the edges. But I can see Lil moving through Cafe Society man by man.

Casablanca is such a perfect creation I'm not sure a sequel might not have dampened its magic. There was some studio scuttlebutt during the 40's considering a sort of sequel with most of the cast but without Ingrid Bergman-Geraldine Fitzgerald is the name I read as the substitute-called Brazzaville that ultimately went nowhere. As much as I love Geraldine Fitzgerald I doubt that the film would have had the desired effect.

This has been a fun week looking at what different films everyone wants to see extended or reworked. Since we had multiple choice on the theme I went with the remake & sequel options. Sequel first:

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)-Sequels are tricky affairs usually a lesser shadow of the original but occasionally as with Aliens it works out well so I’m usually hopeful. Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a stylish, fast paced affair with a terrific vintage look and relaxed, enjoyable performances from the three leads and Hugh Grant as their wry boss. It didn’t perform as well as expected so this probably won’t happen which is too bad since it was a more realistic adventure with less reliance on CGI than most current actioners.

And two remakes:
I’m not much for remakes of classics, what’s the point? You can’t improve on perfection so unless a new perspective or element can be added leave well enough alone. My first is an example of adding a different element. However sometimes a good idea receives faulty execution, occasionally even the best filmmakers stumble and then I say have at it. That would be my second.

8 Women (2002)-This French musical mystery farce is a one of a kind concoction, wonderfully entertaining with a cast full of the best feminine Gallic cast of the day (Catherine Deneuve, Fanny Ardant and Isabelle Huppert among them). It would have been hard for it to turn out better. But since women’s films and musicals are thin on the ground despite the abundance of talent available an American remake would be great to see especially since the cast runs across all adult age brackets, hell it even has a custom made role for Angela Lansbury as the matriarch.

Topaz (1969)-Every great director has a lemon in their filmography, this exercise in boredom is Alfred Hitchcock’s. Sluggish to the point of ennui and indifferently acted it was difficult to get through even once. The thing is the basic story, a Russian agent defects and during his interview tells of another supposedly friendly country’s spy ring that is selling high risk secrets to the highest bidder, is a good one and has great potential to be made into an excellent film. If the studios feel the need to remake the Master’s work than start with this fumble and not one of his successes.

Birgit said...

I have seen Casablanca but not the other 2 which I always wanted to see and this just makes me want to see it all the more. Love the Simpsons outtake and the killing spree for Its A Wonderful Life would be best left alone:)

pilch92 15andmeowing said...

Night Nurse would make a good remake. I haven't seen it, but it sounds interesting.