Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Remakes return

Not that you needed yet another example of Hollywood's unoriginality, but TCM is concluding its day of Red Skelton movies with yet another remake, The Clown, overnight at 4:00 AM ET (on the 20th). If the story sounds familiar, it's probably because this is a remake of an earlier MGM classic, The Champ, only with the setting changed from the boxing ring to the circus ring.

But wait! When they say, "Remake of The Champ", don't they mean that Ricky Schroeder movie? Well, sure, that too; and since that movie is also called The Champ, and more recent, it's probably the better-known of the remakes. And the sad thing is, having two remakes is nothing special. The Champ is by no means the first Hollywood film to get a third version, and certainly won't be the last. A Star Is Born was remade in the 1950s and 1970s just like The Champ, although the "original" William Wellman version of A Star Is Born isn't even that original, since it shares a lot in common with an earlier movie called What Price Hollywood. I've mentioned before that It Happened One Night was remade in the 1940s and 1950s.

As for not being the last, there are rumors that the Richard Pryor comedy Brewster's Millions is going to be remade -- again. The Pryor version wasn't the first; it was mentioned at the time of release that it was a remake of a 1945 comedy. But, that's only partly true. There were a few silent versions of Brewster's Millions, and even a British talkie from the early 1930s. Apparently, if Brewster's Millions does get remade, it will be the eighth version.

And spare a thought for Lana Turner's Madame X. It was a remake of multiple Hollywood pictures of that title, and a whole slew of foreign silents of a story that first came out at the beginning of the 20th century. Not only that, but it almost spawned an entire genre, as Helen Hayes' Oscar-winning movie, The Sin of Madelon Claudet, is not much different from all those Madame X's out there.

No comments: