Do Remakes Work?-#1

Judging by the reactions, seems Ramu’s Aag, has turned out to be Ramu’s Aargh. And that brings to question, do remakes of popular movies really work. While Bollywood has only recently been into this, Hollywood has been at it for some time.

Hitchcock has been the prime candidate for remakes.  His 39 Steps was remade into a color version in 1959, and it was not as successful as the 1935 version.  Hitch himself remade his 1943 version of The Man who Knew Too Much into a more succesful 1956 version starring James Stewart and Doris Day. Hitch admitted that while the original work was that of an amatuer, the later version was that of a professional. Brian De Palma came up with a pretty gory tribute to his idol Hitchcock in Body Double, a kind of Vertigo meets Rear Window.  Gus Van Sant, remained faithful to Pyscho, but the latter version was a critical and commercial dud.

The other most remade movie seems to be that of An Affair to Remember, which had a Annette Being, Warren Beaty starring in the later version. However that movie was not much of a success. Sleepless in Seattle, did pay tribute to the Cary Grant-Deborah Kerr starrer, albeit with minor changes. Some times we often had a remake of a dud, being an equal dud too, case in point being the Alamo. The 1960 John Wayne version, while it did well, was however a loser, because of it’s high cost, and the 2004 version was a total stinker. Alfie, inspite of Jude Law’s rakish charm, was not able to achieve the critical or commercial acclaim of the original Michael Caine starrer. And so was the 2003 version of the Italian Job, which just did not have the chutpzah of the 1962 Michael Caine starrer.

At times a movie works in it’s original version because of the sheer novelty involved, case being 1972’s Poseidon Adventure. It was  a total camp classic, but was backed up by some excellent performances from Gene Hackmann, Ernest Borgnine and Red Buttons. And the action was rivetting, never mind the cheesy effects. By contrast the 2006 version inspite of it’s spectacular effects was a lumbering sloth, and the movie sank just like the ship.

Martin Scorcese, did a Cape Fear remake in 1991, updating the original Gregory Peck-Robert Mitchum starrer. However De Niro’s over the top, hammy performance was nowhere close to Robert Mitchum’s chilling performance in the original. Though i am a hard core De Niro fan, for me this would be one of his more disappointing performances. Anyway this is a pretty vast topic, so keep looking for some more details to come.


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