Post by Paul S Person Post by Dorothy J Heydt Post by Paul S Person
The remake of /The Stepford Wives/ did something like that.
Post by Paul S Person
The remake, for those who skipped it, plays (to me) as if they had
taken the original film, held it up by its legs, shook it until all
the humor fell out of its pockets, and then used the humor to make
Well, good. Most remakes tend to do the opposite.
1. Bad. This is so much most of them that I /avoid/ most of them.
/Rollerball/. /Total Recall/.
2. Better than the original. /The Thomas Crown Affair/.
3. Different enough to be worth watching: /Night of the Living Dead/,
/The Manchurian Candidate/, /The Stepford Wives/, /War of the Worlds/.
All examples are, of course, IMHO. YMMV.
It can be several years after they come out that I even try watching
them. The number of "bad" examples comes from my habit of consulting
IMDb before doing so. This weeds out a /lot/ of clearly-bad remakes.
I actually rented the original /The Thomas Crown Affair/ and suffered
through it again to confirm that the remake was, indeed, better
The differences don't have to be large, but frame-by-frame remakes
have never attracted me. Mostly they involve rethought characters and
other adjustments. And, of course, in one case, humor.
The difference in /War of the Worlds/ is mostly one of level: in the
George Pal version, we see a Cabinet Official, a two-star General, and
other high-ranking persons. The Spielberg remake is closer to the book
in that we don't see such persons but spend our time with The Rest of
Us. And, of course, it's machines have legs, although the cylinders
the come from in the book and the Pal version are missimg.
The thing about _WotW_ is that every version of it addresses some
fear felt by the author and/or his audience.
Wells's original novel was a protest against colonialism ("how
would you feel it it happened to you?")
Welles's 1938 broadcast played on the listeners' fear of Hitler,
which were not ill-founded.
Pal's film played on the viewers' fear of the USSR, at the
height of the Cold War.
It was followed by a television series (in the 1980s?? I can't
find anything about it on the Web, because there's a new BBC
series coming out and googling "War of the Worlds tv series" gets
a zillion references to it that push all other references off the
screen), which took up where the Pal movie left off; the Martians
weren't all dead, they were just in hibernation and had woken up
and started possessing human bodies. Kind of like the giant
cockroach in _Men in Black I.) It was playing on the viewers
fear of AIDS.
The Spielberg movie was a clone of the 911 attacks, and fear of
what might follow.
I shall have to read up on the BBC series, see what it plays on a
Dorothy J. Heydt
djheydt at gmail dot com