20 Films Remade by the Original Directors Pt.2

25 May

If you read yesterday’s post, you are obviously anxiously waiting to see what the remaining 18 films are that I chose to watch and write about.  In my search I found that there were many more films that have been remade by the original director than the 20 (40 actually) I have chosen to write about.  You’ll have to do your own query if you are interested in those!  The article I am writing (or articles, as you would) came about after it was announced that director David Cronenberg was going to remake his own film “The Fly”, and director Géla Babluani was going to be doing the same for his very well made film “13 Tzameti”.  In a sense, this news from Hollywood was welcome, as opposed to the current trend of directors to simply “revisit” the film and “fix” it with today’s computer graphics.

It was this reason that I decided to write the article for you today.  I welcome your comments, and any feedback you have regarding the films.  Now, without further ado, I present to you:

“Remaking the Tinsel in Tinseltown”


“20 Films Remade by the Original Directors”

Part II

Remake #3

~Director:  Boaz Davidson~

Original Film:   Eskimo Limon
Year:  1978
Cast:  Yftach Katzur, Anat Atzmon, Jonathan Sagall, Zachi Noy, Ophelia Shtruhl
Language:  English Dub
Country:  Israel
Specs:  95 mins. / Color / OAR 1.85:1

Really?  A Golden Globe nomination for this film?  The film is an Israeli teen sex-comedy set in the 50’s, dubbed into English.  Typical to most other teen sex comedies, story revolves around a group of young men in their quest to get laid.  The film opens up with a group of boys all measuring each others “units” to see who is the smallest.  Big scene involves a local woman who “beds” a group of boys, one after the other, as the others watch through the keyhole on the bedroom door.  We see it all, from their POV, mind you.

An annoying aspect of this film is that it’s nearly wall-to-wall 50’s music underneath, with little room for ambience sound.  A little overbearing to the senses.

How this film differs from others of the genre, however, is the consequences that come from their “conquests”.  They all contract a VD, one of the teen girls who loses her virginity to one of the boys gets pregnant, and he abandons her.  The other friend, who truly loves her, comes to her side and supports her through an abortion.  Sadly, the repercussions from that act never surface.

Moreover, different from most other of these pointless films, is the ending.  It is not a happy “all the boys are lucky” ending.  The ending was a sad, yes, but also added a believable touch that gave this film a little higher than mind-numbingly dumb status.  Barely.

My Rating:  ** / D

Remake Film:  The Last American Virgin
Year:  1982
Cast:  Lawrence Monoson, Joe Rubbo, Diane Franklin, Louisa Moritz
Language: English
Country:  United States
Specs:  92 mins. / Color / OAR 1.85:1

An updated remake of Eskimo Limon.  Boaz Davidson changed the location from 1950‘s Israel to modern-day Los Angeles, and changed some minor elements to the script.  In doing so, he made a much funnier, better timed film about the same silly subject.  Why Boaz decided to add cocaine use, marijuana use, and DUI as normal and accepted, however, is sad.  I can only surmise that at the time the film was made, these were the “chic” elements of a party in the LA scene.

For the sake of protecting any families (although if you haven’t figured it out by now, you’re….never mind) from sitting down and watching these films that I’m reviewing together on “Family Film Night”, let me notify you that there is loads of nudity and sexual situations, with a hefty portion of adult language thrown in.  Just like its earlier version, the film has some positive elements to it, doesn’t end on a positive note, and displays some repercussions for the decisions people make.  Unfortunately, Davidson only chooses to handpick some of those consequences, leaving others standing at the closed door.  Too bad.  That, and the (as was the case with the previous version) wall-to-wall music (this time the 80’s are featured) just detract too much from the overall enjoyment of this film.

My Rating: *** / C

Remake #4

~Director:  Cecil B. DeMille~

Original Film:  The Ten Commandments
Year:  1923
Cast: Theodore Roberts, Charles De Roche, Estelle Taylor, Richard Dix, Julia Faye, Rod La Rocque
Language: English
Country:  United States
Specs:  146 mins. / Black and White & Technicolor / OAR 1.33:1 (4×3)

This early silent picture is a wonderful spectacle of a film that suddenly shifts halfway through and becomes a modern morality tale.  The sets for the biblical story of Moses are phenomenal, complete with thousands of extras all dressed in meticulously designed costumes.  The way DeMille tells the story of how Moses received the commandments is very clever for a silent film, and other special effects such as the burning bush, the parting of the Red Sea, and the fire that separated the Hebrews from the Egyptians are all very well done, rivaling some of the effects seen in films decades later!

The bible story, while not entirely biblically accurate, also is very tense and intriguing, keeping the interest throughout.  Granted the shift from the story of the Hebrews worshipping the golden calf to the modern story was a bit alarming, leaving the desire to see more of the biblical tale burning inside.

Unfortunately, the morality tale second half doesn’t hold up well, complete with what is now a very clichéd storyline, and overacting hamminess at it’s “finest”.  In perspective, I’m sure it was a very gripping tale of vices and how they can have a devastating effect on not only ourselves, but on others around us.

Overall an enjoyable film.  If only Hollywood movies today were made with the tangible sets and grandiose splendor on display here…

Oh well, I guess that’s another blog.

My Rating: *** / C

Remake Film:  The Ten Commandments
Year:  1956
Cast: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo, Debra Paget, John Derek
Language: English
Country:  United States
Specs:  220 mins. / Color: Technicolor / OAR 1.85:1 VistaVision

This remake of the 1923 version is more grandiose, more vibrant, more extravagant, and much longer.  DeMille took his black and white 4×3 film, and turned it into a Technicolor VistaVision marvel.  Right from the start, we are witness to perhaps the longest opening credit sequence at that time, and made aware that having many different writers on the script is not new to today’s movies.  Scenes such as the introduction of the Ethiopian ambassador’s, to the celebration of the Golden Calf worship show that DeMille spared no expense when deciding to display the vibrant colors of 3-Strip Technicolor.  The sets are simply lavish and beautiful, with the Special Effects equally as impressive.  The acting, however, is ham-fisted, and hokey throughout.

Deciding to focus on the story of Moses entirely, instead of including the modern day morality tale was welcome, and the attention to detail is something many filmmakers today ought to pay heed to.  Without question, this version of the film is THE version to see.  It’s witnessing films such as this that makes the notion that DeMille was a visionary believable.

An entertaining film, to be sure.  Easy to see how it’s regarded as one of the biggest events in motion picture history!

My Rating: **** / B

Back tomorrow for part 3…

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Posted by on May 25, 2010 in Movies


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