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20 Films Remade by the Original Directors Pt.9

03 Jun

Very nearly down to the last 4 films and their remakes.  I trust you’ve enjoyed the articles as much as I did watching the films and writing about them.  In fact, do yourself a favor and take a look at a few of them, if nothing else.  Get yourself geared up for the next wave of remakes coming soon to the local mega-plex.

I’m confident you’ll have as much fun as I did.

“Remaking the Tinsel in Tinseltown”

Or

“20 Films Remade by the Original Directors”

Part IX

Remake #17

~Director: Roger Vadim~

Original Film: And God Created Woman – “Et Dieu… créa la femme”
Year: 1956
Cast: Brigitte Bardot, Curd Jürgens, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Christian Marquand
Language: French
Country: France
Specs: 95 mins / Color / OAR 2.35:1 – Cinemascope

Film opens with shot of Bardot in the buff, and continues to feature her in revealing clothing, bikinis, nude, and prancing about in the most sexually enticing way.  Little else is needed to be said about this otherwise boring film.  Put some clothes on the woman who earned the term “Sex Kitten” from this film, and you have nothing.  Pointless story of a man who marries a woman known as the town floozy only to have a hard time taming her is without much action, drama, or tension.  In fact, is reeks of Vadim’s similarity to director John Derek (just as Derek made pointless films to showcase his wife’s naked body, Vadim seems to have done the same here with his wife Bardot).

The only thing I could see is that for 1956, this must have sent young men the world over into a frenzy, as this would have been the most titillating thing to hit the screen since the Hayes Code was in effect.

Yawn.

My Rating: *** / C-

Remake Film: And God Created Woman
Year: 1988
Cast: Rebecca De Mornay, Vincent Spano, Frank Langella, Donovan Leitch Jr.
Language: English
Country: United States
Specs: 100 mins / Color / OAR 1.85:1

Wow.  I’m not quite sure why this remake of the 1956 film was made other than to feature steamy gratuitous sex scenes with DeMornay (Vadim’s girlfriend at the time)!  It has ZERO to do with the original, other than there is a steamy blonde woman who likes sex as the lead.  We get a silly setup with a woman escaping out of prison, only to be picked up while hitchhiking by a man running for governor.  He returns her to prison where she sees a janitor and decides to have sex with him.  This begins the very unbelievable story of him marrying her, getting jealous of her, her joining a rock band, having an affair with the governor in running, befriending a little boy who is motherless, trying to avoid returning to jail for breaking parole (not sure how having sex is considered breaking parole?), and gets the crowd dancing and cheering her band on at the governors ball she crashed.  Right.

The chemistry between the two leads is absurd, but not as much as the “story”, or lack thereof.  As with Vadim’s original (where it seemed little more than an excuse to feature Vadim’s spouse Bardot in what then would have been on par with what we’re presented with in this film), it is very apparent that story mattered not in this exploitation film, even though that’s not what it aims to be.  None of the scenes feel connected.  Rather, the story comes across as a number of mini vignettes all strung together to attempt to make sense.

I’m being a little harsh perhaps.  Thankfully the acting wasn’t over-the-top bad (“Insert sarcasm here”).

One thing is for certain.  Cinemax surely has this film in rotation at least twice per week.

My Rating: ** / D

Remake #18

~Director: William Wyler~

Original Film: These Three
Year: 1936
Cast: Miriam Hopkins, Merle Oberon, Joel McCrea, Bonita Granville
Language: English
Country: United States
Specs: 97 mins / Black and White / OAR 1.37:1

It’s rare that a film can get the viewer to truly hate one of the main characters.  Thankfully, Wyler has done just that in this tense, gripping tale of lies, deceit, and gossip, and how those three vices can utterly destroy a persons reputation when used with malice.  Granville is simply amazing in her portrayal of the viciously deceptive and controlling wicked little girl.  (If only this had been in 3D, I could have reached out and slapped her character!)

While hints at the original stage-plays story comes across at the start (the relationship between the women is never clearly defined and is quite vague) the story of the alleged affair with the others fiance is so cleverly written and believable it’s frightening.

It’s no wonder why Granville was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.  I’m dumbfounded why Wyler, screenwriter Lillian Hellman, or any of the other brilliant performers didn’t receive any nominations.  A truly remarkable moment in film.

My Rating: ***** / A-

Remake Film: The Children’s Hour
Year: 1961
Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, James Garner, Miriam Hopkins, Fay Bainter, Karen Balkin, Veronica Cartwright, Hope Summers
Language: English
Country: United States
Specs: 107 mins / Black and White / OAR 1.66:1

This remake of “These Three”, while an entertaining film, doesn’t hold a candle to the original.  For starters, the little girl is no longer portrayed as wickedly evil as she marvelously was in the previous film.  The main reason for that would be the accusations in this film are not entirely unfounded, just simply embellished.  That is where the problem with this film lies.  By doing so, the film loses it’s main antagonist; that being lying, deceitful, maliciously slanderous gossip.  The focal point instead shifts to an implied morality tale that it’s wrong to judge someone because they are gay (which is true, but not what the first film was about).  Having the two characters actually have lesbian sexual attraction between them only hurts the plot (which, as stated, worked better as malicious vindictive gossip and lies), and takes away from the tension found in the original.

My Rating: *** / C+

Back tomorrow for the final post in this 10 part series…

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Posted by on June 3, 2010 in Movies

 

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