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Would you want a remake of something you like to fix mistakes?

The Wolf

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2,153
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Santa Rosa, Calif
Period films tend to have some anachronisms. Many have been pointed out on this forum. Sometimes we'll let it slip by like Indiana Jones' bag from 1941 that he carried in the 1930s.
I loved "Tales of the Gold Monkey" when it was on tv but I wouldn't mind a remake. Were they to do it, Jake's jacket shouldn't have the hand warmer pockets. They could change dates so that either it doesn't take place in 1938 with Jake and Corky having been in the Flying Tigers in 1936/1937.
The Abominable Dr. Phibes" takes place in the 1920s but has many elements from the 1930s. A remake could take place in the '30s without changing much and the murders could follow the plagues closers (gnats instead of bats). Although following Vincent Price is a tough act.

Is there anything retro that you liked the original but wouldn't mind a remake to be more accurate?

Sincerely,
The Wolf
 

Stanley Doble

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I don't know if it would be possible to make a remake accurate enough to please someone who nit picks every detail.

The answer might be to watch old movies. Charlie Chan movies from the thirties and forties, that are set in the thirties and forties. Or old horror pictures. A movie set in 1936 and made in 1936 wouldn't have any 1937 artifacts in it.
 

Edward

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23,696
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London, UK
I'd like to see a remake of Breakfast at Tiffany's, or, more to the point, another run at it that stayed true to the source material, in particular not butchering the ending for the sake of some moronic Hollywood "happily ever after" conceit.
 

The Wolf

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Stanley Doble, I'm not sure if you are saying if someone watches The Way We Were they should just enjoy the movie and not worry about hairstyles etc. that are the wrong period or people should watch the original serials instead of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Either way it doesn't answer the question but are still good points to consider.

Sincerely,
The Wolf
 

MikeKardec

One Too Many
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1,148
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Los Angeles
Being sort of in the remake, update, adaptation business, I might take a moment to see how some of my ethos sounds in print ... the only way you really discover what you want to say or how you think is to air it in public!

The original is always there and is not removed by any sort of redo. Just because Ford makes a retro-ish Mustang does not make the actual '69s disappear from the road. You can buy or appreciate which ever version strikes your fancy. Same with, say, the remake of True Grit or the original. So no damage is actually done. Which one you LIKE is up to you.

Movies have gone through a strange metamorphosis, in many cases the look of many movies made in the last 20 years is significantly more historically accurate than in earlier periods, unless, of course the original was actually made in the right period. Getting it right is still expensive and things like the 1960s Swiss backpacks still show up in TV shows like Klondike ... but hey, I used a Swiss pack in a TV film about the 1950s, they look great and you can't get your costume department to make the right prop bag as easily as they can turn out repro tuxedos!

When it comes to THE STORY there is really no reason to remake something unless you think you can do a better job. Sometimes you can serve a new and different audience, sometimes you can explore new values, sometimes you have more money or different rules of engagement. BUT, especially in a collaborative medium like film, sometimes the process gets away from you and you JUST SCREW IT UP. Too many cooks, a couple of slightly off judgements calls, and you've blown it. Films get off track for the smallest of reasons and then you can't get the behemoth turned around and headed in the right direction fast enough to make a difference. You're done shooting before you can identify and repair the problem.

But then life wouldn't be interesting if you couldn't make mistakes.

My business deals with going from literature to film or radio drama or comic books. With literature, because the reader's imagination is so engaged, you can NEVER do as good a job in, say, film if you try to match their reading experience. Imagination is just too individual. When dealing with remaking a classic film, you run the risk of hitting a wall created by the perceptions of the audience when they first saw it. That movie, when it was new to them, made an impact that the same thing done over exactly would not make the second time ... so a good filmmaker, if allowed by god or the studio, will/should try to do something different with it. You can never satisfy an audience member who is hooked on memory or imagination unless you do it different and do it well. Half the time people complain about changes in an adaptation it's not because it was different ... it's because it wasn't done well.

A TV show like Tales of the Gold Monkey (which I admit I've only seen a couple of) made with modern Cable TV production values, modern writing, modern casting, would be very interesting. If I was attacking it ... it might be humorous, the silliness would be gone, it would be serial in form rather than episodic and the oncoming war would loom over whatever narrative was being followed. The important thing to remember would be that while all were aware they lived in a world exploding with diplomatic tensions, no one knew exactly who was going to end up fighting whom and over what. Good stuff, but then my dad wrote south seas "air stories" in the early 1940s so I'm inclined to like the genre!

It's funny, few have a conniption fit when a band does a dull cover of a classic song, few claim they have "ruined" it.
 

Stanley Doble

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Stanley Doble, I'm not sure if you are saying if someone watches The Way We Were they should just enjoy the movie and not worry about hairstyles etc. that are the wrong period or people should watch the original serials instead of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Either way it doesn't answer the question but are still good points to consider.

Sincerely,
The Wolf

If anachronisms bother you that much, just watch old movies made in the time they represent. I don't know why this is such a hard concept to grasp.

Does it really bother you that much if a movie set in 1936 shows a housewife hanging clothes on a line using clothespins invented in 1937? All right, watch a movie set in 1936 and made in 1936 and that won't happen.
 

Stanley Doble

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Here is something that has never been done, that could be done without too much trouble. Take a silent movie and give it a new sound track. Find a lip reader, write dialog that fits the lip movements of the actors. Put traffic noises in the street scenes, and other sound effects as appropriate. Music of the period. I know they do this kind of thing all the time with new movies. It would be expensive and I doubt you could copywrite it so I don't suppose it will ever be done but I think it would revive many an old movie and make it more enjoyable.
 

vitanola

I'll Lock Up
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Gopher Prairie, MI
Here is something that has never been done, that could be done without too much trouble. Take a silent movie and give it a new sound track. Find a lip reader, write dialog that fits the lip movements of the actors. Put traffic noises in the street scenes, and other sound effects as appropriate. Music of the period. I know they do this kind of thing all the time with new movies. It would be expensive and I doubt you could copywrite it so I don't suppose it will ever be done but I think it would revive many an old movie and make it more enjoyable.


I don't know. I can think of a picture with a new sound track "Four Sons" which is beautifully recorded, but not as effective as the original Movietone "Score with Effects".

I find anachronisms annoying only when the picture is not sufficiently involving, or when they are just blatantly stupid, like the Guild Grafonola Hi-Fi playing an LP in the 1929 apartment of Jean Dujardin.



Oh! Come on!

I've done a fair amount of set design, and have from time to time rented props for stage and film. I understand how difficult it is to get all of the details perfect, but the egregious errors suggest that the folks doing the scenic design just didn't care enough to either educate themselves or to enlist the assistance of someone who knows their stuff.
 

LizzieMaine

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Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
The French director Abel Gance did the post-synch sound dubbing routine with his masterpiece "Napoleon," filmed as a silent in 1927, and dubbed with sound in 1934. In most cases the original actors were used to voice the parts, and they spoke the dialogue Gance had actually had them speak while filming the silent footage.

Although the sound version is chopped way down from the original -- it runs about two and a half hours compared to over four hours for the silent version -- it's supposedly not as bad as it sounds. I've seen a bit of it in a version with English subtitles overlaid, but it's no substitute for the original full-length silent -- which remains the single greatest experience I've ever had in a theatre.

Gance couldn't stop frigging around with "Napoleon." In the early 1970s he shot new footage of himself as Saint-Just and spliced it into the 1934 sound version. He had played the part in the original film, and didn't think there was any reason why he couldn't reprise the role nearly fifty years later. He was mistaken.
 

Stanley Doble

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Sometimes I have to remind myself I am watching a show not a documentary. I can overlook a fake set, or props. What I can't overlook is something that breaks the illusion, like using 2010 slang in a movie set in 1890.
 

LizzieMaine

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Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
The way I see it, if I'm sitting there fussing over minutiae like the length of a hemiline or the width of a hat brim, the writer, the director, and the actors aren't doing their job.

The one thing that does set me off, though, is the sight of a fifty-star American flag in any scene set before 1960. That's such an easy detail to get right, but so very many movies and TV shows get it wrong. It's not an honest mistake, it's a lazy, stupid mistake.
 

MikeKardec

One Too Many
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1,148
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Los Angeles
The way I see it, if I'm sitting there fussing over minutiae like the length of a hemiline or the width of a hat brim, the writer, the director, and the actors aren't doing their job.

You got it! If it's good to begin with no one complains. You also nailed Gance, he re-edited and recreated like he was the previous incarnation of George Lucas.

Some remarkably contemporary dialog is actually period authentic ... I'm sure we are not thinking of the same stuff but I'm always looking things up and discovering that the term or phrase is distinctly older than I thought.
 

DNO

One Too Many
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1,815
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Toronto, Canada
The French director Abel Gance did the post-synch sound dubbing routine with his masterpiece "Napoleon," filmed as a silent in 1927, and dubbed with sound in 1934. In most cases the original actors were used to voice the parts, and they spoke the dialogue Gance had actually had them speak while filming the silent footage.

Although the sound version is chopped way down from the original -- it runs about two and a half hours compared to over four hours for the silent version -- it's supposedly not as bad as it sounds. I've seen a bit of it in a version with English subtitles overlaid, but it's no substitute for the original full-length silent -- which remains the single greatest experience I've ever had in a theatre.

Gance couldn't stop frigging around with "Napoleon." In the early 1970s he shot new footage of himself as Saint-Just and spliced it into the 1934 sound version. He had played the part in the original film, and didn't think there was any reason why he couldn't reprise the role nearly fifty years later. He was mistaken.

I saw Gance's silent version of Napoleon years ago. Though a tad hesitant about sitting through a 4 hour silent film, albeit with orchestral accompaniment, it turned out quite well. The film is so well crafted that the four hours slipped by quite quickly, although I still remember the nasty stiff neck I had at the end! Worth the stiff neck, however.
 

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