Saturday, January 26, 2013

5 Classic Movie Remakes in Development


Watch for a second helping of these familiar films on the big screen soon ... or at sometime in the future ... or maybe never.

1. Annie
Remake's Release Date: Unknown 
Mitzi Green as Annie in 1932

The Howard Gray comic strip  about a perky girl from an orphanage first came to the screen in 1932, starring Mitzi Green. There have been other variations on this family-friendly tale in both film and television, including the 1982 Broadway-based, musical version starring Aileen Quinn, which was a big success.

Now in development is another Annie, this time starring Willow Smith, the pint-sized daughter of movie stars Will and Jada Smith, who is a singer in her own right. Though Willow has performed in movies before, this will be her first big-screen starring role. Annie seems the usual early step to stardom which many young girls in show business enjoy on their résumé.


In the Meantime...
For other movies about young orphans who make a positive change in the world around them, watch Anne of Green Gables (1934) with Dawn O' Day aka Anne Shirley, The Little Princess (1939) with Shirley Temple, The Secret Garden (1949) with Margaret O'Brien and Pollyanna (1960) with Hayley Mills. These are all literary adaptations, so the books are available as well.
 

2. Dirty Dozen, The
Remake's Release Date: Unknown
According to Baseline Studio Systems, the Dirty Dozen remake follows,  "A major [who] drafts twelve condemned soldier-prisoners for a dangerous mission." The plot of the remake will be largely similar to its 1967 predecessor, it seems.

Robert Aldrich directed and Lee Marvin stars in the earlier production. No word yet on who is up to bat this time. Screenwriter Zak Penn has been rewriting this one for at least five years. Development limbo seems to please fans of the original. Screen Rant shares its two cents on the subject here: Remake Alert: The Dirty Dozen



In the Meantime...
Watch 4 for Texas (1963) and The Flight of the Phoenix (1965) for other films directed by Robert Aldrich about a group of men making tough decisions.

3. My Fair Lady
Remake's Release Date: Unknown
Audrey Hepburn in publicity still for My Fair Lady


Audrey Hepburn can't catch a break with My Fair Lady (1964).  The actress was cast in a film version of a hit Broadway show when some preferred the stage star - Julie Andrews; was dubbed in the musical when she wanted to use her own vocals; and was snubbed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, some say, for "taking" Ms. Andrews' role.

Nearly fifty years later, Ms. Hepburn gets another kick in the teeth over the same movie when screenwriter/ actress Emma Thompson (who is writing the remake of My Fair Lady) claims the Oscar-winning star of Roman Holiday "can't really act."


My Fair Lady, Alan Jay Lerner's and Frederick Lowe's musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, follows a professor who wagers he can cultivate a flower girl into an accepted member of high society. The remake is set to star Colin Firth as the professor and Carey Mulligan as the fair lady.

Ms. Mulligan, has read the script and says it is "just telling [the same story] in a new era to a new generation of people." Screenwriter Thompson has made the new interpretation about a father who is "selling his daughter into sexual slavery for a fiver."  She continues, "This is a very serious story about the usage of women at a particular time in our history. And it's still going on today."

This film is not coming to the screen any time soon.

In The Meantime...
To get a sense of how Lerner and Lowe's original Eliza (Julie Andrews) would perform the role, listen to the Broadway cast recording. It's superb! Pygmalion (1938) is an award-winning, non-musical predecessor to My Fair Lady; take a gander at Wendy Hiller's spunky performance opposite Leslie Howard.

4. Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The
Remake's Release Date: 2013



James Thurber's short story of a man who spends more time in heroic daydreams than in reality was adapted for the screen in 1947. The film stars the indefatigable Danny Kaye and is produced by Samuel Goldwyn.

Goldwyn and Thurber apparently disagreed with how the film turned out, according to Life Magazine, Aug 18, 1947, page 19, et. seqAccording to Turner Classic Movies, Goldwyn and Sylvia Fine (Kaye's wife and co-writer of her husband's songs) may have had a few disagreements as well.

This time around there might be fewer squabbles, since Ben Stiller is starring in, producing and directing the movie.


In the Meantime...
Read  V. Bartilucci's take on the remake and what it means for fans of the original.

Revisit other Danny Kaye classics where the actor's puppy dog eyes gaze adoringly at Virginia Mayo: Wonder Man (1945), The Kid from Brooklyn (1946) and A Song is Born (1948).

5. Star is Born, A
Remake's Release Date: Unknown

A Star is Born -the story of a woman whose career in entertainment is on the ascent as her husband's career falters- has been remade almost every twenty years since 1937. In the original screenplay, Janet Gaynor and Fredric March turn in perfectly serviceable performances in a straight dramatic telling of the story.

The Judy Garland version in 1954 is the most famous remake and the first to make a musical of the tale.  About twenty years after Garland was nominated for her stirring performance, another (less successful) version was made.

Thus, it seems A Star is Born is overdue for a retelling and Clint Eastwood is here to provide direction. The most famous casting choice associated with this remake is pop star Beyonce Knowles-Carter. The singer/actress has recently dropped out of the project citing scheduling difficulties.

Since Mrs. Carter is a singer and has performed on a stage in every one of her films, it's likely this project is to be a musical version. Without the Grammy-winning songstress, the story might well have a slim chance of returning to its non-musical roots.

However, with this casting in mind, and with Eastwood directing, the filmmakers seem to be eschewing the quiet drama and want to exhibit the Garland style of knock-your-socks-off power.

In the Meantime...
Revisit Janet Gaynor's version. Ms. Gaynor brings an ever-present vulnerability to the role, so (unlike the others associated with this role) you're not always sure that she will bear up under her burdens.

Have you heard of any remakes?

1 comment:

  1. I had no idea some of these remakes were in the works. The thought of some of them make me cringe, but I'm sure the others will be terrific. Thanks for posting!

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