"There's nothing new except that which has been forgotten," proclaimed Rose Bertin, Marie Antoinette's milliner. Looks like Hollywood is taking her words to heart, as Patrick Goldstein reports today in his audit of the reboots and remakes clogging the movie pipeline. They include Bob Zemeckis' Yellow Submarine, Steven Spielberg's Harvey and Bryan Singer's Excalibur.
Many classic films -- including John Huston's The Maltese Falcon with Humphrey Bogart and Martin Scorsese's The Departed -- are remakes, the Huston the THIRD version of the Dashiell Hammett story cranked out by Warners in under a decade and the Scorsese a reboot of the Hong Kong actioner Infernal Affairs. His Girl Friday, one of the greatest comedies ever, was Howard Hawks' gender-reversed remake of The Front Page.
Great as some sequels are, I'm not looking forward to the upcoming remakes Fame and Footloose and The Karate Kid. And yet I totally get why audiences want to see classic stories with contemporary actors, for example J.J. Abrams' Star Trek. In this vein, there are very good remakes of The Parent Trap (Hayley Mills and Hayley Mills in the original, Lindsay Lohan and Lindsay Lohan in the remake) and Freaky Friday (Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris in the original, Jamie Lee Curtis and Lohan in the remake). And, goodness knows, Little Women was great with Katharine Hepburn as Jo in 1933 and with Winona Ryder as Jo in 1994.
A lot of the announced remakes are of TV shows. For every small-screen success remade as a big-screen bomb (think Bewitched or Starsky & Hutch) there are surprisingly good updates such as The Brady Bunch and Get Smart.