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One— Remakes and Cultural Studies
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Kinds of Remakes:
A Preliminary Taxonomy

1. a) A silent film remade as a sound film: Ben Hur (Fred Niblo, 1926, and William Wyler, 1959); b) a silent film remade by the same director as a sound film: Ernst Lubitsch's Kiss Me Again (1925) and That Uncertain Feeling (1941) or Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1923 and 1956); c) a major director's silent film remade as a sound film by a different major director: F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu (1922) and Werner Herzog's Nosferatu, the Vampire (1979).

2. a) A sound film remade by the same director in the same country: Frank Capra's Lady for a Day (1936) and A Pocketful of Miracles (1961); b) a sound film remade by the same director in a different country


in which the same language is spoken: Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934, England, and 1954, United States); c) a sound film remade by the same director in a different country with a different language: Roger Vadim's And God Created Woman  . . . (1957, France, and 1987, United States).

3. A film made by a director consciously drawing on elements and movies of another director: Howard Hawks's and Brian DePalma's Scarface (1932 and 1983); Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1959) (and Rear Window [1955] and Psycho [1960]), and DePalma's Obsession (1976), Body Double (1984), and Raising Cain (1992).

4. a) A film made in the United States remade as a foreign film: Diary of a Chambermaid by Jean Renoir (1946, France) and Luis Buñuel (1964, France); b) a film made in a foreign country remade in another foreign country: Yojimbo (Akira Kurosawa, 1961) and A Fistful of Dollars (Sergio Leone, 1964); c) a foreign film remade in another foreign country and remade a second time in the United States: La Femme Nikita (Luc Besson, 1990, France), Black Cat (1992, Hong Kong) (thanks to Scott Higgins), and Point of No Return (John Badham, 1993); d) a foreign film remade in the United States: La Chienne (Jean Renoir, 1931) and Scarlet Street (Fritz Lang, 1945) and Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960, and Jim McBride, 1983).

5. a) Films with multiple remakes spanning the silent and sound eras: Sadie Thompson (Raoul Walsh, 1928), Rain (Lewis Milestone, 1932) and Miss Sadie Thompson (Curtis Bernhardt, 1953); b) films remade within the silent and sound eras as well as for television: Madame X (Lionel Barrymore, 1929 [the third silent remake of the silent film]; Sam Wood, 1937; David Lowell-Rich, 1966 [the Lana Turner version]; and, for television, Robert Ellis Miller, 1981 [with Tuesday Weld]).

6. a) A film remade as television film: Sweet Bird of Youth (Richard Brooks, 1962, and Nicholas Roeg, 1989); b) a film remade as a television miniseries: East of Eden (Elia Kazan, 1955, and Harvey Hart, 1981); c) a television series remade as a film: Maverick (Richard Donner, 1994) and The Flintstones (Brian Levant, 1994).

7. a) A remake that changes the cultural setting of a film: The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946, United States, and Michael Winner, 1978, Great Britain); b) a remake that updates the temporal setting of a film: Murder, My Sweet (Edward Dmytryk, 1944) and Farewell My Lovely (Dick Richards, 1975); A Star Is Born (William Wellman, 1937, George Cukor, 1954, and Frank Pierson, 1976); Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur, 1948) and Against All Odds (Taylor Hackford, 1984); c) a remake that changes the genre and cultural setting of the film: The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (Henry Hathaway, 1935) re-


made as a western, Geronimo (Paul H. Sloane, 1939); the western High Noon (Fred Zinnemann, 1954) remade as the science fiction film Outland (Peter Hyams, 1981).

8. a) A remake that switches the gender of the main characters: The Front Page (Lewis Milestone, 1931); His Gal Friday (Howard Hawks, 1941); b) a remake that reworks more explicitly the sexual relations in a film: William Wyler's These Three (1936) and The Children's Hour (1961); The Blue Lagoon (Frank Launder, 1949, and Randal Kleiser, 1980).

9. A remake that changes the race of the main characters: Anna Lucasta (Irving Rapper, 1949, with Paulette Goddard; Arnold Laven, 1958, with Eartha Kitt).

10. A remake in which the same star plays the same part: Ingrid Bergman in the Swedish and American versions of Intermezzo (Gustav Molander, 1936, and Gregory Ratoff, 1939); Bing Crosby in Holiday Inn (Mark Sandrich, 1942) and Holiday Inn (Michael Curtiz, 1954).

11. A remake of a sequel to a film that is itself the subject of multiple remakes: The Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1975) and The Bride (Frank Roddam, 1985).

12. Comic and parodic remakes: Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931) and Young Frankenstein (Mel Brooks, 1954); Strangers on a Train (Alfred Hitchcock, 1951) and Throw Mamma from the Train (Danny DeVito, 1987).

13. Pornographic remakes: Ghostbusters (Ivan Reitman, 1984) and Ghostlusters (1991); Truth or Dare (Alex Kashishian, 1991) and Truth or Bare (1992) (thanks to Peter Lehman).

14. A remake that changes the color and/or aspect ratio of the original: The Thing (Christian Nyby, 1951, black-and-white; John Carpenter, 1982, color and Panavision); Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956, black-and-white and Superscope; Phil Kaufman, 1978, color and 1.85 to 1 aspect ratio).

15. An apparent remake whose status as a remake is denied by the director; Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up (1966) and Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation (1974).

This taxonomy doesn't cross-reference films. Clearly, some could be put in more than one category. The Big Sleep, for example, updates the temporal and cultural settings. In addition, the list doesn't address any number of relevant production and economic aspects: the role of the star as an element in developing the remake (Barbra Streisand and the 1976 A Star Is Born ); variations in advertising, marketing, and distribution practices from period to period, genre to genre, country to country; historical data about the studios' decisions on remaking; comparative financial data on the origi-


nal and remake; issues of acquiring rights; distinguishing among the major and minor studios (e.g., an MGM remake of an MGM picture? a United Artists remake of an Allied Artists picture?); and epochal analyses of remaking practices—for example, comparative data regarding the number of remakes in the period of "classical Hollywood cinema" as opposed to during the sixties and later periods.[6]

Even more problematic, the taxonomy itself doesn't address the issue of adaptation: are there any films in the various categories that can claim a common noncinematic source? If so, is it correct to call a film a remake or a new adaptation (e.g., Madame Bovary, Vincente Minnelli, 1949; Claude Chabrol, 1991)? Are there stages left out between the original and remake, as occurs for example when a play intervenes between the original and the remake (e.g., The Wiz )?

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One— Remakes and Cultural Studies
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