The original is usually better

0
668

My general thinking about remakes, when I think about them at all, is: The original is usually better.
But I saw a movie the other night that is seriously in need of a good remaking. It was “The Lady in the Lake,” from the Raymond Chandler novel. The idea was kind of cute, but it got to be tiresome. You saw everything through Phillip Marlowe’s eyes — literally. Marlowe is Chandler’s private eye.
You saw him only when he went by a mirror.He is played in the picture by Robert Montgomery, a quite ordinary actor at best, and certainly miscast in this role. A remake is called for, asap. That would be nothing new. All of Chandler’s six novels have been made into movies, some of them several times.
“The Big Sleep” had Humphrey Bogart in the Marlowe role. Many years later it was reshot With Robert Mitchum. Earlier Mitchum would have been the perfect Marlowe, but he was too old this go-round.
“Farewell My Lovely” was called  ”Murder My Sweet” in the movie because it starred Dick Powell in his first tough guy role, and they were afraid that, with a name like “Farewell My Lovely” people might think it was just another frothy little musical, of which Powell had made dozens up to that time. Mitchum again in a remake and, again, too old.
“The High Window” came to the screen as ‘The Brasher Doubloon,” with another Montgomery, George, as the private eye. I’ve never seen it, but I would like to. “The Little Sister” came to the screen as just “Marlowe,” starring James Garner. Not a bad choice at all, although they messed up the ending, as they have with all Chandler’s books,
“The Long Goodbye” was a terrible misuse of fine talent. Elliott Gould, totally misplayed the part, or maybe his director made him. Anyway, a disaster.
Another book that could be remade now with more honesty, perhaps, is James M. Cain’s “Serenade.” Remember? The main character is a singer. Mario Lanza filled the bill in that regard, but otherwise, the whole thing is almost unwatchable, especially if you have read the book, which is beautifully done.
Hollywood also messed up the ending on the remake of “The Postman Always Rings Twice.” The whole point was that the guy got away with murder, free as a bird. Then, was sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit.
So when it comes to remakes, let “State Fair” be an example of how the original (musical) version is so much better than the copycat. One shudders.
Bob Sanders is a veteran local radio personality, columnist, author and raconteur of note. He can be reached at bobbypsanders@gmail.com.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here