Getting remade up
Hollywood is in the midst of a remake feeding frenzy unlike anything since the 1970s, when cash-strapped studios rushed crappy desecrations of Old Hollywood chestnuts like Lost Horizon, King Kong and The Champ into theaters.
The current crop doesn’t look any more promising, but as I discussed a couple weeks ago, there are still some films that Hollywood should really consider remaking. Here are five more movies with remake potential, promising ideas that were either botched on contact or unable to stand the test of time:
The Lost Patrol: John Ford’s plodding 1934 potboiler about a British patrol trapped in a desert oasis by unseen assailants was itself a remake of a British silent. A change of setting to modern-day Iraq or Afghanistan might help sand off the rough edges.
Cobb: A probing biopic of the great ballplayer/inveterate racist Ty Cobb could be brilliant, especially in the wake of the moral quagmire of the steroid era, but Ron Shelton’s 1994 film was just Tommy Lee Jones blathering in old-age makeup.
The Plainsman/Thunder Road: Two “classics” that should be more fun than they are. Cecil B. DeMille’s 1936 The Plainsman tosses Wild Bill Hickok, Abraham Lincoln, Buffalo Bill Cody and George Custer into a revisionist history stew, but it’s soured by a stupid script. Thunder Road is about a war veteran who takes over the family moonshine business, a solid concept strangled by Arthur Ripley’s flat direction.
Capricorn One: The central idea to this 1977 thriller is rock-solid—a crew of astronauts compelled to fake a mission to Mars become expendable when their unmanned probe crashes live on television—but director Peter Hyams’ execution is paunchy and utterly lacking in logic and continuity.
Should any of the 10 films I listed get the green light, don’t forget to cut me a check.