mixed reviews for Cowboy Bebop movie.

also mixed are the reviews for neil jordans The Good Thief, a remake of jean-pierre melvilles Bob Le Flambeur starring nick nolte. can anyone think of one successful (critical or box office) remake? heres an article about melville.
- dave 4-05-2003 1:36 am

Immediately the classic horror films mind; Frankenstein, Dracula (Nosferatu), Phantom of the Opera, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde...All of the original versions were of the silent era. Universal, Hammer, Herzog, Warhol all had great success with remakes.
Then of course there's Far From Heaven, Todd Haynes' remake of Sirk's All That Heaven Allows....
- steve 4-06-2003 7:35 am [add a comment]

I haven't seen TGThief yet, though I'm looking forward to it.

I love Melville--actually, I think he is one of my three or four favorite directors. (Though that list expands the moment I think of limiting it).

The character of Bob le Flambeur is very
specific, one not seen that often in films these days. That is the character of a world-weary, self-made man, who is independent--one who fought on the side of the free french--whose criminal activity might be seen as skilled labor redistributing the spoils of capital, almost on the same order as the sabotage committed during the Resistance.

Though he is without ideology, he is not without honor. His scruples are what sets him apart and above the younger, more expressively neurotic crooks around him. And what is beautifully surprising about BTFlambeur is that the slow movement towards a tragic ending that seems part and parcel of Bob's fate, is subverted. It's kind of fantastical in a way, but in another way, you believe it. In this film, the cliche of cop and robber as friendly antagonists is meaningful.

It will interesting to see what Nolte does with this character, because if anyone should get a crack at playing a "Bob"-like role, it should be him. I think he may not play it as drily as the original "Bob" actor, but maybe that's also a matter of American vs. French style. In fact, maybe we'll see if "Bob" and other "homme dur" Melville protagonists are specifically French types, or if their salient internals can be extrapolated to a broader archetype. Hopefully, we'll get a performance from Nolte that shows us whether or not "Bob" and other Melville-"types" can only exist credibly after the specific historical context of post-world war II France.

He should be able to project a Bob that has some of the same scruples, but is of the post-micro war period. There's
a lot to look forward in that, because TGThief, like other interesting "re-makes," rests on the "dur-ability" of the "Bob" archetype walking and talking, existing in a world different from the one in which he was originally created.
- bunny 4-06-2003 10:35 pm [add a comment]

The early Bogart roles (High Sierra, To Have and Have Not, but even Casablanca) are cited as an American model for Melville's hero-types, but there are big differences, particular they way they interact with women. I'm thinking too of their coldness, their lack of charm and wit, their preference for action over language. Was Melville a fan of Japanese films, perhaps? Or is he too early that?

A new print of Melville's Cercle Rouge recently played in NYC; with its amazingly almost-silent soundtrack. Its title and opening credits are from the Buddha, and it contains the best scene of delirium tremens in memory.Le Samourai is my favorite. Then again, Alain Delon made coldness, lack of charm and wit the sexiest thing on the planet.
- bruno 4-06-2003 11:50 pm [add a comment]

A difference in the sense of women between Melville and some of those American "tough-guys"-- The "tough guys" are depicted as denying their "need" or desire for women, but they do have these impulses and in the end, they sentimentalize them. The "tough-guy" may abuse, but sentimentalizes in the end, and usually also self-denies.

The scene in BLFlambeur in which Bob briefly visits his mother's house speaks to the the way in which Melvilles guys are different from the "tough-guys." He stops there, we see an old woman sweeping. That is what he has deserted. There's a sense that Bob acknowledges her and his origins, her hard work perhaps, but he's in another world now. He gets in his car and moves on.. It's clean, and the scene suggests neither abuse or sentimentality.

Yes, that DT's scene in Cercle Rouge is fantastic, as are so many other incredibly specific details. I saw CR at the FF, and I liked it a lot, but not as much as BLFlambeur, Le Doulos or Le Samourai.

I think that in Le Samourai, Melville comes closest to no dialogue; I remember long stretches of just "ambient" sounds. When I think of the film, I see a man (Alain Delon) walking through his everyday life, except that he happens to be a paid assassin.

I don't know if Melville saw or admired Japanese film, but there are scenes in LS that blend a western expression of Samurai with what I think is a kind of existentialist philosophical core. The scene in which Delon sits on his bed (I think?!)---we see and hear a fly in his room, for what feels like many real minutes. We see and feel his attention, his inattention, the summation of what he does. But it's not a waiting on prey--I don't remember Delon killing the fly. It's a comment on Delon's situation. Delon and the fly just exist in the same universe.

That's something else great about Melville: He never spells everything out.
- bunny 4-07-2003 2:02 am [add a comment]

I liked Point of No Return better than La Femme Nikita (the movie). Bridget Fonda is sexy and Harvey Keitel scary as The Cleaner.

Re the various monster movies:

I've only seen bits and pieces of Herzog's Nosferatu, but is it really better than Murnau's?

Aren't the Morrissey/Warhol films more in the nature of spoofs, or goofs, relative to the Whale and Browning?

I haven't seen the silent Jekyll/Hyde, but the 1932 version with Frederick March is AMAZING--way better than the Spencer Tracy/Ingrid Bergman version.

Speaking of horror and new films, I'm looking forward to Phone Booth, which was pulled from release during the All Sniper All the Time media convulsion. The script is by Larry Cohen, the warped mind behind the Branded and Invaders TV shows in the '60s and a string of great cult films in the '70s and '80s (It's Alive!, God Told Me To, Q, The Stuff).

My only contribution to the Melville discussion is to say I read that Jordan sentimentalized Bob the Gambler and gave it a happy ending or something so I probably won't see it.
- tom moody 4-07-2003 7:12 am [add a comment]

  • I'm sorry to hear that criticism of Jordans' TGThief. I'll probably see it anyway, and I'll probably be disappointed.

    Lately, I've been thinking that "re-make" is less apt a term for these films. Sometimes, attention is called to the fact that they are re-makes, to publicize/legitimize them. But this is happening less and less, because much of today's audience doesn't know the original films, so using familiarity with the original for publicity doesn't work, and legitimization rests on familiarity with the original work: Many folks who are familiar with the original films are taken aback with the idea of tampering with the original.

    Maybe it's more meaningful to think of "re-makes" as films that use the originals as source material. Most use the original material one-to-one, but some use it more artfully. This is done all the time in literature--"Jane Eyre" as the source for "Wide Sargasso Sea" is an obvious example.
    I think Todd Haynes used this literary strategy of using an old work as source material in "Far From Heaven," despite my criticisms of it. Warhol also is in that realm of using the source as a departure point, not a roadmap.

    I could drone on but I have to earn some dollares now. . .
    - bunny 4-07-2003 9:50 pm [add a comment]

    • I think it depends on the film. As you point out, Warhol and FFH use the source material as a departure point. Mabye the Richard Gere Breathless would fall under the moniker of re-make? (It's been 20+ years since I last saw Herzog's Nosferatu but I remember it as being pretty faithfull to the original, just four times as long)
      I like the term "literary stratagy" for these films but in the case of FFH I prefer the label high-concept as I think of Haynes as the gay Oliver Stone.

      - steve 4-07-2003 10:31 pm [add a comment]

heres another expansive essay about melville from senses of cinema.
- dave 4-07-2003 8:37 am [add a comment]

The question was if there had ever been one successful (critical or box office) remake of a movie, not if the remakes were better.
I last saw the silent Jekyll and Hyde (John Barrymore) when I was 12 and I was pretty bored, at the time I thought it paled in comparison to Nosferatu or Phantom of the Opera as well as the Fredrick March version.
- steve 4-07-2003 8:17 pm [add a comment]

  • I took "critically successful" to mean artistically successful (to critics now as well as then), meaning as good or better than the original. Dave, what were you asking?
    - tom moody 4-28-2003 9:06 am [add a comment]

  • I take it to mean that it's generally accepted by critics as being a pretty good movie. Maybe French Connection I & II could be added to the list.
    - steve 4-29-2003 7:12 am [add a comment]

  • critically successful certainly now if not then. and yes, as good or better than the original.

    is french connection 1 and 2 a remake of something or just a sequel?
    - dave 4-29-2003 8:02 am [add a comment]

  • French Connection II is a sequal to French Connection I
    - steve 5-01-2003 6:25 pm [add a comment]

    • Oh yeah, the thread is about remakes not sequals?
      - steve 5-01-2003 6:27 pm [add a comment]

Well, there was a successful American remake of Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, not to mention various Seven Samurai remakes...
- bruno 4-07-2003 10:03 pm [add a comment]

  • Well one unfortunate upcoming attraction on the schlock horizon is Steven Spielberg's sure-to-be-dripping and sopping, re-make of "Ikiru."

    It will be marketed to the middle as a somber meditation on the brevity of life ad nauseum, marketed "high" as a re-make of "Ikiru" and marketed low as an original idea.

    That's one problem with thinking of the many re-makes coming out of hollywood now as utilizing original source as a strategy: Most are made I think, because original ideas are not trusted anymore in h-wood. Even if there's no audience familiarity with the original source, to the backers and the other folks behind the scenes, there's some security in the idea that someone thought it was a good story back in the
    good old days.
    - bunny 4-07-2003 10:47 pm [add a comment]

    • Also, no one in Hollywood has time to actually read a script. (which is constantly going through re-writes) Maybe more of them are on the same page when it comes to pow-wowing an old movie they may or may not have seen.
      - steve 4-07-2003 11:49 pm [add a comment]

just saw an ad for a remake of The In-Laws. looks like a stinker.
- dave 4-29-2003 8:35 am [add a comment]

TCM does remakes, Mondays all month.

As to the original question, the 1941 Maltese Falcon is so much better than 1931, you probably didn't even realize it was a remake.

- alex 12-02-2019 6:53 am [add a comment]

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