18 May 2007

Remaking the Long Good Friday

Having seen some of my favourite British films butchered, I was dismayed to see that there are plans for an American remake of The Long Good Friday, which will transplant the action from the London Docklands to Miami. The news was greeted with dismay yesterday by film writers and historians and comes amid a growing trend to remake British classics in modern US settings.

The Long Good Friday, was originally made by John Mackenzie in 1980, with a cast including Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren in the lead roles. The new version will be directed by Paul WS Anderson, who made Alien v Predator, Resident Evil and Event Horizon, is currently making Death Race, itself a remake.

"The original was a highly praised classic and one of Handmade's most prized films, but its reach was limited primarily to the UK," said Handmade chairman Patrick Meehan yesterday. "Following continued interest from the US, we realised this remake could attract audiences worldwide with an updated setting and contemporary overtones. When Paul presented his creative vision for this project, we were instantly convinced that this is a story that could be successfully refreshed, yet leave the integrity of the original intact."

Anderson said that he was looking forward to working on the new version. "I am delighted to have the opportunity to put a new spin on this classic film, which promises to reveal today's gritty underworld in an equally shocking fashion," he said.

Clyde Jeavons, former curator of the National Film and Television Archive, said of the remake: "It's definitely a mistake. These films are ingrained with that peculiar cultural quality which the Americans don't understand and can't reproduce” He thought the remakes were being commissioned because British films were popular on the US art house and college circuit: "There seems to be some kind of zeitgeist for them."

To be fair remakes sometimes do work (as the Maltese Falcon we know and love was) but in the main they are pointless exercises. Last year’s remake of the Wicker Man was utterly abysmal as was Get Carter, the Italian Job and and Point of No Return (originally Nikita) all spring immediately to mind as exercises in futility. Given that bad remake seems to outnumber the good ones, I would put money on the new Long Good Friday being a turkey...

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Let me be the 1st to apologize for being an American- oh the shame!! 'The LGF' is in the vid collection, love getting a small thrill in asking if the guest viewer wants to witness a pracitcally pre pubescent Pierce Brosnan as a prost-y!!! They usually think their getting some low rent arthouse porn-HA! The best scene isn't til the end when in the back of the car Bob plays a man coming to grips with a new reality -PERFECTLY! Being home all day does have some perks- I've become a total movie slut...that's ok, Burt Lancaster as 'Elmer Gantry' will set me right.
Jen

jams o donnell said...

with sackcloth and ashes I hope Jen!! Hey I'm glad you like the Long Good Friday. I agree his expressions as he realises he is doomed at the hands of teh IRA are great. An excellent scene in deed. my favourite line is the forstbite or verbals one!

Ever see the Cook, the thief...again????

Anonymous said...

Enuf with the Greenaway, already!! Gaah..what is it with you boys and Greenaway? No accounting for taste, I guess.

MOVIE ADDICTS UNITE!
Jen ;)

jams o donnell said...

Hmm Jen, the film had nudity sex and cannibalism and you ask what is it with us boys and Greenaway????

Come on, you know we males are simple creatures!

Pisces Iscariot said...

Films like Nikita and the Ring were remade by hollywood to cater for an audience unable (or unwilling) to read subtitles; indeed, an audience unable to walk and chew gum at the same time.
I guess this audience has now become unable to understand non-american English.
Faakin' bollocks innit?

jams o donnell said...

Ring wwasn't a bad remake but it lacekd something. Insomnia was quite good but all it did was move the action from the far north of Europe to the far north of the USA... In the main I think they are unnecessary. but then I have no problems with subtitles - far better than dubbing!

roman said...

I am just astounded by Hollywood's lack of experimentation with NEW concepts. Sequels are their "safe" favorites. Their motto: it worked the first time so let's profit from a sure bet. This year's line-up of sequels is extraordinarily huge. I just took my elderly mpther to see Spiderman 3. Not having seen #2, she complained that she could'nt make "heads or tails" out of the story plots (there were three). She wants to see Pirates of the Caribean 3 so I better rent #2 and get it over to her right away.

jams o donnell said...

The problem with that is that the sequels are usually shite (there are a few exceptions - Godfather II for example). I see that and Old Boy are being remade for the US screen and Death Race 2000 is being revamped.. So where are the new stories?

Actually I love teh new version fo Battlestar Galactica. That remake (or reimaginis!) works wonderfully....