Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Oh, Puhlease....

Rumor has it that Johnny Depp plans to star in a remake of THE THIN MAN (1934).

I'm sorry, but there's only one Nick and Nora Charles -- yes, I know there was a TV version -- and it would be smart if Mr. Depp were to instead turn his talents toward a more original project.

There's no script yet, so hopefully this idea will go the way of the planned ROCKFORD FILES remake which apparently is unlikely to ever make it to the airwaves.


Blogger VP81955 said...

Who knew including clips of "Manhattan Melodrama" in "Public Enemies" would lead to this? And what actress of today could pull off playing Nora?

My one primary worry here is that the producers would try to update the Charleses to appeal to today's multiplex crowd. We would consequently end up with a Nora who can do karate chops a la Emma Peel, and an Asta with attitude (a pit bull?). Oh, and don't forget the prerequisite explosion.

6:15 AM  
Blogger Raquel Stecher said...

Not to be contrary, but clean up Johnny Depp a bit and he looks a bit like William Powell! I was surprised to hear the news. I didn't think they would drag out The Thin Man for a remake. Although we have had cultural references in the past few years to the movies, especially with Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist and there being a Thin Man in the Charlie's Angels movie. I remember Nick and Nora being mentioned in a TV show too but I can't remember what.

I'm interested to see that new Mildred Pierce remake. I like Kate Winslet but I think they are going to take that in a whole other direction from the original.

6:55 AM  
Blogger DKoren said...

They need to STOP with this kind of stuff! Utterly sick of the attempts to remake everything under the sun.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks to all of you for your comments!

Since posting this, I've been pondering why this and some other remakes bother me...after all, I'm always interested to see the latest "take" on Jane Austen, Shakespeare, or other older classic material such as JANE EYRE, LITTLE WOMEN, or ROBIN HOOD -- even though I feel many of those stories have already been done perfectly. (For instance, I believe that THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD is one of the most all-around superb movies ever produced in the Golden Era.) I raised my eyebrows when I heard about a MILDRED PIERCE remake, but like Raquelle, I enjoy Kate Winslet and am curious about what the movie's perspective and style will be. And although he doesn't star in many films that interest me, I have respect for Johnny Depp's chameleon-like talent.

I think my discomfort is from two angles: one is that some material is so of an era, and so perfectly cast or so identified with certain actors, that remaking it seems more foolhardy or unappreciative of the greatness of the original than anything else. I'd put things like GWTW, THE ROCKFORD FILES, and THE THIN MAN in this category.

The other angle is that, as DKoren alludes to, Hollywood is overly remake crazy (to put in mildly) instead of finding or creating original movie material.

Best wishes,

8:46 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...


William Powell is a GOD! Are you kidding me? I have yet to see a good remake. Case in point - that retched remake of The Women from a few years ago.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

The funny part is the possibility of all these girls going nuts over Johnny as Nick, and Thin Man becoming the next cult following next to Twilight and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Or not :0)

2:19 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

LOL. I like your thinking, Carrie!

Best wishes,

2:20 PM  
Blogger panavia999 said...

I try to think of these things as "another version" not remakes.
I like VP81955's comment about karate, Asta with an attitude and the requisite explosion. Unfortunately, so true!
The Thin Man movie remake just can't be done, because the chemistry is what makes the film so unique. The plot of "The Thin Man" is just another movie mystery, but with Powell and Loy towering over an ensemble cast it's legendary. It's also loaded with 1930's sensibilities which also give it great charm. Charm is not something modern film makers can do. It doesn't matter if Johnny Depp physically resembles Powell, he can't do Nick Charles with the same elan as Powell. I can't imagine any actress that approaches the unique beauty and style of Myrna Loy, her elegance and casual grace, wrapped up in good humor and good sportsmanship. So sure, make another version of "The Thin Man" book but do not attempt to recreate the magic that was Powell and Loy.
A new version of a literary masterpiece is much different from a movie remake.

As for Mildred Pierce, maybe they could film a new version of the novel. I'm sure there are interesting plot points in the novel that couldn't be shown on the film in the 40's. But do not remake the movie. Again, how can Crawford, Zachary Scott, Jack Carson and Ann Blythe be replaced? Stars were really individuals in those days.
There must be many stage actors with unique looks and voices, but so many movie stars are interchangeable these days. Unfortunately, the movie going public barely knows the originals, so they won't know that the remake is a pale imitation.

Although we pick on remake fever these days, it's nothing new. Plenty of films were remade in the 30's & 40's. Since they were remade within a few years of each other, the difference is not so jarring. Sometimes the same actors appeared in remakes (ie. Edw Everett Horton in both versions of "Holiday".) Sometimes a director remade his own film (ie Sidney Franklin's "Barretts of Wimpole Street" or William Wyler's two versions of "The Childrens Hour")

There is a story that someone wanted to remake Casablanca with Sean Penn as Rick. In an interview, Penn said he was not aware if such a project was under serious consideration, but if ever approached about it, he absolutely would not do it because there "is only one CASABLANCA."

Thought experiment: What if they tried to remake "Pat and Mike"? The script was written very specifically for Hepburn and Tracy. Even so, the script is so good it doesn't *need* a famous movie pair, just talent. The humor is pithy and timeless, the theme works just as well today as it did in the 50's because it's about interaction between the sexes, how we strengthen or weaken one another, how we gain and lose confidence. A new version would not need to be more feminist, or politically correct, or even include sex because all the athletes are in training, so healthy living and abstinence are part of the story. (A film the whole family can watch together!)
I can imagine William H Macy as Mike. However, you just know they would have to toss in heavy handed teachable moments with subplots on exploitation, race (a black or illegal immigrant boxer of course) and steroid abuse. In fact, a new version would be criticized if such sub plots were not included.

Yup, I'll stick to TCM!

3:47 PM  

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