So we’ve established that when it comes to the classics, like potato chips I can’t stop at just one. I’ll take an iconic tale told from a different perspective, I’ll take a modernized look that shamelessly seduces teens into the classics without their knowledge, and I like a good remake probably more than the next person, for the same reason that I’ve read Charlotte’s Web and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory each at least a dozen times. If you tell the story well the first time, I can get more out of every retelling. Here are some to check out if you’ve caught the bug:
- Shop Round the Corner/In the Good Old Summertime/You’ve Got Mail
- The Philadelphia Story/High Society. When you start out with Katharine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant, can you get better? I’d say no, but High Society teams Grace Kelly with Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby and throws in a little Satchmo, just for good measure. And if it’s not one of my very favorites of all time, like its source material, it’s pretty stinking charming.
- Kiss Me Kate/Taming of the Shrew
- Pride and Prejudice/Bridget Jones’s Diary/Bride and Prejudice
- It’s a Wonderful Life/Family Man
- Romeo and Juliet/West Side Story/Romeo + Juliet. It’s not a popular position, but feel free to keep Fellini’s version, please. If you take the blood and guts out and film everything with a soft focus lens, I think Bill Shakespeare would be with me when I say you’ve mostly missed the point of his play. However, I do like the Sharks and the Jets, and even less popularly, I like the Baz Luhrman adaptation from 1996. I think it captures the youth and energy, the naivete, and the life and death of the original in a way that contemporary audiences can relate to, while doing justice to the poetry. Your mileage may vary.
- True Grit (John Wayne 1969 version)/True Grit (Jeff Bridges 2010 version). Again, not a popular position, but the 2010 version is so very good, it’s difficult not to say that I prefer it. I find the Mattie character much more plausible as played by Hailee Steinfeld. Admittedly, there are some things from the original that cannot be missed. But my perspective may be skewed. I watched the newer one first, then the older one, then read the book. I really would have loved to see Steinfeld win the Oscar for her portrayal, and tend to think that they didn’t want to reward her so young. I feel like awards are political, that way, and therefore less representative than they should be.
Which ones am I missing?