Episode 31: A Lovely Forge to Hammer Upon

Xanadu Sq LogoThis week, we share our love of REMAKES! Okay, we only love good remakes, but there are plenty of good remakes to talk about, right? We certainly thought so!

We also thought this week’s wine selection was excellent: Castello di Volpaia Indue, which was given to us by one of our fine Brians, Mr. Donohue. We learned that “Indue” is Italian for “Two Together”, which made it extra special. Brian can select our beverages any day! Thank you!

Show notes and links behind the cut!

Films mentioned (in both original and remake form):
The Maltese Falcon
The Wizard of Oz
Bus 174 Trilogy (Bus 174, Elite Squad, Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within)
Little Shop of Horrors
Ocean’s 11
The Fly
Beverly Hills Cop
Thing from Another World / The Thing
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
The Mummy
Casino Royale
Clash of the Titans
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Let the Right One In / Let Me In
Seven Samurai / Magnificent Seven
Yojimbo / Fistful of Dollars
Sanjuro / A Few Dollars More
True Grit
Infernal Affairs / The Departed
Battle Beyond the Stars
Ringu / The Ring
The Grudge
3:10 to Yuma
La Jetee (which is actually 28 minutes long) / 12 Monkeys

People mentioned:
Jose Padilha
Gus Van Sant
Anthony Perkins
Alfred Hitchcock
Roger Corman
Jack Nicholson
John Waters
John Travolta
James Marsden
David Cronenberg
Eddie Murphy
Jeff Goldblum
Geena Davis
Brenden Frasier
Rachel Weisz
Stephen Sommers
Peter Lorre
Barry Nelson
David Niven
Woody Allen
Ursula Andress
Orson Welles
Harry Hamlin
Sir Laurence Olivier
Burgess Meredith
Ray Harryhausen
Sam Worthington
John McTiernan
Roald Dahl
Danny Elfman
Joel and Ethan Coen
Jeff Bridges
Matt Damon
John Wayne
Martin Scorsese
John Lithgow
Dianne Weist
Kevin Bacon
Lori Singer
Kenny Wormald
Dennis Quaid
Julianne Hough
Christopher Nolan
Stellan Skarsgard
Gore Verbinski
Terry Gilliam
Brad Pitt


I Love/Hate Remakes Podcast:

The Monthly Midnight Movie Exchange:

Masters of Carpentry (which is about John Carpenter!):

And, finally, that baffling Magnificent Seven trailer:


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  1. I think what fascinates me about remakes is that they’re very much a microcosm of the studio system as a whole. They’re most often about falling back on known, recognized brands. Many are poor, and most will be mediocre. They’re often plague by studio or producer oversight, reining in risks, or even just by indecision about what direction to take them. This does lead to weaker product, but at no greater a percentage than every other type of film to come out in a year. I think they’ve become an easy target because they’re narrow enough for people to line them fully in their sights in terms of frustrations being had on a broader scale. Which has led to a generalized demonization of them that often doesn’t consider the great ones, the ones that are still good or interesting even if they’re not as good as the original, that even the lesser ones can still have surprises, and that this has been a part of Hollywood history since the dawn of filmmaking, and goes even further back in terms of storytelling in general and the recycling and reinterpreting of existing tales.

    Hence why I took four years of my life making a show about them. 🙂

    Thank you very much for sharing links to my shows. It’s been an absolute delight catching up through the archives of both this and Reel Education, both wonderful shows, and getting to meet and chat with Melissa.

    I will say, I was still very early in my listening when I answered the Questions, so I may have misinterpreted the final one a bit, hence my broader answer. If I may give a more specific recommendation, I’d have to say Robert Aldrich’s 1978 film Emperor of the North. It’s set in the great depression, with Ernest Borgnine as a conductor who vows to kill any hobo who tries to ride his train, and Lee Marvin as the hobo who says “Challenge accepted.” 118 minutes of pure awesome ensues.

    1. Recommendation gleefully accepted! I haven’t seen Emperor of the North, but I just had my yearly viewing of The Dirty Dozen and so I’m all stoked about anything that involves Robert Aldrich, Ernest Borgnine, and Lee Marvin!

    • Pam on September 12, 2014 at 1:46 AM
    • Reply

    Cape Fear is a remake that I really love (Scorsese again). What makes it great for me is that the differences between Scorsese’s version and the original come straight out of everything that had happened in our culture between 1962 and 1991 — that sense of disillusionment, the breakdown of the family, the loss of innocence. The characters feel uncomfortably real and not entirely likable. It has an incredible cast, notably Robert DeNiro (who scared the shit out of me), Juliette Lewis (who I couldn’t stand at the time this came out but who has significantly grown on me) and the wonderful Ileana Douglas. And it has nice cameos from the original stars Peck, Mitchum and Balsam that aren’t too distracting.

    The one thing that’s always bothered me about the remake, though, was the element of Nick Nolte’s character having suppressed evidence that might have lightened Cady’s sentence (or even acquitted him). Not that he suppressed it, but what that evidence consists of (which I won’t spoil for anyone who hasn’t seen it). Nolte’s character feels completely justified in suppressing it (because yeah, talk about blaming the victim), but his superiors rip him a new one for it. Just ugh. It may be realistic, but it’s really upsetting.

    1. The Cape Fear remake is fascinating on so many levels. Still, nothing beats the weird egg scene in the original. 🙂

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