Showing posts with label Sydney Greenstreet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sydney Greenstreet. Show all posts

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

The world's best remake

We hate remakes don't we? Hollywood seems to be money hungry now, milking the last few drops out of the golden teats of brands just to make some dough. Nothing is sacred. All those classics you hold near and dear are just waiting to be butchered by some big studio wanting to make a fast buck. It's just a matter of time until classic power houses such as Casablanca (1942), The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Gone with the Wind (1939) are remade for today's contemporary audience. However, remakes aren't new. They are an old tradition in the movie business. Let's take The Maltese Falcon (1941) for example. Not only is it a remake of the 1931 version it's also preceded by another remake Satan Met a Lady (1936) with Bette Davis and Warren William. 

I often wonder what goes into the decision making process of 21st century movie studios when they decide to remake a classic. I like to envision that young upstarts at these studios, fresh out of film school but have not yet made an emotional connection to certain classics come up with these ideas only to have them robbed by the powers that be that throw money around to make it happen. Then they see who's hot, who's available, who's willing to butcher and/or remake this film to cash in on some big box office dough. Some remakes are good but the unfortunate truth is that most are really bad. But audiences will still flock to theaters because these established names are recognizable. Who wants to take a chance on an unknown when there is something safe and familiar instead?

One thing about The Maltese Falcon is that if they ever remake it again they can NOT top the cast. Humphrey Bogart was effortlessly cool as Sam Spade. Mary Astor as the dangerous, scared and alluring Brigid O'Shaunessy was simply divine. And I couldn't imagine any other team of criminals than Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Elisha Cook Jr. Or could I? While I watched the film I looked closely at each of the actor's faces and tried to come up with the first contemporary actor that came to mind. In some cases it was physical appearance in other cases it was a random association based on essence. This new cast could either prove as a nightmare or a decent possibility to you. For me, it would only work if they did something fresh and new with it. If they do ever remake this, there is no way they will be able to find an actor like Bogie. He has no equivalent. There is no replacement. Bogie was Bogie, 'nuff said.

Humphrey Bogart

Ben Affleck
(I have this strange Bogie-Affleck thing. Don't ask)

Mary Astor

Julianne Moore
(Astor pouted in the same way Moore does)

Sydney Greenstreet

James Gandolfini
(Gandolfini can't play loveable but he can sure play a big round intimidator)

Peter Lorre

Johnny Galecki
(Hair, eyes, they sort of resemble each other. Plus some guy called Chuck Lorre produces the Big Bang Theory. I didn't even realize this until I was looking up the actor!)

Elisha Cook Jr.

Casey Affleck
(eh. They just look alike!)

Popular Posts

 Twitter   Instagram   Facebook