In lieu of my promised comfort food post (from which my composing is continually and inevitably sidetracked by the need to leave the computer and make/eat my freshly typed-out subject) here’s some distraction.
Apparently this came out last year – I’m not sure if it’s been released in the US yet. (A. and I just watched Blood Simple. I’d never seen it before – nor had I seen Dan Hedaya with that much hair. I adored it.) I will probably see this eventually. But style changes, questions of remakes and Yimou fans/detractors aside, what I like about this is the way it specifically references Blood Simple in the trailer, with the Hammett quote, and with the critic’s’ praise. A. and I got into a discussion about this: how many American remakes of foreign films tout or hat-tip the original in the same way? Did The Departed mention Infernal Affairs in the opening credits? I feel like I remember that – does anyone else? Vanilla Sky paid tribute, I assume, by casting Penelope Cruz. (I’m a little shaky on that, as I haven’t seen Abre los ojos.) I didn’t see The Uninvited, and I probably won’t – A Tale of Two Sisters satisfied me plenty. But I didn’t know TU was a remake of ATOTS until I read it in a magazine; the trailer I saw gave no indication. Considering the attention that Let the Right One In got, Let Me In, with its close title and close proximity of remake/release to the original, can’t escape its connection to the source. How about Insomnia and Insomnia?
What about Wings of Desire and City of Angels? Let’s pretend I didn’t type that. Blech.
So what’s a good hat tip when it comes to remakes, and what is a slight? Do Hollywood studios attempt to appropriate their remakes without tribute to the originals? (Studios, I say, or whoever does the marketing; not necessarily the directors.) Do they have the right to do so, when they create something fresh from the source – and not when it’s just a white/blond-haired/English-speaking version of a superior film?* Or should a good remake acknowledge its source throughout, with tribute within? This, I suppose, would only be helpful to the source film if a viewer had seen the original – an inside joke.
OR: do you think remakes are the devil and should burn in hell? I’m open to all interpretations.
My final thought on the Blood Simple remake matter: M. Emmett Walsh is really necessary for my wholehearted endorsement, but I’m biased. Sometimes there’s a man; sometimes, there’s a man…
*Of the ones I mention above, I’m only qualified to judge City of Angels as such, since I haven’t seen some of the others. Again, bleeeech.