When a film is called a classic, something’s going on. It entertains and inspires many generations of viewers and its success goes far beyond the original reaction of the audience. Unfortunately this sometimes causes the people in power in Hollywood to try to repeat something specific, for better or worse.
One of my favorite classics is Sabrina (1954). In my opinion, it’s the typical Audrey Hepburn movie. Although the story is a standard romantic comedy, it is not an average romantic comedy in terms of numbers. She is charming, intelligent and absolutely remarkable. In the nineties someone thought it was time to rethink the history of the past and the present.
It fades from the original.
As in the films, Sabrina’s 1995 adaptation is not so bad in itself. As an independent film, it’s decent. If you compare this film to its predecessor, it could have been worse. But after all, it’s one of those movies you can watch on your day off because you’re on television.
Sometimes the thinking fails because of the occupation. The problem isn’t the actors. Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and William Holden are replaced by Julia Ormond, Harrison Ford and Greg Kinner. Ormond and Kinnear are excellent actors, their respective CVs are proof of their ability to do their job. Ford is one of the most iconic players of our time. But in this case the victory always goes to Bogart for his picture of Linus Larrabee.
The problem is that the protagonists in the 1954 film fully embody the Hollywood classic. Like some contemporary actors, they can never hold the candle to actors like Hepburn, Holden and Bogart. Audrey Hepburn will forever be unique as a man and as an actor. She was charming, elegant, graceful and her acting talent could attract the attention of as few people as possible. And unlike Marilyn Monroe and Jane Mansfield, she proved that a singer doesn’t need sexual attraction to make a career.
William Holden is one of those actors who cannot be linked to any particular genre or character. He worked in Hollywood for forty years and played roles in films such as Bridge over the River Kwai, Wild Gang and Sunset Boulevard. The best actors are those who know how to live and tell the stories of the different characters. Holden was definitely one of the best.
When you think of old Hollywood, Humphrey Bogart is one of the actors who comes to mind. Many of his most famous roles were cool men who could also show their soft side for a romantic partner. Films such as Casablanca, African Queen, Have and Have and Kay Largo allowed Bogart to play both sides in his characters. (Interestingly, his wife, Lauren Bacall, also played in the last two films).
I wish it was better than.
When it comes to restarting, they fall into three categories. At the highest level, a film or television show can stand on two legs and pay homage to a previous iteration. At its lowest level, today’s intellectual property may resemble its predecessor, but it is a shadow of its former self. And between them, there’s what’s there.
The new Saved Bell, aired on the Peacock Network, falls into the first category. The viewer doesn’t have to be a fan of the original series to understand or appreciate the modern version. There are a lot of Easter eggs for old school fans (like me), but there is also enough content for newer fans. 2017 Anne von Green Gables, broadcast on PBS, is at the second extreme. Despite the fact that with Megan Follows he turned out to be worthy of the favourite novels and television series of the 1980s and 1990s, appearances can be deceptive. As far as the subject in question is concerned, Sabrina was placed in the third category in 1995. It is not entirely unworthy of the 1954 version, but compared to the previous iteration it lacks cinematic magic, it feels as if it goes through movements.
After all, the revival/restoration of the imagination is only an attempt to justify the reputation of its predecessor. Some succeed, some fail, and some fall somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately, most of them fail or fall somewhere in between, which reminds viewers and Hollywood forces that sometimes it’s better to come up with new ideas than to paraphrase old ones.
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