Film Theory: Remakes (Recycling)

Film Theory: Remakes (Recycling)

Almost from its beginnings, the movie industry has made a practice on capitalizing on past successes.

Few of the remakes (or later editions) have achieved the quality or distinction of their predecessors,

Ben Hur in 1959 may be the exception (better and more commercial than the 1927 silent)

Most remakes can be labeled as interesting efforts.”


The studios or producers feel that the original story is:

still viable?

has the potential of again becoming a hit

The need to grind out a certain amount of product each year to fill their theaters (1930s and 1940s)

Unable to find fresh ideas, so forced to revert back to using previously filmed stories.

Remakes: American Vs. French

Transposition process, including subtitles

Remakes neutralize the otherness of the foreign films, beginning with the efficacy of the subtitles.

The structure of the supplement and adding to, rather than subtracting from the original

Removal of setting to a more familiar place

Neutralization and domestication

The US Breathless versus Godard’s A bout de souffles

Three Men and a Baby (1987, 1983)

Cousin, Cousin (1975[ Cousins, 1989)

Point of No Return (1993) vs. La Femme Nikita (1991)