Several months ago I wrote an article about several old movies that could use a remake. (here) At the time I thought that was a rare thing. I thought most films were either classics or so bad as to be unredeemable. since I wrote the first article, I’ve realized that many movies could be great if remade correctly. There are plenty where just an outdated style is the only thing keeping a good story or a needed message from a modern audience. For instance, aside from film buffs who has actually watched any of the Dr. Mabuse series? Or early Hitchcock? I doubt very many. I am therefore amending my list of movies to add another three films to the list of in need of a remake.
The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari
The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari was released in 1919 and is very much a German film of the era, but it contains an enduring plot element: its title killer commits murders without being present for the crime. This is still a compelling mystery plot device and is used today in franchises like Death Note. Doctor Caligari’s power is hypnosis, which sadly, has fallen out of style in modern horror films, but could easily make a powerful comeback. The original was made with a vehemently anti-war, anti-propaganda social message which is still something that would resonate today in modern America. The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari is admittedly so old that most of the script would need to be rewritten dramatically, but the core concept and story would make for a great modern horror film.
2000 Leagues Under The Sea
Captain Nemo is one of literature’s great antiheroes and a compelling, powerful presence if written right. Yet there hasn’t been a decent and somewhat faithful adaptation of 20000 Leagues Under The Sea since Disney’s 1950s effort. Submarines are commonplace now and no longer fanciful advanced technology, but a madman in a submarine is still a powerful image. It was used in Season 2 of TNT’s The Last Ship with much success. Also, the popularity of the The Last Ship and we know submarine movies sell. Never the less 20000 Leagues Under The Sea needs to remain a period piece. The story only works in a setting where submarines are advanced technology. Audiences want to see more sci-fi period pieces, and action/adventure period pieces both are underrated sub-genres and fun to watch.
There has never been a successful film made from a retro pulp hero. This needs to change. With the recent adaptations of Tarzan and John Carter, early 20th-century action stories seem to be appealing. The Shadow is an iconic superhero. He’s a classic and compelling antihero who could be modernized fairly easily. The 1994 film, however, was a disaster. It was over the top without being a comedy or at least trying for camp. Alec Baldwin was the only name actor and was just wrong for the role. A serious, but campy adaptation of The Shadow — something in the style of a Marvel film — would be fun to see, and it would be an easy way to promote interest in other old pulp heroes like The Rocketeer and The Phantom.
This list is clearly not exhaustive. What are some movies you would like to see remade?