I’ve seen the Michael Hoffman’s new”Gambit” Version, the Coen Brothers’ scripter, whuch gathered dust since 1997.
First, let me add, that when they made their two remakes, one-“True Grit”, was wonderful, and inventive, radical, funny, poignant, and throughly enjoyable. While the other”The Ladykillers”, was just awful…
The Ronald Neame’s”Gambit” was far more better,than the Huffman’s. For starters, it was much funnier, screenplay was a jem, and Michael Cain, Shirley Maclean, and Herbert Lom, as a wily Egyptian Billionair, were excellent, and the fact that I do remember it some 37-6 years later, with pleaseaure, can attest the fact, that its remake is palled by comparison; and although Neame was a capable profession and the Coens, are known to make fantastic movies, as well as a dud or two, this clearly is an example of good on paper, and bad on the outcome.
Maybe the fault was the director, maybe the incubation timer,after all it took the producer something like a decade and more, perhaps if Robert Altman would’ve made it, it could’ve been much funnier, sharp, and exiting, but Altman’s gone.So we cast a very nice director, Mr. Hoffman, who made nice movies like:”Restoration” , and ok fiilms like”Soapdish”, very nice, tepid, bland, and so this nice director and the Coens script, takes off, and despite Mr. Huffman’s statement of not seeing the original, anyone who actually saw and remember the 1st version, was utterly dissapointed. It lacks something, excitment, yes the Lion, nice touch, but frankly, you’d know tht the Texan lady with the roe will come at the right moment? Right, she did, no suprises, some situatiuons raise a chuckle, not guffaws, no, they’re manage to lift a meagre smile, sometomes, but wit? Laughter? No, it’s not there. Pity, real pity.No boy meets girl, no finale, no, just a naked guy with a cat, looks at a forgery, that’s it?The final in the original version, was far more inventive and original, and I can still remember
So, after the film was over and I went outside, and thought about the times, even recently, tyhe last decade even, when remakes were rare, filmakjers made good comedies, ones that actually worked, especially the late 60’s-early 70’s, and the 90’s-early decade..
And me and my coleague, Daniel Warth, sat at our working place-the librry, and wandered among ourselves, where all the magic gone? This year alone, we winess the anniversarties of varied films,”Duck Soup”‘”Tokyo Story”‘”The Leopard”.And”Ths Scarecrow”, “The Long Goodbye”, and these were films which presented gamut of tenderness, cynism, told a story, showed their countries in a trieds and elevating times, lambasted, lampooned, praised, and criticized their country.And today?I Don’t say there is, or that it isn’t there, but when you face a slew of remakes, and not an ounce of movies, in American Cinema, and try to find a decent good Hollywood product, or even an Indie, well yes the Indies fare better, but even there we see cliches. True, there are other countries, European, even Israelies, Japanese, Thais, sometimes we watch them on TV’s Chanmells;well, I believe that somehow, somewhere ther’s the odd excellent movie, which comes along from Hollywood, or the IOndie Scene.And that acrossthe world, there’s still some movies, being made, and not remakes, that actors like Ms. Diaz, or Messers Courtney, Rickman and Firth, can actually show their talent(“Bad Teacher”‘ for Ms, Cameron Michelle Diaz, “Bridget Jones” for Mr. Firth, and “The Dresser” for Mr. Courtney, are sufficiently good examples.)Sometimes, we’d see good movies overcome remakes, and that’s me