Film remakes: let's leave it to the classicsA trailer has been released for the new film version of Anna Karenina, starring Keira Knightley as Anna and Aaron Johnson as Count Vronsky. Ah. The old remake. It’s tricky enough doing a book-film adaptation but when you’re competing against already established versions, including one starring one of the greatest movie stars of all time, you’ve got your work cut out. Of course it was Greta Garbo who appeared in the 1935 version of Anna Karenina, admittedly not the original film adaptation, but established as a classic.
A good remake is rare. So why do film makers insist on doing them? Of course there’s the money aspect of remaking a film people already know and love, which they will go and see a remake of. But in terms of quality films, why? It’s usually to do with ‘updating the film for a new generation’, which seems to translate into adding a token minority character, or filmmakers ACTUALLY expecting us to believe that people were fooled into thinking Amanda Bynes and James Kirk were the same people in She’s The Man, a rehash of Twelfth Night. I mean, let’s just look at what we’re dealing with here. We have House of Wax. I’ll just tell you that Paris Hilton and Chad Michael Murray were in it and leave it at that. Carrie is being remade, starring Chloë Moretz. I’ll just say that I don’t have high hopes.
One that I’m slightly more optimistic about is A Star Is Born, which is getting a makeover with a little help from (breathe) Beyonce, and there are other good remakes out there: True Grit, The Departed, The Parent Trap. But on the whole, I think it’s best left to the classics, and the stars of old, like Garbo, who is the subject of a new biography, by David Bret.
Though there have been numerous biographies of Garbo, this is the first to fully investigate the two so-called missing periods in the life of this most mysterious and enigmatic of all the Hollywood stars. The first, during the late 1920s, when Garbo disappeared completely for several months, forcing the studio to employ a lookalike, was almost certainly to conceal a pregnancy. The second occurred during World War Two, when Garbo was employed by British Intelligence to track down Nazi sympathisers. In Greta Garbo: Divine Star David Bret has acquired a large amount of previously unsourced material, along with anecdotes from friends and colleagues of the star which have never before been published. For the first time, he paints a complete portrait of her childhood and youth in Sweden. Bret has also sourced copies of all Garbo's films – with the exception The Divine Woman, of which no print survives, including the silents – before scenes were trimmed or cut.
When Keira Knightley starts her espionage career I might believe she's up to it. Until then, let's leave it to the classics.