Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Same same but different

Do you ever watch one version of a particular story and you absolutely adore it to the point where no other version can even quite compare because It's Just Not Right? Yeah, I experienced this again over the weekend when I watched The Philadelphia Story. Which isn't to say The Philadelphia Story is a bad movie - it's pretty great, in fact, and totally deserves the Oscars that it won.

BUT.

It's not High Society, which I fell in love with about 15 years ago. While The Philadelphia Story may feature Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and James Stewart all being amazing, it doesn't feature Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra singing utterly ridiculous songs and dancing around like loons. So while we get this:
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We don't get this:
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Or Louis Armstrong playing the trumpet. Which is a shame, because he's awesome.

Admittedly, this is something that mostly occurs with adaptations of the classics, because they're the ones that get new movie/TV versions every year. But there are a few other adaptations that spring to mind here:

Pride and Prejudice
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Always the 1995 version. I have an irrational hatred of the Keira Knightley version, which may have something to do with Matthew Macfadyen (ugh) and that ridiculously awful foot fondling scene that was added to the American release to demonstrate that they actually did get married. In short, six hours of Colin Firth? YES. Two hours of Macfadyen? LOL NOPE. And don't even get me started on the 1940 version and its awful costumes. (The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I should mention, is a close second to the 1995 version)

Vanity Fair
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I have an undying love for this incredibly silly story and its deeply flawed anti-heroine, Becky Sharp. But when it comes to film versions of it, the 1998 BBC version starring Natasha Little captures Becky's playfully sneaky nature much better than the 2004 movie starring Reese Witherspoon. Also, the music is excellent.

Sense and Sensibility
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The BBC miniseries from 2008 is pretty damned good. But it just can't compare to the 1995 movie, which has a lot more heart to it along with that delightfully ridiculous scene of Emma Thompson's hysterical sobbing. Plus, Hugh Laurie's eternal sassiness.

Psycho
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I can't believe anyone would actually prefer the 1998 version of Psycho. Because it was TERRIBLE. Man, what was it about 1998 and terrible remakes? The original, on the other hand, is an absolute classic for a reason: it's phenomenal.

Les Miserables
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Much like The Philadelphia Story/High Society, I will always take the version that includes singing and dancing. I know, taking Russell Crowe and his decidedly average singing over the brilliant acting of Geoffrey Rush seems like a total travesty, but the 1998 movie was JUST SO BORING without the songs.

Jane Eyre
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The first adaptation of Jane Eyre that I ever saw was the 1983 version starring Timothy Dalton that we had to watch in year 10 English. And it's terrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrible. Partly because Zelah Clarke, who plays Jane, is like a foot shorter than Timothy Dalton, so every time they kissed it looked like he was breaking her neck. I saw the recent movie version (the Michael Fassbender one), and wasn't a huge fan of it - movies can never do the book justice in the way a mini-series can. But the 2006 BBC version with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens? Perfection.

The Italian Job
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This one is kind of a travesty, I know. But I actually prefer the 2003 version to the original. I don't quite know WHY, but there's just something about it that makes it fun. And the lack of an ambiguous ending is definitely a plus!

Needless to say, I am terrified about some of the adaptations that are slated for development in the next five years. Remaking The Birds? My Fair Lady? Police Academy? DIRTY DANCING?!?! WHY. WHY ARE THESE THINGS NECESSARY, HOLLYWOOD??

Do you have a preferred version of any of these? What else would you add to the list?

K xx

1 comment:

  1. I did like the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice, but the 1995 miniseries wins, definitely. I've never see any adaptation that was more faithful to the book. Colin Firth is the best Darcy.

    I'm generally pretty forgiving of adaptations changing things/leaving things out, but ugh, the 1998 Les Mis left SO MUCH OUT. And I thought they changed Valjean's character a lot, too. I'd actually love to see a really good non-musical adaptation of Les Mis, but I think it would have to be a miniseries.

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