Do remakes stifle creativity or do they provide an opportunity to get more creative with the same story plot? What’s your opinion? Leave a comment and I’ll publish the survey results.
To me, remakes mean that the Hollywood machinery spends less time looking for new ideas and promoting them. It is cheaper, after all, to market a public domain story than SELECT a new one from the stacks and make it into a blockbuster. How many authors are there with amazing stories that can and will become classics if given the marketing packages that these remakes receive? Classics like Cinderella have been redone so many times that when a new Cinderella version comes out I cringe to just think how little girls’ minds are being programmed to believe that if they have a good heart and work hard, the valiant prince will show up with a slipper their size. I cringe, too, when I think of the writer whose job it is to retell the story in a different angle. And they succeed. Every Cinderella story brings out a new, more sophisticated viewpoint than the previous, and so it is with Beauty and the Beast. Sure, Emma Watson is a beauty, but she is also homely, and the beast, well, he is surely furry all over and his feet are those of a goat. But his heart, well, his heart is as pure as gold. Even so, how could a young tender girl even imagine being in love with such?
Enough about that. What brings me to write about the new remake of Beauty and Beast is one of its cinematic scenes -the library scene. As I was watching it, I remembered an Audrey Hepburn movie in a library scene just like it. I’m sure they planned it on purpose, the only thing that was different was the dialogue but not much. In Audrey Hepburn’s movie, Funny Face, she owns or works at the bookstore and an older (much older) protagonist, kisses her out of the blue. Did they go through the list of movies with library scenes and pick out Funny Face? Or did they do it inadvertently? Surely, that’s a question for the director. But if you are an Audrey Hepburn fan and IF it spikes your interest, watch Funny Face on YouTube and then look for the library scene in Beauty and the Beast. Compare the shots and the scenes. See how much they are alike. The two scenes show the beauty on a ladder looking at books during a dialogue with the ugly protagonist.
My point is that not only plots are remade but also shots and locations. If you look closely, how many other similar shots and sets will you find along the history of Hollywood’s remakes? Below you will find a list of movies where bookstores play a vital role. You would think they could be more creative than repetitive. But we, the consumers, love the familiar and are willing to support it with our tickets to the show, every time. As a woman in film, should I follow Hollywood’s example and create shots ad scenes that are already tried and true, or should I follow my instinct and be creative in my own way? Certainly, I must offer some of the same with a twist. That is the Hollywood formula that seems to work. And if my objective is to be like them, then I must follow the leader. But wait, my book, Utopia is about doing just the opposite. Does anyone out there want to follow the “creative instinct” instead of the tried and true?
Did you know there were that many bookstore movies?
This is Funny Face, Audrey Hepburn on the ladder.
The new Beauty and Beast-library scene.