What might spark such an odd question, one might ask?
Back in the early, early days of pay television in Los Angeles, probably even before HBO or Showtime, when the “premium” or pay-TV came on an over-the-air channel that was scrambled, with about eight hours of service a day, I saw a Brazilian film called “Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands.” In short, a woman marries a red hot lover who gambles and drinks and finally dies, then marries a boring but reliable doctor. The second husband takes good care of her, but the sex sucks and he’s dull. Then the ghost of her first husband appears, always naked, and complicates her life considerably.
There was a reason it was shown at midnight on an encrypted channel. I loved it.
“Dona Flor” was made in 1976. In 1982 an American film came out called “Kiss Me Goodbye,” starring Sally Field, James Caan, and Jeff Bridges. (James Caan is the dead husband, you can figure out the rest from there.) They don’t even try to say that it’s not a re-make. The original screenwriters get credit on the American version as well.
But after watching them both… Why?
It’s not a terrible film. The talent is decent, it comes across as a perfectly serviceable, odd, screwball comedy. It has moments.
But the original film was fantastic!
Tonight “Kiss Me Goodbye” is on some cable channel or the other, there’s nothing else on, so I’ve got it on as background noise. (The honkin’ big TV also helps keep the room warm.) But it just bugs me that it’s so watered down and bland compared to the original. Thus the original question.
Do foreign directors make versions of “The Godfather” without all of the violence? Family friendly versions of “Kill Bill” with everyone using water guns instead of swords? Somewhere is there a French or Brazilian version of “Full Metal Jacket” starring a former children’s show actor?
Watch the original, it’s got to be available out there somewhere these days. NSFW, but much more satisfying.
2 responses to “Do Foreign Directors Make Watered Down Versions Of Cool American Films?”
The view from Europe is… different. They would only take a US film if it was worth making it better…. (in art terms).
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Obviously, America’s prudish foundation is at the forefront here. In this case you can’t take a film where the humor revolves around sex and death, with multiple nude scenes, including (SHOCKED GASP OF HORROR!!) male genitalia, and remake it with our “Flying Nun” sweetheart actress.