I read in this morning's paper that the Coen brothers are remaking "True Grit." John Wayne starred in the original movie which has become a classic. It's a compelling story of an old gunfighter who is dying of cancer. He returns to spend his final days in a boarding house of a woman he'd known earlier. A young girl approaches him for help. She can't go searching out the bad guys on her own, and Rooster Cogburn is the man she knows can help in her quest. Of course, Rooster doesn't want to take on a new job, but he does and it all makes for a great film with a star who is still remembered fondly by his many fans.
Now, Jeff Bridges is going to play Rooster Cogburn. I have nothing against Jeff Bridges. He's a fine actor and will probably do the role justice, but he isn't John Wayne. And my take on this is why try to make a really good movie over again? Why not let the original stand alone? But apparently, the producer/director brothers think they can do it better. I know one thing--it will probably be more violent as movies about the old West tend to be today.
It made me think about the idea of a remake. There are lots of remakes on movies, but I don't ever remember someone trying to remake a book. Copyright privilege comes into play there, I'm sure. Plus who would want to try and rewrite some classic novel? It would never work as the same, that's just plain plagarizing, and to write it differently doesn't make sense. It's not the same story any longer.
On the other hand, look at how many times someone has taken the classic poem "The Night Before Christmas" and rewritten it about Thanksgiivng or Halloween or some other far-fetched subject while keeping the idea and rhythm of the original intact. But that's a poem, not a novel.
I vote for leaving the original "True Grit" alone. Maybe the Coen brothers have run out of ideas of their own. Too bad, as they're a talented pair. I'd much rather they found a brand new script for Jeff Bridges.