Jonathon Demme has said, "I don’t think it’s sacrilegious to remake any movie, including a good or even great movie." And he’s right, some films only grow with adaptation and allow for a new perspective on a world we already love. However, some fall flat and prove entirely unnecessary—like last year’s remake of Straw Dogs, for example. What was point of that film? There’s no way it could have even compared to the cinemaitc audacity and penetrating violence of the Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 original in its cultural context and the repercussions it faced with censorship of the time. However, it’s always interesting when a director remakes is own work, as Michael Haneke did with Funny Games in 2007. But it’s the original film that one should always watch first. And this week, Hulu and the Criterion Collection will be highlighting their favorite originals, all later adapted into other works. From Wim Wenders’ philosophical meditation on love, longing, and the desire for existence in 1980s Berlin with Wings of Desire (later to become City of Angels) to Jean-Luc Godard’s seminal 1960 nouvelle vague classic Breathless (needlessly remade in 1983 with Richard Gere), these originals will remind you what’s it’s like to witness a truly incredible film for the first time.
Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire, 1987
Anthony Asquith’s Pygmalion, 1938
Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress, 1958
Peter Brook’s Lord of the Flies, 1963
Roger Vadim’s …And God Created Woman, 1956
Jean-Luc Godard’s À bout de souffle (Breathless), 1960
George Sluizer’s The Vanishing, 1988