Thursday, July 4, 2013


Steven Spielberg must know what he's doing. After all, he's been nominated for 12 Oscars and won three. But at the age of 66 the veteran filmmaker, who has produced 140 projects, directed 51 and written 21, seems to be running out of ideas.
 Consider the next two movies he is planning for DreamWorks, both remakes, not of obscure films that could use an update and the Spielberg touch, but two genuine classics in their own right.
 First, 1940's Rebecca. It won two Oscars, for best picture and best cinematography and was masterfully directed by Alfred Hitchcock with a starry cast that included Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine and George Sanders. It would be difficult if not impossible to improve on the orginal and Spielberg should take note of the fact that Rebecca has spawned at least six movies, TV movies and series, none of which was successful.
Henry Fonda in The Grapes of Wrath
  Then there is his other planned remake, if anything even more puzzling. The Grapes of Wrath, also made in 1940, remains one of the best movies ever to come out of the Fox studios. Directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda, it was nominated for seven Oscars, winning two, for Ford for best director and Jane Darwell for best supporting actress. 
 Like Rebecca it spawned a number of sequels, remakes and TV series, most of which flopped. But Spielberg is determined to put his own stamp on it and is negotiating with John Steinbeck’s estate to acquire the rights to the story, that follows the Joads, a poor family who move west after drought and economic instability force them to leave their Oklahoma farm.
 Maybe Spielberg
should go back to directing small original movies such as Duel---still, in my opinion, his best---or producing TV extravaganzas like Steven King's Under the Dome which got off to a flying start on ABC.  

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