Wednesday, 19 May 2010

FELLINI Remakes: they aren't all bad...

Continuing this week's look at the "remake", I have decided to take a brief look at how the work of another "master" director's work has been adapted and remade over the years: that of Federico Fellini. Interestingly, the two most famous adaptations of his work took very similar routes to the screen, although the results were very different...

Both 'Nights of Cabiria' (1957) and '8 1/2' were remade in the English speaking world as Broadway musicals, before becoming films based upon those musicals. 'Nights of Cabiria' became Neil Simon's 'Sweet Charity' (directed by Bob Fosse in 1969), in which Shirley MacLaine took the lead role:

Of course Bob "Cabaret" Fosse and Neil "Odd Couple" Simon combine with the brilliant MacLaine to turn Fellini's movie into something entirely different, but almost equally good... whereas Rob Marshall (director of the 2002 screen adaptation of Fosse's own 'Chicago') turned the stage adaptation of '8 1/2' (1963), 'Nine', into a big, all-star musical film last year. The results, despite the pressence of a stellar cast (including Marion Cotillard, Daniel Day-Lewis and Penelope Cruz - although the Black Eyed Peas singer 'Fergie' gives the best performance), are truly awful:

I don't know why Fellini has twice been turned into a Broadway musical. Perhaps it has something to do with the percieved glamour and high-fashion of Italian culture. Kate Hudson sings a song about it in 'Nine', funnily enough:

Anyway, more of a mixed bag with Fellini remakes than Kurosawa in any case. The cliche is always the Kurosawa's films have a western (or Western) sensibility - something he disputed. Could that be the reason Kurosawa's films suit American adaptations quite readily?

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