The Remake Dilemma

What the 18-36 year old demographers are ignoring are the empty nesters with $$$ who appreciate films in the vein of “His Girl Friday”, “39 Steps”(original), “Shall We Dance” (original Japanese, NOT the 2004 abomination), The Lady Vanishes, Charades, etc. All stories with less “wiz bang thank you mam” and more in depth character relationships / struggles even if in a light hearted vein.

Captain America and his gang notwithstanding, their popularity only goes to underscore the temporary, nay flash in the pan short attention span triviality, that the entertainment pendulum has gradually swung over to. Thus the ‘Business’ in show business dutifully and understandably trundles after short term gratification ($$$).

In the end visual and aural diversions across the years are all vicarious escapism on vastly different levels. It is just regrettable that today’s escapism is more a sugar high (read 22 sugar packs per 16oz soda) than a meaningful balanced entertainment experience. As in all cases there are the valued exceptions. Unfortunately today they are few and far between.

True, we no longer pack the vaudeville halls or gather around the radio or early television for an ‘evening with the family’. And yes, both of these replaced the sing along with the family musician and instrument in the living room or around the camp fire. Now our shared experience is more likely around the water cooler than the meal table. This gives rise to our collective urge to get away and return to basics, however they are individually perceived.

Values, morals and time commitments evolve so it‘s understandable that societal focus evolves as well. Burns and Allen, The Dean Martin Show and The Ted Mack Amateur Hour have morphed into the plethora of late night talk shows, dance competitions and the somewhere / someone has talent offerings. Is this a good thing? Is destroying the rain forest in favor of raising cattle to fuel the fast food industry good? Both represent a shift in societal values. Time will be the judge.

Modern emerging screenwriters and filmmakers would do well to study in depth the values of earlier denizens of their art. Not to copy but to gather and infuse themselves with value and depth of a dwindling “story telling” skill and art.

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