Apologies for anyone who hasn’t seen the 4th installment in a certain slasher-movie series yet, but for those of you that have, you’ll no doubt remember one of the most awesome ‘last’ lines in a film ever: “You forgot the number one rule of remakes; don’t fuck with the original”.
Ah yes, very well said Ms. Sydney Prescott, Scream Queen.
This is so very true these days when re-makes have been keeping Hollywood ticking over for the last 10 years, and unfortunately it’s especially true this week as the re-make of the 80’s classic Arthur arrives in a cinemas.
For those of you too young to remember Arthur, it’s basically about a millionnaire alcoholic playboy who shags prostitues, is hated by his father, is pushed into marrying a woman he doesn’t love just so he can hold on to his inheritance, but manages to fall in love with a shoplifting waitress from Queens in the form of Liza Minelli. As John Gielgud – who plays Arthur’s acid-tongued Butler – wonderfully puts it in the film; “One would normally have to venture to a bowling alley to meet a woman of your stature” – one of the best put downs ever.
Arthur is a classic romantic comedy with an edge; a hero of the pre-poltical-correctness era when we were still allowed to find comedy in the most horrific things and Hollywood wasn’t scared of taking a risk and using original screenplays.
Example of risky dialogue which I’m willing to bet you won’t find in today’s re-made version:
Arthur: “Tell me about yourself.”
Prostitute: “You mean, why am I a prostitute?”
Arthur: “You’re a prostitute? Shit I thought I was doing great with you…”
Prostitute: “My mother died when I was 6…”
Arthur: “Bitch. Don’t they know what that does to children?”
Prostitute: “My father raped me when I was twelve…”
Arthur: “So you had 6 relatively good years…”
That has to be one of the darkest lines in the film, but it’s awesomely funny mainly because of Dudley Moore brilliantly drunken performance.
And now they’ve gone and re-made it, replacing John Gielgud’s acerbic Butler role (and father-figure to Arthur), by a softer ‘nanny’ / mother type role in the form of Helen Mirren. I’m normally a big fan of HRH Mirren, but yesterday she was quoted as saying she wasn’t a fan of the original because it ‘enabled Arthur’s alcoholism’. Really Helen, really??
Ok, so the 80’s Arthur uses alcoholism for a good laugh and at no point does Arthur learn a lesson and go sober – in fact he’s allowed to trot off happily ever after with his eyes still swivelling in opposite directions. But at least it’s funny.
Well maybe this new version is more sensitive and politically correct, but I’m not sure I’m going to go and see it. I suspect all the edgy humour that made the original so… well, original will have been removed and what we’re left with is a safer, more boring and ultimatley unfunny version of an 80’s classic which they should have left alone.
In summary – as Sydney Prescott herself would say – Don’t fuck with the original.
For those who still don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a fantastic round up of some of the funniest bits in Arthur.
If you didn’t find the prostitute conversation above funny, then watch the following and you might review your opinion.