Reboots and Reels: Remakes and the Early Days of Film
Remakes, reboots, and reimaginings seem to have flooded the film industry in recent years. Superhero and comic book-based films seem to be most susceptible to most reimaginings and reboots, but everything from dramas to horror films have been remade. Although most remakes are categorized as easy cash grabs, there are a variety of reasons why a filmmaker or studio might explore a reboot. Perhaps the casting choices were poor the first time around, or a director simply didn’t share the same vision as the producers. Maybe a major leap forward in film technology was introduced after the initial release, technology that would have served the film well. Whatever the reason, remakes have become commonplace, but they aren’t as new as you may think.
In reality, silent film pioneers, and even filmmakers well into the golden age of Hollywood, didn’t think twice about remaking their own or others works, and were often eager to do so. Colonel William N. Selig was quick to embrace them, remaking his adaptation of “The Cowboy Millionaire” four years after his first version was released in 1908. The trades and audiences recognized it as a remake, but it didn’t dampen their excitement for it.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a closer look at some films that found their origins in the early days of film only to be again (and again) remade as new tech, writers and studios came into fashion.
Janelle Vreeland for Classic Movie Hub