By now everybody who has internet probably knows that Steven Spielberg plans to re-make Harvey, the play about a man who sees and communicates with a giant rabbit that was originally adapted into a hit 1950 film starring James Stewart. If you haven’t heard of it for some reason, here is the Variety story.
Most of the blogger response towards the news has ranged from annoyed to outraged. Some talk about the fears they have for the movie – will they show the rabbit? Will it be a shot for shot regurgitation like many classic film remakes? Will they hire somebody without the clout James Stewart had to play the lead role?
This brings up a question: what makes a movie sacred?
Generally, remakes of classic films are a bad idea. How many remakes of a classic film can you think of that are worth the original. I’m not talking remakes of mediocre films that made them better, I’m talking about films that are certified classics like Harvey or Psycho that filmmakers have tried to “update” for modern audiences. Have there been any remakes that can hold a candle to the original?
Harvey is not one of my all-time favorites, but I won’t deny that it is a classic. It’s funny, smart and has one of James Stewart’s best performances. The idea that Spielberg can add to anything to it is just silly. It almost seems like he may just be planning to dumb it down so modern audiences can “get it.” If that’s the case, it’s just offensive.
What do you think of this re-make? Is Harvey sacred enough that it shouldn’t be touched? If not, is Spielberg the right man for the job? What makes a movie sacred?