Hollywood, The Ultimate Recycler

The latest version of Sherlock Holmes was released on Christmas 2009. It was directed by Guy Richie and stars Robert Downey, Jr. in the title role. Reviews and box office numbers were good and so this was just another movie hit for the end of 2009.

Of course, this is far from the first time Hollywood revisited, remade or reinvented a familiar story or character. Of course, that’s Hollywood’s job.  So, how many times have the familiar been revisited. Well, let’s take a look.

Sherlock Holmes
There have been 14 movies with Basil Rathbone as Holmes, one film depicting Holmes as a teenager, one film with George C. Scott as a man in 1970’s New York who thinks he is Sherlock Holmes, one film where Watson convinces Holmes to go to Sigmund Freud about his “seven percent solution” problem. Let’s not forget the latest one with Robert Downey, Jr. So, that makes 18 films. Of course if I am wrong, you’ll let me know.

A Christmas Carol
There have been 19 film versions from the silent era to the 2009 CGI version with Jim Carrey. If only Charles Dickens had been around when motion pictures where invented. He would have done very well with royalty payments.

James Bond
Talk about your revisits/reinventions.  There have been 22 James Bond films with no less than six actors inhabiting the role of Bond, James Bond.  Yet, it is my opinion that Sean Connery does Bond the best.

There have been five versions of Superman. Four films featured the late Christopher Reeve in the role and one film had Brandon Routh as the “Man of Steel”.  There were six versions of Batman. Two had Michael Keaton and two had Christian Bale in the role. There were versions with Val Kilmer and George Clooney as the “Caped Crusader”. Of course, the late Heath Ledger stole the show as The Joker, in The Dark Knight.

Star Trek
It started as a television show in the 1960’s, developed a serious cult following, went to movies, a re-imagined television franchise in the 1980’s and 1990’s, then back to movies.  For the record, there have been six Star Trek movies with the cast from the 1960’s television show, one with the two captains,  James T. Kirk, from the 1960’s show and Jean-Luc Picard, from the 1980’s/1990’s  show (William Shatner and Patrick Stewart respectively) and two with the cast from Star Trek: The Next Generation (one of the re-imagined versions of Star Trek that ran from 1987 to 1994).  If those films weren’t enough for all the Trekkies out there, in the summer of 2009 there was a “prequel” called Star Trek. (As Star Wars goes, so does Star Trek.) That makes 10 films. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, must be smiling in heaven.

Again, if it works, it works.

Sherlock Holmes, Guy Richie, Robert Downey, Jr., Basil Rathbone, George C. Scott, Sigmund Freud, A Christmas Carol, CGI, Jim Carrey, Charles Dickens, James Bond, Sean Connery, Superman, Batman, Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh Man of Steel, Michael Keaton, Christian Bale ,Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Caped Crusader, The Joker, Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight, Star Trek, Kirk, Picard, William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Trekkies, Gene Roddenberry










3 Responses to “Hollywood, The Ultimate Recycler”

  1. Famous Films Foreign Origins « Just Movie Posters Blog Says:

    […] once stated that Hollywood is the ultimate recycler because the powers that be have minded the comic book/old television show vault extensively. Well, […]

  2. Ilena Di Toro Says:

    Thanks for your comments. Funny you should mention “It’s a Wonderful Life” as Christmas Carol told from Cratchit’s POV. I never thought of it like that and it is my favorite movie. I’ll check out your blog. Thanks again and take care.

  3. Invisible Mikey Says:

    Re: Christmas Carol. Wiki lists 22 film versions, but you could also count versions where the story elements just get moved around a bit too. For example, tell it from Bob Cratchit’s POV and have him succumb to despair over his poverty and POOF – It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

    I don’t count adaptations from actual literature (Dickens or Conan Doyle) to be on the same level as the others you listed. I mean, think how many versions of the same Shakespeare plays there are. Literature allows for new re-interpretations. I’m totally with you on the others you mention, though.

    ( I just posted about Dickens, and wrote about all the recycled ideas in Avatar too. I’ll enjoy reading your posts in future.)

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