Remaking a beloved foreign film is always a tricky proposition, but David Fincher's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo promises to up the ante on the Swedish original. Here, critic Troy Patterson offers five more do-overs that outshone their predecessors.
The 1940 British adaptation of Patrick Hamilton's play is a tidy little nail-biter, but it required fragile Ingrid Bergman, slithering Charles Boyer, and crafty director George Cukor to transform the tale into an archetypal spine chiller.
In the Thirties, a female singer pretends to be a female impersonator. Writer-director Blake Edwards transferred the action from Berlin to Paris, cast wife Julie Andrews as the lead, and intensified the original's Weimar sauciness to create a splendiferous gender bender.
The setup is classically French in its elegant irony: A secret agent's cover as a boring civil servant is so convincing that he bores his wife into another man's arms. Kicking the low-concept comedy into high gear as a booming action film, director James Cameron confirmed his famous sense of restraint.
The earlier film--about a murder investigation in the Norwegian Arctic--steals moves from Hitchcock to generate psychosexual suspense. Director Christopher Nolan does it one better by sending Al Pacino's L.A. cop up to Alaska--and down into paranoia.
The Hong Kong version, the first in a franchise about undercover cops and over-the-top gangsters, provided Martin Scorsese with the framework for an operatic treatment of his enduring obsessions (loyalty, masculinity) and new fascinations (Leonardo DiCaprio's hunched angst and scrunched face).