Watering Down Classic Movies to Make Them Modern

         No film is without the people who praise it and its critics. Many critics go so far as to claim that given the chance the critics themselves could have made better movies with the materials given to those actually involved in the production of a particular film. One could argue that some such changes would destroy the artistic integrity of the film, but who is not up for making a quick buck at the expense of art? For instance, certain changes could be made to the films we have watched to make them so that modern (in other words watered-down) audiences will enjoy them, namely Notorious (1946), 8 ½ (1963), and Closely Watched Trains (1966).

         Notorious, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, could be changed in many ways to make it more modern. The film was suspenseful and dramatic. Modern critics might argue, however, that as a spy/mystery film there was not enough action. A car chase at the end of the film, perhaps, ending in the antagonist’s death on the highway, would have made watered-down in a way that modern audiences might have appreciated it more.

         8 ½, directed by Frederico Fellini, could be changed in many ways to make it more modern. First of all, the film was not very accessible to the modern audience because of that crazy non-English-speaking aspect. How can we expect people to put all that effort into reading when we could dub and destroy the acting performances to make life easier on modern viewers? Not enough sex, either—the fantasy scene in which the protagonist rules over all the women in the movie should have been the whole movie, and the movie should have consisted of his having graphic sexual relations with each woman, including those sent ‘upstairs’--nothing like a little sex to please modern audiences.

         Closely Watched Trains, directed by Jirí Menzel, could be changed in many ways to make it more modern. Like the Fellini film, in this film sex could easily be further incorporated into the story to add a little sensuality and excitement—as if it were not pervasive enough in this movie for modern American parents to start an anti-train movement. Other changes to modernize the movie as well, like getting rid of that nasty, old black and white look, setting the story in modern Philadelphia, and acting adding a third act to the film. Wait; adding a third act might actually improve the flow of the narrative and make for a higher quality film, so we had better avoid that and save on the budget

.          Certain changes could be made to the films we have watched this semester to make them so that modern audiences will enjoy them, namely Notorious, 8 ½, and Closely Watched Trains. Adding more sex, violence, and English-speaking is sure to please modern critics. While no film can escape the wrath of those who think they know everything about movies, we can at least please those with the most disposable income.

Eric Hovis

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