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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

And then we have the stinkers: DOCTOR DOOLITTLE (1967, 1998)...In this case, I wonder why anyone would want to make a second version. The original had the star power of Rex Harrison and still couldn’t pull it off. At 144 minutes it was a sure snoozer with the only bright spot being the award winning song "Talk to the Animals". Number two was a bit better with Eddie Murphy providing some comic relief but still pretty much a dud. ROLLERBALL (1975, 2002)...The 1975 film was just OK and didn’t really deserve to be made again. It at least had some talent with James Caan and John Houseman existing in a society where violence is outlawed. The second coming of this film is just plain silly as stars Chris Klein and L. L. Cool J go to Europe to play rollerball, a circus event more than a sport. STAGECOACH (1939, 1966)...It isn’t so much that the second making of this classic is bad; it is simply a case where the original was so good that it was impossible to improve the product. The 1939 original is a great film, not just a great western. It was one of the early "adult" westerns which featured the interaction among a disparate cast traveling on a stagecoach through Indian territory. It also features some of the best action sequences recorded on film thanks to the artistry of Yakima Canutt. This movie made John Wayne a star and Thomas Mitchell’s role as the drunken doctor earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. The 1966 production of STAGECOACH gave it a whirl but the shoes were too big to fill. There is nothing wrong with the cast consisting of Ann-Margret, Bing Crosby, Bob Cummings, and Slim Pickens but it is too long at 155 minutes and sorely lacking in action.

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