It’s a brand new week in the movie rumor mill

And there may be some actual news mixed in here. Maybe.

* The big story today is that a lot of people have sussed out the the 23rd James Bond movie is, according to the possibly not-so-super reliable UK tabloid “canned.” Obviously, the same fiscal black hole at the once mighty MGM that is screwing things up royally for “The Hobbit” is also at least delaying the latest entry in what has to be the longest-running franchise in movie history.

He may be a bit emotional, but it’s hard to disagree with the passion of Harry Knowles on this, while Kevin Jagernauth provides some necessary background to the story. I agree that it’s a bummer this is happening during the era of Daniel Craig. As far as I’m concerned, Craig is easily the best Bond since Connery.

Daniel Craig in Casino Royale

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(Part of) my favorite scene from “It’s a Wonderful Life”

I still think is the greatest of all American Christmas films. Do I even need to tell you the title?

  

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Speaking of remakes and originals….

I’m not sure if this is often done, but as a fan of Brandon “The Reenactment Kid” Hardesty and in light of Steven Spielberg’s planned remake of “Harvey,” I thought it would be fun to place one of his recreations back to back with an original scene.

Here we see young Hardesty beating Spielberg to the punch and doing his own version of a key scene from the first movie version of Mary Chase’s sweet-natured comedy. (Especially if you’ve never seen the original, you may want to reverse the order of these clips for yourself. I keep changing my mind about which I should place first.)

And now the original. (Note: This clip is on the long side. The part that young Mr. Hardesty recreates starts at about 2:29, but you may want to watch all of it, because Stewart is kind of great.)

  

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More remakes

* The word has arrived of Steven Spielberg‘s new project, it’s a remake of a particular favorite of mine, Mary Chase’s terrific play “Harvey,” best known for the solid 1950 film version starring Jimmy Stewart in one of his best roles. (He reprised the part for TV in 1972.) Nikki Finke mentions Tom Hanks‘ name for the plum lead role of Elwood P. Dowd, a grown man who believes his best buddy and constant companion is an invisible 6’6″ rabbit. I’ve also seen Will Smith‘s name floated for it (he’s maybe a bit young for the part, still), but any number of actors could take this one on in fine fashion. It’s also possible Hanks might be a bit leery about stepping into a role so closely associated with the actor he’s most often compared to, but therein may lie the challenge, too. Jeffrey Wells inveighs against the project, in the usual terms. I think it’s fine, as long as Spielberg and writer Jonathon Tropper bring something new and worthwhile of their own to this version.

One interesting aspect here is the way that our present age is in some respects more puritanical than America in 1950, particularly as it relates to drinking. Most modern viewers would likely regard Elwood Dowd as an alcoholic today. (In the old days, I remember that TV Guide referred to him as a “gentle tippler.”) Will Spielberg and Tropper try to send Elwood to rehab? I say, no, no, no. Also, I sure hope Wells is wrong about the CGI Harvey. That would pretty much eliminate the whole point of the tale. This is not “Roger Rabbit.”

* I’m a bit late on this, but the planned remake of the Michael Curtiz-directed Errol Flynn swashbuckler — or, to be more kind, the new adaptation of the 1922 Rafael Sabatini novel of derring-do on the high seas — should really be called “Captain Blood in Outer Space” now. By the way, the 1935 “Captain Blood” was actually the second version of the tale to be made in Hollywood. Damn remakes.

* One way to avoid the whole “remakes bad” thing is to use a movie that hardly anyone in your target audience has seen. The French spy thriller, “Anthony Zimmer,” may be available through Netflix, but it there are only three reviews posted of the 2005 film on Rotten Tomatoes, which means it likely only showed in the U.S. at festivals and the like. When the new version, renamed “The Tourist,” comes out with Charlize Theron and Sam Worthington, will anyone remember “Zimmer”?

* Anne Thompson has some thoughts on the general timidity of Hollywood. She’s not wrong, particularly when it comes to the endless recycling of once-hot properties, but — at the risk of repeating myself — I really do think that most of the complaining is off-base to the extent that there’s really nothing new under the sun and that even “Hamlet” and “Romeo and Juliet” were essentially remakes the very first time they ever appeared on an Elizabethan stage. When remakes are good (say, “3:10 to Yuma“) no one complains, though too many forget the original. When remakes are bad (“The Wicker Man“, which was worse than bad, actually), well, the fault is not in the idea of remakes but in what the filmmaker decided to do with the material.

  

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