These War Films Were Remade — Should They Have Been?
The 1924 novel by P.C. Wren, about brothers who run off to join the French Foreign Legion in the wake of a family disgrace, has been filmed several times (1926, 1939 and 1966) and adapted for TV. The best version is arguably the 1939 film starring Gary Cooper, the 1926 silent drama with Ronald Colman coming in a close second.
The 1943 version of this film, based on the 1927 Philip MacDonald novel Patrol , stars Humphrey Bogart as an American tank commander fighting Germans at an oasis in North Africa. A 1953 remake—filmed as the Western Last of the Comanches —remained faithful to the original script, while a 1995 TV adaptation starring Jim Belushi was only passable.
Tora! Tora! Tora!
This 1970 epic about the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was based on histories of the strike by Gordon Prange and Ladislas Farago. Featuring an international cast and crew, it wowed audiences. While not technically a remake, the 2001 film Pearl Harbor , starring Ben Affleck, bombed with critics but did surprisingly well at the box office.
The Manchurian Candidate
Two films have dramatized the 1959 Richard Condon novel about a Korean War veteran brainwashed by Communist Chinese captors to be a sleeper assassin. The 1962 version —starring Laurence Harvey, Frank Sinatra and Angela Lansbury—ranks among the all-time best political thrillers. The 2004 remake, updated for the Gulf War and starring Denzel Washington as the assassin, pales by comparison.
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