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10 Directors Who Remade Their Own Films

Written by on November 21, 2013 

While remakes are no stranger to the land of Hollywood and abroad, rare is the case when a filmmaker decides to provide a new take on their earlier work. Warranted or not, there’s a myriad of reasons that go into the decision, and, with the latest example arriving in theaters this week, we’re here to provide one with a handful of notable examples. Check out our rundown below, which contains both theatrical remakes and the jump from shorts to feature-length films. If you want to see more notable remakes, check out our list of The 10 Best American Remakes of Foreign Films.

Cecil B. DeMille // The Ten Commandments (1923) and The Ten Commandments (1956)

With a 33-year gap between these biblical tales, there are clear reasons why Cecil B. DeMille revisited the story of Moses with The Ten Commandments. His first go-round in 1923 was a silent effort, and one that actually only featured a portion of the biblical leader’s story, with the last two-thirds dedicated to seeing the commandments play out in a then-modern setting. While it was a commercial success, his follow-up (and the final film of his career) would provide the landmark entry most of us know today. Led by Charlton Heston, his 1956 version (which features some very familiar sequences and sets from the original) is one of the most-seen films of all-time, taking in an almighty sum of (adjusted for inflation) over $1 billion. – Jordan R.

Michael Haneke // Funny Games (1997) and Funny Games (2007)

A capsule on the first film copied and, then, passed off as a capsule on the second (with maybe an extra comma or two) would almost suffice, though even these to-the-point similarities do not stop yours truly from being more inclined toward Haneke’s original iteration — not only for the more-effective presence of lesser-known stars, but on account of a more decisive message. When brought to American shores a few years back, its refocused criticisms of what was now big in the horror genre — you know, the Hostel and Saw set — felt a little old hat, somehow weighing down the precise formalism of what’s nearly an exact replication. (Unless you want to indulge in the recent horror sensations he chose to mock, which is your own baggage.) – Nick N.

Alfred Hitchcock // The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) and The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

With over fifty feature-length films to his name, Alfred Hitchcock revisited many similar themes in his thrillers, but he only remade one of his earlier works a single time. The Man Who Knew Too Much, first arriving in black-and-white in 1934 — and, then, with a bigger budget and Technicolor VistaVision lens in 1956 — tracks a family who unknowingly become involved in an assassination plot and find their child missing. They both feature a rousing climax (quite literally, in the musical sense), but differences can also be found in the gender roles of our lead couples and their responses to the kidnapping — regardless, both approaches resulted in worldwide hits for The Master of Suspense. – Jordan R.

Michael Mann // L.A. Takedown (1989) and Heat (1995)

In the midst of the success of his television show Miami Vice, budding crime auteur Michael Mann had an ambitious, 180-page cops-and-robbers epic that he was struggling to get off the ground. As a solution, he cut the script down to 100 pages and contained the action to Detective Vincent Hanna (Scott Plank) surveying a crew of ruthless thieves led by Patrick McLaren (Alex McArthur), as well as the shootout that occurs after the robbery takes place. It aired on NBC in 1989 as L.A. Takedown to middling reviews. Six years and many millions of dollars later, the original script would become a crime epic, Heat, starring two of film’s greatest actors in the lead roles. – Dan M.

Hideo Nakata // Ringu 2 (1999) and The Ring 2 (2005)

Gore Verbinski translated Ringu into the first J-Horror remake, and the film left audiences hungry for more vengeful spirits. Five years after the original director Hideo Nakata helmed his own sequel, he was hired to reiterate the tale of a haunted videocassette for The Ring 2. His American debut opened to bad reviews and was soon forgotten (save for the viewers who remember its terrible CGI deer), but the flop didn’t stop Nakata from continuing as a successful genre filmmaker in his native country. – Amanda W.

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