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A film based on a previously published film is referred to as a remake or remake (short for English film remake ). Remakes have been common since the film was first made and are shot for various reasons, but most often for commercial reasons. There are different types and sub-categories of remakes, which cannot always be clearly differentiated from one another. Closely related to the remake is the reboot ("restart"): If a successful film results in a cinema series (such as Spider-Man ), it is often restarted with a reboot.


The film scholar James Monaco tries a general definition , for whom a remake is the “remake of a material that has already been filmed”. It leaves open what is meant by the term “substance”. The term “substance” allows for different interpretations. On the one hand, these can be scripts, novels, legends or historical events; on the other hand, it remains uncertain how great the parallelism between the old and new versions can be.

A new filming of a film or literary work is described by the term new filming . Often, however, a distinction is made between a remake and a new adaptation . The new adaptation mainly refers to the (literary) model of the original film and ignores aspects of the earlier film. Films that build on known literature and largely ignore previous film adaptations are referred to as new adaptations (inter alia, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein , 1994).

A precise classification of the individual films is often difficult. A stamp of “new filming” or “new adaptation” is mainly used for films that explicitly refer to previous work (for example in the adoption of the title and authors of the original). In the specialist literature, however, problems are shown that lie in the determination of the original work and the definition of when a film corresponds to another to such an extent that a classification is appropriate, because these boundaries are fluid, especially in sub-genres of the film.


Since the beginning of the film, ideas or entire films have been offered to viewers again as remakes. For example, L'Arrivée d'un train à La Ciotat (1895), one of the first films by the Lumière brothers , is used as a template for remakes by the competing film production companies Empire State Express ( Bioscope , 1896) and Black Diamond Express ( Edison , 1896) seen. , P. 89 When the film went through the countries as a fairground attraction in the following years, remakes were the order of the day. For example, the local entrepreneur Ludwig Stollwerck financed a remake at Cologne Central Station . It was not only the request to copy other successful and popular films, but also the consumption of the film negatives as a reason. When film became more complex from the 1900s and a slowly developing authorship by filmmakers led to legal disputes, more and more modified remakes helped to formulate the first film genres . , P. 91

In the years that followed, remakes were made in the film industry for several reasons: Successful films often offered a guarantee that the remake would be successful. The purchased, expensive rights to a template were used several times in order to increase profit. In the 1930s and 1940s, remakes were often made by the same studio at intervals of a few years. Technical innovations, such as sound film , color film , cinemascope or computer-aided special effects , were also tested and introduced using already successful films as templates. The threat of new media such as television or video also led to increased production of remakes. The high number of remakes up to the 1950s is justified by the understanding of producers and viewers at the time, who viewed films only as a current product.

An artistic ambition can also be seen as the reason for many new films. This is particularly evident in cases where the director remakes his own films, such as Alfred Hitchcock . Other successful films that are important for the artistic development of film are also remakes. The classic of the film noir Die Spur des Falken (1941) was already the third film adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's material after The Maltese Falcon (1931) and The Satan and the Lady (1936).

From this point of view, remakes can also be considered that adapt the template to another genre or the development of a genre. In general, new high phases of a genre often go hand in hand with remakes of genre classics. After successful remakes and adaptations of classic horror novels in American horror movies of the 1990s (including Bram Stoker's Dracula ), a large number of remakes of American horror films from the 1970s (including Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) and Das Omen (2006)) in theaters.

Today remake is particularly associated with modern Hollywood film, although remake was and is widely practiced in other film countries and throughout the history of film. This has mainly to do with the dominant position of American cinema. The tradition of remaking non-English language films often shortly after the successful original was released as an "Americanized" version is justified by the rejection of American viewers towards dubbing and subtitling.

Frequently filmed fabrics

Exemplary remakes

→ see list of new films

  • Ben Hur : The successful novel Ben Hur from 1880, which tells the story of the fictional Jewish prince Judah Ben Hur, has already been filmed four times. In particular, the versions from 1925 with Ramón Novarro in the title role and 1959 with Charlton Heston are known as two of the most successful films in American film history and were praised primarily for the staging of the chariot race. William Wyler's 1959 version also received eleven Oscars.
  • Psycho : The remake Psycho caused a stir in 1998 because director Gus Van Sant made a very stringent form of remake. He implementedAlfred Hitchcock's 1960film Psycho , which is considered a classic psychological thriller, in almost every setting and with unchanged dialogue and film music.
  • Infamous : The director William Wyler hadfilmedthe play The Children's Hour by Lillian Hellman , which is about two teachers suspected of having a lesbian relationship,under the title Three These in 1936 . However, he had time to pressure the film studio United Artists , who feared a ban because of the subject, make as many changes to the script, he shot a remake in 1961, which he then claimed that this is the actually the first film version of The Children's Hour is .
  • King Kong and the White Woman , a film about the love between a woman and a giant gorilla, was made in 1933 and its success has resulted in many sequels. In 1976, King Kong was remade under John Guillermin with Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange . Despite good reviews, the film was not financially successful. 29 years later, thedirector Peter Jackson , who became famous primarily for the film series The Lord of the Rings , dared to makeanother film. King Kong hit theatersin 2005 with Naomi Watts , Jack Black and Adrien Brody and has been a huge hit again since the original. The film grossed more than $ 550 million.
  • Funny Games : Funny Games is a film by Michael Haneke from Austria from 1997; hehimself made it again in 2007as Funny Games US .

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Remake  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. James Monaco, Understanding Film - Art, Technology, Language. History and Theory of Film , 1980, p. 72
  2. Jochen Manderbach, Das Remake - Studies on His Theory and Practice , 1988, p. 8
  3. a b Jennifer Forrest, Leonard R. Koos (Eds.): Dead Ringers: the Remake in Theory and Practice. SUNY Press 2002, ISBN 0-7914-5169-0 .
  4. Luzia Schmid, Rüdiger Heimlich: Secret Cologne Central Station Westdeutscher Rundfunk , 2015.
  5. Dury, Richard. Film adaptations of Treasure Island