Monday, September 18, 2006

Double Plus Ungood

Because I hate you all so much, I torment you with yet another comparison of a scene from Double Indemnity with that horrible made-for-TV remake, in this case, the final scene.

The good, from 1944 (with Fred MacMurray and Edward G. Robinson):

The bad, from 1973 (with Richard Crenna and Lee J. Cobb):

To soften the blow, here's a less lopsided comparison: the attempted assassination scene from Alfred Hitchcock's two versions of The Man Who Knew Too Much. The two scenes are very similar -- they even use the same music, by Arthur Benjamin (which left Bernard Herrmann without much to do in the remake, but he does get to make a cameo as the conductor of the orchestra). But the scene from the remake is in color, is much longer -- twice as long, basically -- has more of an action-y climax to it, and makes the heroine more down-to-earth by having her not actually be in attendance at the concert (it just wouldn't do for Doris Day to actually be going to a snooty concert the way Edna Best is in the original). Hitchcock preferred the remake, but I think time has been kinder to the shorter, faster, punchier original.

1934 version:

1956 version:

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