Howard Hawks was never shy about exploring similar ideas in multiple films—Rio Bravo and El Dorado being the best example—but in one instance, he remade a film almost word for word only seven years after the original was released. Ball of Fire versus its musical remake A Song is Born: which film is better? Read on to find out; it’s time for another Double Feature Showdown!
The Muppets: So, there’s a new Muppet movie. You may have heard of it; it’s called The Muppets. I LOVE The Muppet Show, but the only Muppet movie I have every really cared for is Muppets From Space. (I am fully aware that this is an unpopular choice for favorite Muppet movie. There are some who would like to forget this film was ever made. Pshaw, I say to them. It’s lovely.) My husband nagged me and nagged me to go to this, and since I force him to watch an unusually large number of Bob Hope movies, I graciously complied.
If we are to look at the history of the action film, then the progression of the genre is one that began with the classic American Westerns directed by the likes of John Ford and Howard Hawkes. Films like The Searchers, Stagecoach, and Rio Bravo were then the inspiration for foreign film markets, especially in Italy, where in 1964 they were revitalized with the box office success of A Fistful of Dollars. This led to a whole new genre of Western, one that for the first time ever incorporated shootouts framing the victim and the shooter together on screen at the same time. It featured heroes that were more criminal or morally ambiguous than the ones played by John Wayne; they were anti-heroes, men and women willing to, as Nietzsche warned, become monsters to fight monsters. The amped-up, over-the-top violence, the themes of hired killers, revengers, and lawmen struggling to forge a civilized future, are all vital aspects to the birth of the genre of the action film.