I have just been watching a feature on the BBC News, promoting the remake of the film musical ‘West Side Story’, directed by Steven Spielberg.
Being old enough to have seen the 1961 film on release in the cinema, it remained a musical I really liked, in a genre that I don’t generally gravitate to. When I heard the film was being remade for release in 2021, I really couldn’t see the point. After all, the songs and music are the same, and the story virtually unchanged. The original film is still amazing to watch, even sixty years after it was released.
So why do it? Why not just show the original in cinemas again, for a ‘new audience’?
Watching Spielberg being interviewed this morning, I got my answer.
The original film is no longer considered to be ‘representative’. In the new age of political correctness, where history has to be reworked and authenticated to satisfy the media and some minorities, it seems that Mr Spielberg did not think there were enough ‘real Puerto Ricans’ in the original version.
Of course, Natalie Wood was the lead female character, Maria, and she was a ‘white American’ actress. Rita Moreno co-starred and she was Puerto Rican. But there were not enough minority actors in the film to satisfy Mr Spielberg, so he sought to remake it to ‘rectify that fault’.
If we follow this through, then I suspect many old musicals will have to be remade, and very soon.
‘The King and I’ starred Yul Brynner, playing the King of Thailand.
How dare they not cast a Thai actor in the role?
‘Cabaret’ stars Joel Grey as the master of ceremonies in the Kit Kat club.
Come on, we know he’s not German. Get that film remade tout suite!
‘The Sound Of Music’ tried to fool us into believing that Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer were Austrians.
Why didn’t they use Austrian actors? I want to know!
‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ starred Dick Van Dyke as an English professor.
We all know he is American, and there were plenty of suitable actors available in England. Get that remake made!
I could go on, but will spare you more of my sarcasm.
It is just complete nonsense.
No thanks, Mr Spielberg. If I want to watch West Side Story again, it will be the 1961 version for me.