MovieChat Forums > Pennies from Heaven Discussion > How does it compare to the remake?

How does it compare to the remake?


Is the ending the same?

I watched the remake last night, and I am not sure how I feel about it.

I thought that Arthur ruined Eileen's life. I don't see why she would even speak to the man after what he did.

The synopsis for the mini-series says that he gives up everything to find Eileen.

SPOILERS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN THE REMAKE:

Does Eileen become a prostitue and get an abortion in the original?

Is Arthur arrested for killing the blind girl?

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[deleted]

Well, to put it bluntly there is no comparison. Forget the film, if you really want to see drama at it's very best get hold the whole series, allocate some time and watch it.

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I have to agree with Tony - there's no comparison. I saw this when it was (originally?) aired on PBS (I think). This was my introduction to Bob Hoskins, and I have enjoyed all his work since then. I always think of Arthur when I see Hoskins.

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If you enjoyed this Mike, then try to see "The Singing Detective", or maybe you have !

Also by Dennis Potter but no Bob Hoskins. It is without doubt his TV masterpiece. Look it up here on IMDB. It is rated higher than most of the greatest films ever made.

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Thanks for the recommendation. I'll look for it.

"That's a priceless Steinway!"
"Not any more..."

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[deleted]

OK.... here we go...

SPOILER ACTION!!!!!!

!~!~~!~!~!~!!!~~!~!~!~!!!~!!~~!~!

The ending is the pretty much the same except there is an entire episode dedicated to a trial. He is framed for the murder of the blind girl, as the accordian man kills himself (jumping off a bridge or something...)

Arthur sort of did ruin Eileen's life, she did become and prostitute and get an abortion, but I think that she loved him anyway, as she pretty much stuck by him till the end.

He does give up everything to be with her, putting off a whole string of events leading to his arrest and trial. Joan's character isn't as severse as the US version while talking to the inspector ("Cut off his thing!" isn't present in the original).

As a whole, I have to say the original mini-series is better. The script of the US version is totally watered down, keeping in the memorable numbers ("Love is Good for Anything That Ails You",) and adding in a few new ones ("Ain't Misbehavin'", for example,) though the numbers weren't as vibrant. I did appreciate the production values of the remake, and the musical scenes where exquisite, most memorable, to me, being "Pennies from Heaven," in my opinion one of the best motion picture dance sequences of all time. In this way, the remake hails greatly over the original. But other than that, the acting isn't as good, although it was still well performed. And again, the script (and the whole story, for that matter) is totally watered down.

Anything else?

-Matthew

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(minor spoiler warning)

I'm watching the miniseries now. One indication of the difference between the film and the miniseries is the scene where Eileen is fired by the school headmaster for being pregnant. In the movie, if I remember right, Eileen figures out that her doctor is also a school board member and that her secret's out; the headmaster throws her out. The whole scene takes 90 seconds, if that. In the miniseries, this whole scene takes up the majority of an episode in itself -- perhaps twenty minutes: in which the headmaster approaches Eileen, and the both of them dance discursively, both metaphorically and literally, around the topic of her situation and the necessity of her termination at the school; the headmaster remembers her as his own student, and his whole history at the school, as well as his relationship with her, blossoms in subtext. It's very moving, and a fuller, richer entertainment than the comparatively threadbare film.

Another important difference between the miniseries and the film is the acting styles. The American actors are uniformly surly -- Steve Martin struck me as glaring throughout his entire performance. Jessica Harper, though a little more modulated, was still a one-note misogynistic shrew. Bernadette Peters was affecting but slight, and somewhat unconvincing. Gemma Craven and Cheryl Campbell outshine their American counterparts like supernovas destroy flashlights. And Bob Hoskins' performance is sublime.

--
I should warn you -- he's a Fourierist.

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I agree that the original is much richer, though the remake has some nicely done numbers (notably: Love is Good for Anything that Ails You, It's the Girl, It's a Sin to Tell a Lie (short, but moving), Let's Misbehave).

Some of the ambiguity is lost too.

For example, in the original, there is an element of doubt about who killed the blind girl. (The accordion man, a disturbed character, might have found the corpse and imagined that he killed her.) The remake removes all doubt.

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I loved the Pennies from Heaven movie. I still haven't seen the BBC series but i am familiar with Dennis Potter and love his stuff, especially the Singing Detective series. However, i do not like the Singing Detective movie, that was horrible.

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Well, I think the acting was better in the series. Steve Martin might be a good actor, but he's just unable to be Arthur the way Bob Hoskins is.
Besides, the script is much better in the series. The Headmaster-scene is a very good example.

**********
They blew up Congress!!! HAHAHA!

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I saw the film recently.... No, it has nothing to do with the series. But it's not just that. It's incredibly sugary. It raced through the story, it wanted to be over with. The characters were 2-dimensional.

I think I can see what Herbert Ross was trying to do. He wanted to make a happy foot-clicking musical out of it; I just wish he hadn't gone for Dennis Potter. By doing so, everything that is special about his writing was lost. Gone was the expression, gone were the very dark undercurrents which gave the songs their bitter-sweetness - and therefore, the whole point, the meaning was lost as was the story's impact.



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gone were the very dark undercurrents which gave the songs their bitter-sweetness - and therefore, the whole point, the meaning was lost as was the story's impact.


Solaribalu: You hit the nail spot on with that sentence.

What I liked about the show was the combination of the dreary, painful depression of the 30's and those overly romantic, happy songs. Which describes so perfectly what kind of unrealistic dreamworld many people lived in those days.

**********
They blew up Congress!!! HAHAHA!

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Yes, the contrast is very special, and one great irony was practically lost in the film: that Arthur was a very unkind man, full of wrongs, and yet he would pay for the one thing he didn't do.

The more I think about it, the more I think the movie was a disgrace to Dennis Potter's work.



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Here's the simple answer: Steve Martin (he of no discernible talent) is in the remake, so it can't possibly be worth watching.

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It's incredibly sugary.
No, no, no, no, no. The movie is incredibly melacholy, in the way the songs represent a happiness and escape for the characters but reality is always peering through it. Steve Martin isn't 'glaring,' he's getting lost in the power of song. He's won over by it, but ultimately can't escape into it.

If I have to tell you again, we're gonna take it outside and I'm gonna show you what it's like!

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Potter hated the film and first realized they were destroying the whole idea when he saw the "fantasy schoolroom" studio set during production.

He said of the musical numbers: 'They didn't come out of the characters, they didn't come out of the head.'

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I would agree with most here that the original miniseries is vastly superior to the movie, but the movie isn't a complete failure.

the movie has some excellent dance numbers, and it still manages to capture the sad, bitter tone of the miniseries, but little else. The acting in the miniseries is much better than the American film version, and there's more depth and substance in the miniseries. The scene where the headmaster tearfully fires Eileen is incredibly moving in the original miniseries. In the film, it's treated as a simplistic throwaway just to keep the plot moving.

The film is an interesting, perhaps noble failure. The miniseries is a work of art. It wasn't too bright of Hollywood to try and squeeze a 8 1/2 hour miniseries into a 108 minute movie.


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