Garson Kanin at the AFI

I saw Garson Kanin at the AFI years ago in DC where he introduced MY FAVORITE WIFE and ADAM'S RIB. I asked him about remakes, because STAGECOACH(66) had been on tv the night before and MFW had been remade.

He was very much against remakes and called LITTLE WOMEN with Elizabeth Taylor, June Allyson and Margaret O"Brien "vomitous". I guess he didn't like the motive. Then he got to HIS GIRL FRIDAY that when you change a character's sex, you change the point of the story.


One funny point on many fans of old movies is they forever complain about remakes of old movies. That said the studios back in the 1930's used to remake movies much more frequently than they do today. (ie His Girl Friday was released 9 years after the filmed version in 1931.) Just review the film catalog of Warner Brothers and you will see this reality.

In terms of directors no director has had been involved in as many remakes (or re-imagings) as Howard Hawks. Heck he even remade his own movies. Just think Howard directed:
1) Red River (a remark & improvement of Mutiny On The Bounty)
2) His Girl Friday
3) El Dorado
4) Rio Lobo
5) Man Favorite Sport.

Of course the movies re-made of Hawks orginal is incredibly long...


There's a great story about Wayne and Jim Davis who appeared in three of Hawks' films. Davis and his wife had a daughter who was badly injured in an auto accident. The doctors said if she lived, she would be a vegetable. Davis said he and his wife had to tell the doctors to take their daughter off life support. She was their only child.

It sent Davis into a deep depression, and some friends told Wayne about the tragedy and what it was doing to Davis. Wayne called him and said he and Hawks were about to make RIO LOBO and wanted Davis in the film. That helped Davis move on, and he credited Wayne with his help.

I saw Davis interviewed after Wayne's death, maybe with Harry Carey Jr., and he said it was a side of Wayne you rarely heard about. TV GUIDE called Davis the "poor man's John Wayne." When you couldn't get Wayne, you got Jim Davis.