Son of Kirk Douglas Devotes Company to Remakes, Eyes ‘Seven Days in May,’ ‘Seconds,’ and ‘The Final Countdown’
Posted on Wednesday, November 10th, 2010 by Russ Fischer
This story is almost bait for fans of John Frankenheimer, but in reality I’m reporting on it because there’s one good idea in here. And, frankly, I’m utterly mystified by the rest.
Peter Douglas, the son of Kirk Douglas, has chosen a new direction for his company Vincent Pictures: he’ll develop only remakes and sequels to films like Seven Days in May and Seconds. Yes, those are both John Frankenheimer films, but there’s a link here. The company is primarily acquiring rights to films that Kirk or Peter Douglas either acted in or produced. Read on for more possible projects.
Deadline offers up a quick list of possible projects: Seven Days in May, Seconds, Grand Prix (all three are John Frankenheimer films), The Vikings and The Final Countdown.
Let me start with the picture that might be most ideally suited for a remake: The Final Countdown. This war/time-travel film follows the USS Nimitz, a modern (for 1980) nuclear aircraft carrier, which is sent back in time to just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Should the crew initiate a strike against Japan, or allow history to take its established path?
The film was a relative obscurity before it was issued on DVD several years ago. And it is an entertaining piece of high-concept cheese that could become, well, another entertaining piece of high-concept cheese. If only Peter Berg’s Battleship wasn’t already in production. Because if a remake of The Final Countdown is going to happen, I’d like to see it as a crazy big-budget affair. What’s the chance we’ll get another big naval war movie any time soon?
And the rest: in theory Seconds could also work as a remake — the original saw John Randolph transformed into Rock Hudson, and thereby given a new life, by an unusual business call The Company. The film is a sort of study of class, ambition and the American Dream gone wrong — think Revolutionary Road by way of Philip K. Dick. But I’m not convinced the film would work as a modern tale, and why bother remaking it as a period picture?
Rent Seconds if you’ve never seen the film — there’s wonderful cinematography by James Wong Howe and it was definitely an early influence on Darren Aronofsky, among other people. There’s also a long, free-spirited and mostly nude grape-stomping scene. (Remake that!) Seven Days in May (a cold war thriller scripted by Rod Serling) and the racing film Grand Prix seem less suited for remake.
Kristi Frankenheimer, the daughter of the late John Frankenheimer, seems to have chimed in through the comment section at Deadline. She offers a sentiment that seems less than thrilled:
If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, I am flattered for my late father. Exposing a new audience to remakes will possibly interest them in seeing the originals….which is exactly what happened with the Manchurian Candidate remake fiasco.
Just be glad that the rights to Something Wicked This Way Comes, which Peter Douglas produced, are held by Disney so that he can’t rework that one. (Though someone will remake Something Wicked eventually.)