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They Might Be Giants … Movie Review

lost failures million remake

The preceding chapter, as well as a few entries in other chapters, discusses some films that might be called “unjust failures,” or “noble failures,” or even, to take the phrase that interviewer Leslie Megahey used in his conversation with Orson Welles, “flawed masterpieces.” Films like Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons, von Stroheim's Greed, and Wilder's The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes fall into the category of impressive and important movies drastically cut by their studios before their release.

Other flops—whether critical, financial, or both—seem to deserve their status as failures. Ross Hunter's ill-advised 1973 attempt to remake Frank Capra's Lost Horizon as a musical prompted film critic Judith Crist to say, “Only Ross Hunter would remake a 1937 movie into a 1932 one.” The 1975 film Hurricane with Jason Robards and Mia Farrow cost $22 million and took in only four. The 1962 remake of Mutiny on the Bounty with Marlon Brando and Trevor Howard lost over ten million. Another embarrassing failure is Inchon, the 1982 epic financed by the Unification Church of the Reverend Sung Myung Moon, in which Laurence Olivier plays Douglas MacArthur behind some very heavy makeup. The poisonous industry reaction to the $18 million lost by Blake Edwards' 1970 romantic comedy of spying during World War I, Darling Lili, eventually gave him the idea for his black comedy about Hollywood, S.O. B. (1981).

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