Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
A New Edition Biopic Might Be Coming to a Theater Near You If This Fan-Made Trailer Goes Viral A New Edition Biopic Might Be Coming to a Theater Near You If This Fan-Made Trailer Goes Viral HBO Seeks Diverse, Emerging Writers for HBOAccess Writing Fellowship HBO Seeks Diverse, Emerging Writers for HBOAccess Writing Fellowship Films & TV Series That Are Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library Next Month (March) Films & TV Series That Are Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library Next Month (March) Check Out These Photos of Mo'Nique, Queen Latifah, Khandi Alexander & Michael K. WIlliams From HBO's Bessie Smith Bio + Premiere Date Set Check Out These Photos of Mo'Nique, Queen Latifah, Khandi Alexander & Michael K. WIlliams From HBO's Bessie Smith Bio + Premiere Date Set Oscars Telecast Ratings at 6-Year Low. So Was Nielsen Right About Correlation Between Black Nominees & Viewers? Oscars Telecast Ratings at 6-Year Low. So Was Nielsen Right About Correlation Between Black Nominees & Viewers? Here's the Story That the Denzel Washington/Antoine Fuqua 'Magnificent Seven' Remake Will Tell Here's the Story That the Denzel Washington/Antoine Fuqua 'Magnificent Seven' Remake Will Tell Ava DuVernay Won Ava DuVernay Won Watch Footage From Marlon Wayans' Richard Pryor Audition Tape Watch Footage From Marlon Wayans' Richard Pryor Audition Tape Mike Tyson Went to Algeria to Make the Country's "First Martial Arts Film"... Here's a First Look at the Results Mike Tyson Went to Algeria to Make the Country's "First Martial Arts Film"... Here's a First Look at the Results If You Missed PBS' August Wilson Documentary, 'The Ground on Which I Stand,' Watch It in Full Now! If You Missed PBS' August Wilson Documentary, 'The Ground on Which I Stand,' Watch It in Full Now! Now in Demand: Black Actors - Morris Chestnut Books Starring Role in Investigative Drama Pilot for Fox Now in Demand: Black Actors - Morris Chestnut Books Starring Role in Investigative Drama Pilot for Fox Here's One Reason Why Eddie Murphy's 'SNL' Appearance Was So Awkwardly Brief... Here's One Reason Why Eddie Murphy's 'SNL' Appearance Was So Awkwardly Brief... Now You Can Watch All 10 Oscar Nominated Short Films (Live Action & Animation) Online Now You Can Watch All 10 Oscar Nominated Short Films (Live Action & Animation) Online Jill Marie Jones Scores Female Lead Role in Starz Original Series Based on 'Evil Dead' Film Franchise Jill Marie Jones Scores Female Lead Role in Starz Original Series Based on 'Evil Dead' Film Franchise Mo'Nique's Decision to Not "Play the Industry Game" Gets Her Blacklisted. The Actress Speaks... Mo'Nique's Decision to Not "Play the Industry Game" Gets Her Blacklisted. The Actress Speaks... For the First Time, the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards Will Be Broadcast on TV - on OWN For the First Time, the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards Will Be Broadcast on TV - on OWN Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Apparently, Hosting The Oscars Isn't As Coveted A Gig As I Previously Assumed... Apparently, Hosting The Oscars Isn't As Coveted A Gig As I Previously Assumed... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Why & How 'The Long Ships' w/ Sidney Poitier Should Be Remade. What Old Films Would You Remake?

Shadow and Act By Sergio | Shadow and Act August 22, 2013 at 11:26AM

I asked this question before, over two years ago, and I thought once more unto the breach (to quote Shakespeare's Henry V), and ask it again, to see what kind of responses we get from our readers this time around.
39
The Long Ships

I asked this question before, over two years ago, and I thought once more unto the breach (to quote Shakespeare's Henry V), and ask it again, to see what kind of responses we get from our readers this time around.

So let’s say you’re a filmmaker who has gotten the funding to make a film, along with final cut and total control, except you have to remake a previous film - what film would you remake? I’ve asked that question myself, to friends and now to you readers out there.

There are so many films I could name, but I assume, like me, you would want to try your hand at redoing some guilty pleasure that just missed the mark. Not a great film by any means, but one with a great premise that you enjoy and in your heart just know you could have done a better job.

My first choice back then, and now, STILL would be the 1964 chintzy, not-quite-epic adventure movie The Long Ships with Sidney Poitier and Richard Widmark.

Perhaps some of you have seen it before. Not even remotely within 50 miles of being a great film as you will agree, but a terrific premise full of possibilities (which are never fulfilled) nonetheless.

For those who have never seen it, it’s about a band of renegade Vikings, led by Widmark, and a Moor (Poitier), both of whom are after this giant golden bell for... well, we are not really sure why. Maybe because it‘s there and it’s made of a gold.

The film was made to cash in on the success of The Vikings (in fact, the cinematographer for The Vikings, Jack Cardiff was the director of The Long Ships), and the Charleston-Heston-defeats-the-evil-Moors-out-of-Spain 1961 epic El Cid, but on a fraction of the budget.

While El Cid and Vikings were shot in breathtakingly beautiful and exotic locations like Spain, Norway, Germany and France, The Long Ships was mainly shot in what was then the much cheaper and grungier Yugoslavia - and it looks it.

The story is full of holes you can drive a Mack truck through, like, in one scene, where Widmark escapes being tortured by Poitier by jumping out a window into the ocean, and is later found washed up on the shore of his Viking village, with no explanation of how he got there. So he swam all the way from North Africa to Norway???

The action is pretty thin (basically, one limp battle scene), the plot is stupid, it looks really cheap, and there’s Lionel Jeffries, who was a very funny British comic actor of the period, playing a flaming gay mute eunuch in blackface.

But it’s got Poitier wearing a magnificent “process” and is bare-chested for half of the film, playing the villain, and looking like he’s having a fun time doing it too. But I just wish I could remake that film and make it better. 

So, in light of that, here are some of the things I would do:

1) I wouldn’t do something so predictable like reversing the roles and making the white guy the villain and the Moor the good guy or vice versa. That’s too obvious and boring. I would instead make them both duplicitous bastards who wouldn’t hesitate to slit the other’s throat to get what they want. Add some tension to the mix.

2) No 3D bullshit, nor would I shoot it on digital video. Film all the way; and I would go one step further and shoot it in 65MM, like the original was, and like they did for large-scale epic films back then. Go for the overwhelming, highly detailed, huge screen image. It’s time for 65MM to make a comeback, following the lead of Paul Thomas Anderson who shot his film The Master in 65MM.

3) Add a lot more action, like more battles and fights. And not that lame, family friendly, PG-13 kid’s stuff, but hard “R” rated, bloody, graphic battle scenes. Beheadings, dismemberments, impalings. Go for that Braveheart tip.

4) CGI effects ONLY when absolutely necessary. All effects will be practical, on camera, as much as possible, like they used to do. People can tell the difference between the real stuff and cartoon B.S.

4) Put in more infomation about the clash of cultures between the white Europeans and black Africans. Add some tension and edginess to the film.

5) Do a worldwide search to find the next Pam Grier for a major role in the film (and I’ve got a feeling I won’t find her in the U.S.), and not for some lame, doting wife role; but a vicious, kick ass fighter who’s lethal with a scimitar.

And that's how I'd begin my retake on The Long Ships.

So what would YOU remake, and what changes or improvements would you include? 

Here’s the trailer for The Long Ships:

This article is related to: Sidney Poitier


Shadow & ActNewsletter