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    April Remakes

    Posted by Mike Finnegan on

    Going in Style, opening in theaters nationwide today, is part of a long Hollywood tradition of remakes whose material is “refreshed” and “restyled” with a later generation of actors and its plot about senior-citizen bank robbers updated to reflect our times, in which a bankrupted pension plan becomes the motivation driving the elder bandits. The 2017 model sports Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin as the three desperadoes under the direction of Zach Braff, and this caper hopes to make a substantial box-office withdrawal in proportion to that of the earlier 1979 model, written and directed by Martin Brest starring George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg, which became a surprise Christmastime hit in a marketplace filled with the likes of Being There, Kramer vs. Kramer and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Remakes are a moviemaking staple for studio reinvestigations of their vast library material, even nearly 60 years ago, when Fox decided to remake its homespun, Kentucky-set Americana favorite Home in Indiana (1944, directed by versatile veteran Henry Hathaway) as a Cinemascope/Deluxe Color musical vehicle for rising star Pat Boone called April Love (1957, from equally adaptive director Henry Levin). Both the original and its successor were filmed in beautiful rural settings in Kentucky and followed the reformation of a wayward troublemaker (Lon McAllister then, Boone later) into an amiable, repurposed, upstanding guy under the influence of rustic trotter horse-racing and a tomboyish practitioner (Jeanne Crain before, Shirley Jones after). Despite romantic temptations from flirtatious fillies with a mischievous streak (1944’s June Haver, 1957’s Dolores Michaels) and a hot-rodding, parole-endangering subplot introduced in the latter film to appeal to the “younger set,” new-found affection for the equine sport and the right partner win out in the end. An Oscar®-nominated hit title song and other bouncy tunes by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster (variously shared and soloed by the golden-throated Boone and Jones) added to the easygoing pleasures of April Love, making a sturdy case for the value of remakes done with polish, purpose and loving care on its gorgeous Twilight Time hi-def Blu-ray, which includes a marvelous Audio Commentary conversation between Jones and resident TT curator Nick Redman.