Evan Rachel Wood and Kate Winslet in the 2011 miniseries adaptation of the James M. Cain novel by Todd Haynes

‘Mildred Pierce’ – the miniseries on Amazon Prime and HBO Now

Mildred Pierce (2011) is less a remake than a new run at adapting the James M. Cain novel. Previously made into a Hollywood classic (which earned Joan Crawford her only Oscar), it’s been transformed into a five-hour mini-series by director Todd Haynes, who cast Kate Winslet in the title role as the mother blindly devoted […]

Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in the 1959 Hammer horror classic directed by Terence Fisher

Christopher Lee is ‘The Mummy’ on Filmstruck

Hammer Films’ greatest nemeses, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, once again square off in The Mummy (1959), the studio’s reworking of Universal’s The Mummy (with elements of The Mummy’s Tomb and The Mummy’s Ghost thrown in for good measure). Cushing stars as archaeologist John Banning, whose dig for a lost tomb results in untold treasures […]

Christopher Lee is Dracula in the Hammer horror film from Terence Fisher with Peter Cushing

Hammer Films’ ‘The Horror of Dracula’ on FilmStruck

After Hammer’s tremendous success with The Curse of Frankenstein, they struck a deal to adapt Universal studio’s catalogue of classics. The Horror of Dracula (1958) was their first follow-up. Christopher Lee removes the monstrous make-up from the earlier film and makes his entrance as an elegant, confident, altogether seductive Dracula, a frightening figure of flashing […]

Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing star in the Hammer horror film from Terence Fisher

‘The Curse of Frankenstein’ – Hammer horror on FilmStruck

Britain’s Hammer Studios had been making films for decades before they suddenly redefined themselves with this lurid remake of the Universal Studios horror classic. Prohibited by Universal from copying their blocky make-up (and their script for that matter), Hammer returned to Mary Shelley’s novel for inspiration for The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)… and then went […]

Isabelle Adjani and Klaus Kinski in the 1979 remake by Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog’s ‘Nosferatu the Vampyre’ on Amazon Prime Video

Nosferatu the Vampyre (Germany, 1979), Werner Herzog’s eerie color remake of F.W. Murnau’s original vampire classic (itself an unauthorized version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula), is at once faithful to Murnau’s film and quintessentially Herzogian. Klaus Kinski, Herzog’s demon alter ego, is both hideous and haunting as the chalk-skinned gargoyle, a melancholy monster seeking an end […]

Chloë Grace Moretz stars in the American remake of the Swedish horror film, directed by Kodi Smit-McPhee

‘Let Me In’ on Amazon Prime Video

Let Me In (2010), a remake of Let the Right One In, the Swedish coming-of-age horror movie-turned-adolescent survival drama in the wilds of suburban civilization, is as unexpected as can be: an American revision of a celebrated European film that honors the original while translating its anxiety and unease to a distinctly American setting. If […]

Al Pacino is Cuban thug turned Miami drug lord Tony Montana in Brian De Palma's 'Scarface'

‘Scarface’ – Say hello to my little friend on Netflix

Brian De Palma’s Scarface (1983), ostensibly a remake of the Howard Hawks gangster classic, moves the iconic rise and fall crime opera from the tommy-gun gangster street battles of the prohibition era to the cocaine wars of Florida in the eighties. In the process, De Palma, screenwriter Oliver Stone, and star Al Pacino carved out […]

Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson star in the 1954 melodrama classic by Douglas Sirk

‘Magnificent Obsession’ – The grand melodrama of Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman on Criterion DVD

Jane Wyman’s Helen Hudson is the widow of a self-sacrificing surgeon. Rock Hudson’s Bob Merrick is an arrogant millionaire playboy whose reckless ways and attitude of entitlement indirectly lead to the death of Helen’s husband and to an accident that leaves her blind. The “magnificent obsession” of the title refers to a spiritual philosophy of […]

Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor, and Sydney Greenstreet in the film adapted from the Dashiell Hammett novel by John Huston.

‘The Maltese Falcon’ – the stuff dreams are made of on FilmStruck

If there is a cooler, tougher, more shrewd and self-sufficient private detective in the movies than Humphrey Bogart’s incarnation of Sam Spade in John Huston’s note-perfect adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon (1941), I’ve yet to see him in action. The 1941 classic wasn’t the first screen version of Hammet’s iconic novel, but it […]

Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson star in the Oscar-winning gangster film

Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Departed’ on Netflix

The Departed (2006), Martin Scorsese’s return to American urban crime cinema, became the biggest hit of his career and earned him his very first Academy Award for Best Director. Leonardo DiCaprio is Billy Costigan, a street thug working for South Boston crime boss Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson), and Matt Damon is Colin Sullivan, a rising […]