Time to check in with our ever alert readers via our regular email bag.

We received the following in answer to our plea issued June 6 (‘DOUBLE INDEMNITY’ — The TV Movie) in relation to tv remakes of classic movies.  Are any of them any good?

Here’s what reader Neslowe came back with:

I’m surprised that I don’t hear much said about this, but Lawrence Kasdan’s ‘Body Heat’ is an updated version of ‘Double Indemnity,’ an unacknowledged remake.  

I don’t know why no one talks about it more but it seems strange that he’s never been taken to task for not admitting that he essentially stole the plot from the film. Anyway, thanks for the interesting observations on a project doomed from the start, like the TV version of ‘Casablanca.’

Thanks, Neslowe.  Not sure that your characterization of director Kasden’s debut feature, 1981’s Body Heat — costarring William Hurt as a Florida lawyer and Kathleen Turner as an amoral, married socialite — is entirely accurate.

The picture is obviously inspired by Double Indemnity (both the original Billy Wilder movie and TV remake starring Richard Crenna, who also has a supporting role in Body Heat). But the Kasdan movie brings a lot of heat to its subject on its own merits including a very sexy debut performance from Turner.

On the subject of tv remakes, this from Ray O’Leary:

You might check out the Richard Chamberlain TV movie of ‘THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO’ with Tony Curtis as the chief villain. It was very good.

Will do, Ray.  Thanks. This is one of those rare instances when a TV movie production was treated like a high-budget movie outing. In fact, after its initial airing on NBC in 1975, this ‘Count’ received a theatrical release in Europe.  The movie was shot in Rome, and boasts of an exceptionally strong cast:  besides Chamberlain and Curtis, Trevor Howard, Louis Jourdan, Donald Pleasance and Kate Nelligan.  Not bad.

In response to our June 2-3 GRETA GARBO Quiz — Questions and Answers, regular contributor Mike Sheridan observes:

An incredible woman, she drove Gilbert into an early grave.

Right you are, Mike.  Garbo was indeed ‘incredible.’ As for her silent screen costar and lover John Gilbert, he indeed died at an early age — at 39 of heart failure.  His heart was certainly broken by Garbo’s refusal to marry him.

Our Anyone For Bridge blog of May 28 asked readers to identify four famous personalities pictured.

Taci replies: Let’s see: Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Bette Davis and… Sorry, I don’t know the last one.

Mike Sheridan fills in the gap: Jimmy Durante is #4… inky, dinky, doo.

Actually, Mike, the song’s title is Inka Dinka Doo. It was composed by comedian Durante, and became his signature for the remainder of his career.  The tune was introduced in 1934’s Palooka, and recorded by Durante.  It was a smash.


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