Films Which Should Exist


Mike Mazurki stars as “Killer” Cannolli in THE MURDERIZER.

Everybody join in (Yes, YOU.) I want to hear about films that should exist. The only rule is that they should not be films that anybody ever thought about making, they should be your own original conceptions. A title and a star or director is enough, but feel free to go further…

55 Responses to “Films Which Should Exist”

  1. We’ve discussed this before, but I find the idea too impossibly sweet to forget:

    Warner Oland, Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff as Charlie Chan, Mr Moto and Mr Wong in The League of Extraordinary Chinamen!

    I know Moto isn’t Chinese, but Mina Harker isn’t a gentleman either, and that didn’t stop Alan Moore…

  2. Maybe they should be battling Fu Manchu, played by either Karloff or Oland in a dual role. With either Anna May Wong or Myrna Loy as Fu’s daughter.

  3. Hillary Brooke in Cocktails For Three (1952). A sophisticated New Yorker finds herself unable to choose between the big city magnate who has been stringing her along with a constantly postponed promise of marriage (Ray Milland) and the small town boy who loves her but can’t support her on his current salary(Tom Neal). Mithchell Leisen directs.

  4. Very good calls. Also, I’d set it on the eve of Pearl Harbour, with news of the Japanese attack coming at the climax of the film, just as our heroes triumph. I picture a very emotional scene in which Moto reluctantly accepts that his loyalty to Japan means that he must return to the land of his birth and prepare to make war on the homeland of his two new brothers-in-arms (something like a scene between Anton Walbrook and Roger Livesey in Blimp). Not a dry eye, I tells ya…

  5. Find it hard to accept Moto, a confirmed international man of mystery, siding with Hirohito, but anything’s possible. You could make a great wartime Moto film where his allegiance is in question — the early Norman Foster films always liked to play with the enigma of Moto, was he good or bad? With WWII in the picture, that question could really be extended.

    David, I was sure you were going to suggest Tom Neal, Franchot Tone and Barbara Payton as your triangle. Perhaps at the climax, Neal beats Tone to a pulp in a protracted slapstick battle, Tone decides he likes it, and they go off arm in arm…

  6. Karl Malden as YOUNG NIXON–after bugging the local lay preacher’s home, a young Californian loses faith in the Quaker dream and becomes a Republican

  7. Great idea, but the title needs a tweak — YOUNG MR NIXON does it for me.

    If Watchmen had been made back when it was written, the ultimate casting coup would have been to have had Nixon play himself. He woulda done it, too! He doesn’t come off too badly in the comic, all things considered (although there’s a suggestion he had JFK offed).

  8. oh yes indeed–the Mr. really classes up the production!

    and that Nixon-for-Nixon casting would have been quite amazing.

    I’ve never quite understood the point of that Nixon-Forever aspect of Watchmen’s alternate history… is that the worst that Moore could imagine? With Reagan right in front of him? There’s no doubt in my mind that Nixon’s Republicans were a million times better than the Reagan/Bush remodel… I guess it’s just the dictatorship aspect that’s supposed to rankle. But isn’t that the kind of question that Watchmen–the narrative–sets out to interrogate?

    The book doesn’t work at all as political philosophy, in my opinion (and I’ve had to think about that thing a lot—after throwing it onto the syllabus for a course in American Radical Thought that I taught a few years ago). Luckily, it offers many other compensations! Can’t wait to hate the movie!


  9. I’m wary of the movie but I’m definitely keen to see it. Dunno if Moore was trying to envisage the worst possible future, or just a plausible alternative. I mean, so far as I know he has nothing in particular against airships, geodesic domes and double-breasted suits. Maybe he’d seen Secret Honor and taken the idea of re-electing the president a third time from that.

    I’d like to read Moore’s screenplay Fashion Beast, commissioned by Malcolm McLaren. The life of Christian Dior in the style of Jean Cocteau…

  10. oh yes–I’m keen too (I’m going this weekend!)

    re: Nixon in eternal power–that’s true, I suppose any alternate history would have served the purpose (because we know that, in our reality, superheroes were never outlawed)…

    Fashion Beast certainly could have been interesting!

    hey have you read other graphic novelish things? Grant Morrison perhaps? He’s by far my favourite!


    Lionel Atwill and Tod Slaughter face off.

    Propaganda musical by Alberto Cavalcanti. Jessie Matthews and George Formby star as the doomed lovers.

    E FOR EXILE (1976)
    Film essay about the aftermath of a fictitious military coup. Chris Marker and Orson Welles write and direct. Set in 2076.

    TWO EVIL EYES (2010)
    Portmanteau remake by Raúl Ruiz and Francis Ford Coppola. Same cast as the original.

  12. Yeah, the big hiccup in re-reading Watchmen (which is still brilliant) these days is the idea that a cataclysmic attack on New York by something other than a nation is going to bring the world to its senses. Gah. Which would sort of bring me to “WELLES’ BATMAN” except I think I wrote about it already. Did I? Welles would have dealt with that prickly issue you raised, David, about a millionaire beating up lowlifes… and would have made a much better Maguffin for Flicker – Oh I’ve definitely already written this.

    Okay: “The Muppet Othello”, with Ernie as Iago, Bert as Roderigo and Cookie Monster as Othello.

  13. Welles’ Batman would have been great (and I hate Batman)

    another Superhero film that we’ll never see, but which the world really could have used:

    David Lynch’s SMALLVILLE, starring the entire cast of BLUE VELVET

  14. Actually the life of Yves St. Laurent in the style of Jean Cocteau would be better. They were hooked on the same drugs.

  15. A Sam Peckinpah adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, with Yelena Kuzmina as Emma and big Mike Mazurki as Mr. Knightley.

    ps, my favourite Mike Mazurki role is in Ford’s Donovan’s Reef.

  16. David, you can read an excerpt from Fashion Beast here:

  17. I love his doorman in The Shanghai Gesture (“You likee Chinese New Year?”) and of course Tunga Khan in Seven Women.

  18. I had forgotten his Tunga Khan. He was great in that role. That’s a strange fiilm. He also appeared in my favourite Sirk film, Summer Storm.
    He also popped up in some great tv series such as The Beverly Hillbillies, Bonanza and F-Troop.

  19. Arthur S. Says:

    Another great Ford role was as the Polish captain in CHEYENNE AUTUMN for Mr. Mazurki.

  20. Atwill versus Slaughter — now that would be thrilling! An eye-rolling moustache-twirling marathon.

    Mazurki is an honorary Extraordinary Chinaman.

  21. Helmut and Louis

    Bruno Ganz and Ian Holm star as iconoclastic architects Helmut Jahn and Louis Kahn who flee the constrains of conventional architecture in a cross-continent hunt for the perfect location to marry their lighter-than-air and monumental styles–and finding love along the way. The relentless critical pressure, however, could prove their ultimate doom.

  22. Lucio Fulci’s THE DUCHESS OF MALFI. Fulci handled classical themes before (i.e. BEATRICE CENCI), and the mix of gore and insanity would play to his strengths.

    Michele Soavi’s MACBETH.

    A BLACK RICHARD III (possibly retitled BLACK DICK to be more blaxploitation-y) starring William Marshall, played as a mash-up of blaxploitation and gangster film.

  23. Also, forget Batman:

    Orson Welles’ DRACULA. Imagine the cinematic trickster and director behind the voodoo Macbeth unleashed on the 20th century’s horrors.

  24. Christopher Says:

    Wanderers of the the Wasteland:Gene Autry,Cisco Kid and Trinity refuse to come into the 20th century and wander the fringes of progressive civilization….kind of a 3 Mesquitees outing but….Django makes a brief apperence and we finally see why hes dragged his coffin behind him for so long..

    A Long Career….A young aspiring actress in Mexico lands a job in a Telenovela(spanish soap opera)and cracks the mystery to the secret of why so many ageing actresses and has-beens still maintian a youthful apperence…They’re vampires!…

  25. preston sturges directs this one

    an eccentric billionaire movie mogul (rex harrison) hires a hapless director (joel mccrea) to make a genghis khan picture but then keeps sabotaging it to keep mccrea out of the way because he wants to steal his wife (carole lombard). eugene pallette plays the demanding ham cast as genghis khan

  26. BOOKFACE (d: Frank Tashlin)
    Dean Martin, an avid reader of classic literature, is engaged to English professor Rosemary Clooney. Rosemary’s brother Jerry Lewis is a techno-junkie addicted to Facebook. They work out their differences with the help of Kindle spokeswoman Jayne Mansfield, ending (of course) with a double wedding.

  27. God, what would Tashlin have made of the Internet? The mind boggles!

    Alex, have you seen the Howard Hughes production The Conqueror with John Wayne as Genghis? It beggars belief (Wayne: “Say, you’re beautiful in your wrath!”) although the fact that everyone in the film died of cancer because they filmed it at an atomic test site spoils the joke slightly. But since Sturges went into partnership with Hughes, a parodic version of this actually seems possible.

    Christopher, there’s an episode of Freddie Francis’s Torture Garden that resembles your vampire story slightly, only it’s with robots, Stepford-style.

    The Welles radio version of Dracula is good fun.

    Nr K — what about Blackbeth, the ultimate blaxploitation Shakespeare gangster movie?

  28. I’d also like to see director Tomas Alfredson remake “Cloverfield” into a thoughtful, award-winning Swedish action/drama. It’s only fair.

  29. A Martin & Lewis premake of Werckmeister Harmonies. Dean is the smalltown composer, Jerry is the local stargazing postman, and there’s a circus coming to town with a giant whale…. Perhaps one for Taurog rather than Tashlin.

  30. Suggested alternative title for Helmut and Louis: Jahn, Kahn, Thankyou Ma’am.

    Bela Taurog… I should start a piece on compound filmmakers, like Rainer Werner Herzog and Ingmar Altman.

  31. A four-part Chris Marker meta-docu-poem-essay miniseries covering whatever he’s been up to this decade.

    The Old Testament as multiple annual releases (a la Lord of the Rings) with different actors/directors and no particular continuity of style between episodes. I’m thinking Pixar does Genesis, Jan Svankmajer does Exodus, and I definitely need Hal Hartley, Takashi Miike and Peter Watkins in there somewhere.

    Tom Waits concert film shot by F.W. Murnau on custom-built sets. Or Neko Case shot by Wong Kar-Wai. Or Jon Langford shot by Sergio Leone in 1920 (but with sync sound).

    The Modern Library’s list of 100 Best Novels adapted into a three-hour film by Peter Greenaway.

    Sam Fuller’s “Escape From Guantanamo”

    Joe Dante’s Inferno

  32. Christopher Says:

    W.C. Fields Meets Frankenstein…’course this is Feilds at Universal in’41..(it might have to be 1942)….Larry Talbot,the wolf man ,moves into a boarding house run by 2 aunts and and uncle Bill-Fields..Talbot is on the trail of Count Dracula-Lugosi,who he thinks has bought the big house next door to Uncle Bill and has plans to revive the Frankenstein monster there and take over the town of Lompoc…Talbot and Uncle Bill hatch many plans to undo Count Dracula down at the Black Pussy Cafe…..Feilds outsmarts Dracula’s wives by playing a game of “Sqwuigilum”….Fields discovers Talbots weakness and tames his new found buddy’s violent wolfman outbursts with a little applejaaack…

  33. Coppola updates Conrad’s The Secret Agent instead of Heart of Darkness: Ned Beatty as Verloc, Martin Sheen as Vladimir. All very Watergate.

  34. I want to see the 1932 version of Heart of Darkness, co-directed by F.W. Murnau and Robert Flaherty, starring Emil Jannings as Kurtz.

  35. Arthur S. Says:

    I haven’t contributed yet.

    A space opera set in a galaxy just 900 lightyears outside the Milky Way where giant pigeons do battle to decimate planets. Directed by Michael Curtiz.

    A moody Dreyeresque family drama. The son is obsessed with the Doors song to the point that he can’t speak anything but the song’s lyrics which creates a failure in communication that itself wasn’t working very well to begin with. Directed by Roberto Rossellini, even if the subject matter is more Marco Ferreri.

    An adaptation of Anna Karenina by Luis Bunuel.

    A version of Shakespeare’s TITUS ANDRONICUS by Sergei Eisenstein(although there’s a lot of TITUS in IVAN)

  36. Hmm, Murnau, or would Lang be better? But I like the idea that, just as City Girl reverses the “country good, city bad” stance of Sunrise, a Murnau Heart could reverse the “primitive good, civilized bad” of Tabu.

    How about Anna Karenina with Anna Karina?

    A Curtiz-lensed space opera could be awesome. As could an Eisenstein Shakespeare — he might really get to grips cinematically with the rhythms of iambic pentameter, in a way that’s barely been attempted elesewhere.

    Brandon, your Old Testament-made-new sounds like a winner to me. Ruiz, Cronenberg, Scorsese, Godard and Assayas could join in.

    The Secret Agent might be a good project for Coppola to do NOW… if he were up to it.

    Simon, your Muppet Othello is uncomfortably close to something I’ve just written for Shadowplay… I’m not posting it for a month though… can I suggest that since Miss Piggy has to be Desdemona, we’re stuck with Kermit as the Moor. “It isn’t easy being green.”

    Fields meeting Lugosi’s Dracula sounds good. “Never give a sucker an even break.”

  37. A key scene: Lugosi bites Fields (as C. Auguste Rotwang) and becomes inebriated. Ironically, Lugosi never got to play a drunk scene onscreen.

    I’d like to see Abel Gance direct this one, in the style of his Au Secours! (See elsewhere on this blog.)

  38. Jimmy Sangster reasserts Hammer’s true calling over the interloping comedies of the seventies and brings us MURDER ON THE BUSES, starring Reg Varney, Bob Grant, Anna Karen, Stephen Lewis, Patrick Magee as the undertaker and Shane Briant as the mysterious traveller. Also featuring Gillian Hills, just because. In an extended cameo, Michael Ripper plays a passenger that has fallen asleep on the bus.

  39. Or they could do Reg Varney the Vampire, in which On the Buses star Reg gets vampirised, and starts preying on the starlets at Bray Studios where he’s shooting the latest Buses film. Peter Cushing is working on the next-door set at must apply his vampire-hunting knowledge, gleaned from fifteen years of Dracula films, to solve the case.

    Christopher Lee appears briefly as a dignified ac-tor declining to appear in another ludicrous updated Gothic.

  40. Gillian Hills in the english language version of Jane Birkin’s career: The Pirate, The Pool, Kung-Fu Master, I Love You — Me Neither

  41. That’s a FANTASTIC notion. Parallel development at its most spooky. And any time Jane makes a film in English, Hills has to do one on French.

  42. Christopher Says:

    “One More time” meets “The House That Dripped blood”..Suprised they never did a big bonafide horror send up..”Carry on Hammer”

  43. Carry on Screaming does a pretty good job of spoofing Hammer, even if they were trying to spoof Universal. Every horror fan should see it:

  44. There’s this game I used to play, when reading filmable novels of (say) Jim Thompson or Philip K. Dick: Concoct the credits for a film version, only make ’em semi-plausible and have the (fictitious) film be a product of the year the book was published.

    One was a version of Thompson’s “The Transgressors” — a modern-day western — directed by Phil Karlson, with 1961 Marlon Brando as the miscreant protag and Kathryn Grant as the ingenue.

    There was a version of PKD’s 1970 “Maze of Death” with Robert Wise as director, also his mid-60s showbiz satire “Clans of the Alphane Moon” with screenplay by George Axelrod.

    These “What if?”s can go on forever …

  45. Christopher Says:

    I can picture something like The Transgressors coming out in the mid ’60s…like those films of Steve McQueen or Richard Burton that everyone made a fuss over when it was released,now long forgotten and better off that way..
    i enjoyed that “Carry on” clip..that was delightful..I was aware of the film but had not seen it..

  46. Axelrod is a particularly interesting choice for Alphane Moon. I would suggest Robert Morse as the paranoid character. I’d like to take a crack at that one myself.

    Karlson also seems a fine match for Thompson, they’re both at their best with tough, unsympathetic situations and people.

  47. Morse is good, although at the time I think it was the Jack Lemmon of “Wine and Roses” that I had in mind.

  48. Also good! Or he could be the guy who’s planning to murder his wife by robot.

  49. Ah actuallly I was thinking Prairie Dawn as Desdemona. Piggie unhappily cast as Emilia and trying to take over every scene, Kermit as Cassio, Fozzie as Brabantio.

  50. …Waldorf and Stadtler watching from their box as usual. Be good if it was edited like the Welles.

  51. A science-fiction writer whom more people should know, Barry M. Malzberg, used his pseudonym “K.M. O’Donnell” to write a funny and scuzzy novel that has always struck me as The Joe Dante Picture That Should’ve Been. The novel’s title — not terrific — is “Gather In The Hall of the Planets,” and here’s a good description …

    One thing that this description *doesn’t* tell you is that the protag, Kvass, ends up suffering roughly the same fate as Dee Wallace at the end of “The Howling.”

    I would imagine it filmed by the Dante of ” ‘burbs,” with a comic like Hanks as the burned-out writer. Bitterness plus satiric jokes at the expense of schlock SF …

  52. Sounds interesting. I’m just going to read up on Malzberg. There’s a UK novel called Rocket to the Morgue which is a whodunnit set at a scifi con. The author, Anthony Boucher, was a mystery writer and sf editor.

  53. Arthur S. Says:

    The Multi-Part version of Old Testament with Modern film-makers is a terrific idea.

    Let’s See – GENESIS by Claude Chabrol(I can’t imagine any other film-maker capable of showing the perverse male-female relationship between ADAM and EVE that led to the Fall as well as the murder of Abel).

    EXODUS by Michael Haneke. You know the blood and violence, the slaughter of the first-borns, the Great Plague, the orgy at the foot of Mount Sinai. It’s his thing.

    RUTH by Tsai-Ming Liang. A relatively warm and calm story.

    And for the greatest poem in Jewish literature(as per Harold Bloom) THE BOOK OF JOB will be directed by Kim Ki-Duk. Amos Gitai already did ESTHER so that leaves ISAIAH in the hands of Martin Scorsese and JEREMIAH to be commisioned to, who else, Jean-Luc Godard.

  54. A pretty good line-up!

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