Help! — a disruption in the space-time-cinema continuum has resulted in a number of classics from the 1970s now being made in the early 1930s instead. I’ll show you what I mean…

Ronald Reagan honestly believed that the guy who tried to kill him was obsessed with a film called TAXI! Well, now he’s right — James Cagney plays Travis Bickle, Loretta Young is Betsy, Guy Kibbee is Wizard, David Landau is Sport. The happy ending looks even more dreamlike.

THE GODFATHER now stars George Arliss as Don Corleone, with David Manners as Michael, Jack La Rue as Sonny, and Dwight Frye as Fredo. And it’s 68 minutes long.

LAST TANGO IN PARIS stars Jack La Rue and Loretta Young. It’s all filmed from the waist up, but if anything it’s more obscene.

STAR WARS stars El Brendel. Playing every role. Due to the wonder of special effects.

THE FRENCH CONNECTION stars Spencer Tracy, with Maurice Chevalier as the connection.

GREASE stars Astaire and Rogers. And I guess it must be set in the 1910s. Get out your antimacassars!

Suggestions welcome.


37 Responses to “Timequake!”

  1. Oo, I remember having a bash at this when Reservoir Dogs first came out! As I recall, it was Bogarte as White, Mitchum as Blonde, Lorre as Pink (sort of odd, but it was Buscemi’s turn that that) and Jimmy Stewart as Orange.

    See also, I guess, the wonderful Orson Welles Batman hoax.

  2. “that that”? Sorry, new laptop. “That started it”. Or something.

  3. I love William Wellman’s ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST. Clark Gable’s McMurphy vs. May Robson’s Ratched—what an inspired pairing!

    Though I have to admit, Wally Beery makes the least convincing mute Native American I’ve ever seen.

  4. Eric Linden excels as Billy.

    I like the idea of a 40s Reservoir Dogs, but what would make it worthwhile would be Laurence Tierney switching roles from Joe Cabot to Mr Blond.

  5. Jenny Eardley Says:

    Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia with George Formby as Warren Oates and a lovely bag of chips as the head, in a delightful comic twist ending.

  6. Bring Me the Head of Fred Grantham!

    Get Carter with Max Miller?

  7. La Faustin Says:

    Lena Horne is … SPARKLE (with Theresa Harris and Mildred Washington)

    Miriam Hopkins is … LOOKING FOR MISTER GOODBAR

    Irene Dunne is … ANNIE HALL

    Hattie McDaniels and Mae West are … BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA

  8. Haha!

    Mae West in The Rose would be interesting, too.

  9. Not as interesting as Mae West in Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne

  10. mndean Says:

    SMILE, with Fred Astaire in the Michael Kidd role and Lupe Velez in the Maria O’Brien role. I blank out thinking of someone for Annette O’Toole’s part.

    I’m drawing too many blanks this morning. In PAYDAY, I couldn’t think of any early ’30s actor for Rip Torn’s part.

    Hell, count me out today.

  11. PUZZLE OF A DOWNFALL CHILD starring Kay Francis, with Michael Curtiz as director. Or maybe CLOSE ENCOUNTERS with John Agar in the Dreyfuss role and direction by “Nathan Hertz.”

  12. woolworthdiamond Says:

    How about North Dallas Forty with William Holden in the Nick Nolte part? Or Smokey and the Bandit, starring Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, and Eugene Pallette as sheriff Buford T Justice. Imagine Pallette just saying the name, it’s comedy gold. Maybe with Ralph Bellamy as his son?

  13. James Whale attempted once again to inject humor into his horror with THE EXORCIST, starring Colin Clive as Father Karras, Will Rogers as Father Merrin, Elsa Lanchester as the terrified mother and Mickey Rooney as her possessed son Reagan.

    After breaking up with Marlene Dietrich, a drunken depressed Josef von Sternberg took his cameras to Peru to film himself in THE LAST MOVIE. A similarly down-and-out Tod Browning played the American director, with Victor McLaglen, Gaston Modot and Jimmie Rodgers in minor roles.

    Meanwhile, on leave from the New York Orthopaedic Hospital, Anthony De Palma was trying his hand at filmmaking by remaking a couple of Hitchcock silents.

  14. Al Jolsen and David Manners in Performance with Joan Blondell, Una Merkel and Franklin Pangborn as “Harry Flowers.”

  15. Wonderful stuff!

    Mark, maybe George Bancroft could be Rip Torn? We’ve got to get him in somehow.

    Black Caesar with Clarence Muse?

    King Kong with Charles Grodin in the Robert Armstrong role and… oh wait.

  16. mndean Says:

    I thought of Kay Francis for the Barbara Feldon part in SMILE, and maybe blowhard Guy Kibbee for the Bruce Dern part. How about Ginger Rogers for the Annette O’Toole part? I still need a few more. Damn these big casts.

    I was going to suggest SUPERFLY with Cab Calloway in the title role.

  17. Wow.

    MASH with Lee Tracy and Warren William. Glenda Farrell as Hot Lips.

  18. When I tried to think of who’d play Philip Marlowe in Altman’s THE LONG GOODBYE, due to some films I’ve seen him in lately I kept coming back to someone who wasn’t a big star, Wallace Ford.

    Just think of all the booze-soaked actors of the ’30s who could play the booze-soaked writer! They could even stunt-cast a real alcoholic writer!

  19. Wallace Ford? Why go by half-measures? How about Wallace Reid ?

  20. mndean Says:

    Before I decided dead silent actors were totally out, I entertained having John Bunny in THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1-2-3, but after my ironclad rule, I figured maybe that was the place to put George Bancroft. With Joseph Schildkraut as the arch-villain.

  21. kevin mummery Says:

    If we’re re-casting SMILE, why not replace Geoffrey Lewis with George Sanders? Also, replacing Titos Vandis with Peter Lorre makes perfect sense to me…it fits in with his Brechtian work.

    I honestly can’t imagine another place where I’d find enough people who’d seen SMILE to even make an exercise like this possible. Kudos to David for his excellent website, and to everyone else for your connoisseurship!

  22. This is fun! I’m not sure George Bancroft is endearing enough to ever sub for Matthau (who’s always lovable whatever he plays — the movies can either acknowledge it or not). But I’d buy Eddie G Robinson in the role! Kibbee as Balsam.

    Star Wars with Eric Linden as Luke, Ann Dvorak as Leia, Chester Morris as Han, Boris Karloff as Tarkin, Lugosi as Vader, Clarence Wilson as Kenobi.

  23. Shutter Island struck me very much as a Lugosi & Karloff vehicle, only with Kingsley and Von Stdow. I may have said that already. Buffalo 66 wouldn’t need much to be turned into an Abbot and Costello vehicle.

  24. “Fight Club” starring Andy Divine, Ronald Colman and Lupe Velez.

  25. kevin mummery Says:

    Replace Richard Roundtree in SHAFT with Mantan Moreland and you jumpstart the entire Blaxploitation movement by 30 years.

  26. Putting the LAX back into blaxpoloitation.

    Patton with Richard Dix, Paper Moon with Ricardo Cortez and Shirley Temple.

  27. Jenny Eardley Says:

    Cries and Whispers with Carole Lombard, Ginger Rogers and Katharine Hepburn (it’s obvious which ones which).

  28. Salo with Lionel Atwill and Charles Laughton?

  29. If we look to the 40s/80s, we’d get:

    RED DAWN, directed by Sam Wood, starring Ronald Reagan, Franchot Tone, Greer Garson and Lizabeth Scott, Robert Ryan as the paratrooper who joins the resistance, and Akim Tamiroff as a sympathetic Yugoslavian military attache, observing the Soviet invasion.

    Victor Flemyng’s HOWARD THE DUCK would be considered a huge misfire as well, but it would include design work from William Cameron Menzies, Andy Rooney in a bad costume as Howard, Betty Grable as Beverly, Sydney Greenstreet as the mad scientist/creature from the end of the universe, and very miscast Kirk Douglas as the comic relief.

    And imagine how much better GHOST STORY would have been if it had been produced by Val Lewton, directed by Mark Robson, with Simone Simone as the ageless seductress, Walter Huston and Boris Karloff as members of the Chowder Society, and Lon Chaney Jr. as the hapless son of Walter Huston.

  30. James S Says:

    The Last Picture Show directed by John Ford, a sentimental tale about them closing down the old silent theater. Young John Wayne in the Jeff Bridges part, Ben Johnson in the Timothy Bottoms role and Harry Carey as Sam the Lion

  31. For SMILE, Lupe Velez as the Latina with the twirlers?

  32. Or, better yet, Dona Drake.

  33. mndean Says:

    I think I got that one for Lupe, see above.

    How about SLITHER with Will Hay in for James Caan, and to make it even more Brit, Miles Malleson for Richard B. Shull.

    As you may gather, I stopped taking this seriously awhile back.

  34. Like it was ever serious! ;)

    Rollerball with Joe E Brown.

  35. kevin mummery Says:

    TWO LANE BLACKTOP with Basil Rathbone and Leslie Howard as The Driver and The Mechanic, and Miriam Hopkins as The Girl. As GTO I’d cast Karloff, having just recently seen his performance in FIVE STAR FINAL.

  36. Rain Man is actually a remake of Martin and Lewis’ Holly or Bust by the way.

  37. True.

    Buster Keaton and Cliff Edwards in California Split.

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