Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

Since the announcement that the popular texts Les Miserables and Anna Karenina are being remade for the big screen later this year, there has been much hype and speculation as to whether they will live up to the original versions.

With both trailers recently released, revealing glittering A-List casts, critics have predicted this year’s Oscar battles will be between that of the classic remakes.

Les Miserables has revealed an enviable cast including Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe. Not to be outdone, Anna Karenina features a sordid love triangle starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

However, it seems that in the case of this production, having a big name doesn’t always translate into casting success following the news that Taylor Swift narrowly missed out on her choice part as Eponnie to relatively unknown Samantha Barks.

As we eagerly await the release of both classic tales and speculate about the final films, it’s also got us thinking about how some of our favourite stories have transformed over the years.

So we’ve decided to take a look back at our favourite adaptations of popular classic stories and the constant revitalisation of their tales to suit a fresh audience.

Take a look at our top 5 re-makes as we compare some of the best oldies to the most unforgettable newbies and the stars that made them.

1) Les Miserables 1998 vs 2012

Bille August’s Les Miserables stars some of Hollywood’s favourites such as Uma Thurman, Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush and does well to condense the story without denting its emotional impact. The old fashioned dress and eloquent screenplay is exactly what we’d expect from a classic

The hotly anticipated 2012 movie version of Les Mis has got the rumour mill churning with anticipation and it has a lot to live up to!

It’s been revealed that stars such as Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Eddie Redmayne and Anne Hathaway will all feature in this modern adaptation and with such a star studded cast lined up, we just can’t wait!

The film is also said to be based more on the musical version of the text, featuring singing performances from the leads.

2) Pride and Prejudice 1995 vs 2005

Sticking tightly to Jane Austen's powerful novel, the BBC’s 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice is entirely in keeping with Austen's sharp, witty portrait of rural 19th century social mores.

Anunforgettable performance of a satirical and dashing Colin Firth as Mr Darcy alongside Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth is a BAFTA winning combination.

The lavish costume and outdoorsy action set this version aside from the previous studio shot adaptations, giving the story a modern day fit for television.

Receiving a bombardment of positive reviews, the latest version of the classic story reteamed Keira Knightley with her favourite director, Joe Wright.

Matthew MacFadyen co-starred as a dashing MrDarcy, retains the essences of the book's key plot and characters, but successfully moves towards a modern witty romantic comedy. Viewers are certainly in danger of swooning.

3) Great Expectations 1946 vs 2012

Ophan Pip growing through life's trials and tribulations has been adapted for the screen over 200 times but one old version that really captured the novel's true atmosphere was David Lean's inspirational 1946 film with John Mills as Pip.

The adaptation won 2 Academy Awards and stripped Dickens’ novel bare, cutting out several characters and even changing the ending of the story. But the cinematography and exciting screen play made for a dramatic change from the original tale.

Few adaptations have managed to successfully condense the 800 page epic life story into a cinematically feasible running time.

The BBC’s 2012 three part series however, allowed for short bursts of concentration yet veered away from Dickens humour and text, with beautiful new boy Douglas Booth leading the modernisation of this British classic.

4) Anna Karenina 1985 vs 2012

The star-studded adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel follows the turbulent life of Anna Karenina (Jacqueline Bisset) who is married to Alexei (Paul Schofield).

This is the 10th feature length production of Anna Karenina to reach the screen. The heart-wrenching story is beautifully portrayed and only those seeking a happily ever after will come away disappointed.

The long wait for the hotly anticipated new adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel, Anna Karenina, is nearly over.

The collaboration of director Joe Wright and actress Keira Knightley is a formula proven to work - past films include Pride and Prejudice and Atonement.

From the glimpse of the new trailer, the duo appear to have outdone themselves. Be prepared for a breathtaking and elegant take on Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece.

The only question remaining is whether Knightley has managed to improve on her Russian accent since her last attempt in A Dangerous Method.

5) Romeo and Juliet 1968 vs 1999

Shakespeare’s best known romantic tragedy has been adapted hundreds of times for screen, but the best oldie in 1968 featured Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey, winning Academy Awards for its fantastic screenplay and costume.

The film is exactly what you’d expect from an adaptation, staying true to Shakespeare’s text and portraying young love with harsh consequences.

Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 Romeo + Juliet and accompanying soundtrack completely redefined the classic story, modernising everything EXCEPT the text.

The cast, starring Leonardo Dicaprio transformed the squeaky clean images of Shakespeare’s romantic heroes and was a huge hit, making one of the Bard’s most famous plays accessible for younger audiences and the MTV generation.

Les Miserables (1998) and Anna Karenina (1985) are showing in July on Sony Movie Channel, Sky 323. Catch Anna Karenina on Wednesday 18th at 11.55am and Les Miserables on Thursday 19th at 2.55pm.



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