"It's sort of a classic film in the sense that it's infamous. It's a good not great film by a great director, and we thought if we modernized it and Americanized it, it's rife for a remake, so we just went for it."
"...I look at 'Straw Dogs' as a very imperfect movie. It's a little bit slow and it's themes are a little bit murky. There are some amazing moments and it's a very satisfying movie, but you sort of look at what can be improved upon now."
"...It was pretty much killed by a two-second moment on screen where his wife is being raped and she smiles. That was the end of that movie. You can be certain that she's not going to be smiling in the rape in my film."
So, this is what it happens when a movie is remade by someone who doesn't understand the original. Should be fantastic, no? One wonders, did Lurie even try to understand those *murky* themes? Or because Peckinpah didn't spoon feed them to him, were they just too hard to get a handle on? And the film was slow? Another brilliant criticism!
It's clear that Lurie has no idea what Peckinpah was doing with the original film and that fact alone should disqualify him from touching the material. I'm not kidding. Straw Dogs isn't a "good" film, it's a four star, great film about manhood, machismo and violence, among other things. It isn't easily digestible, if that's what Lurie is trying to say here, but that's the beauty of it: it's a film you actually have to think about.
Furthermore, Lurie's comment about Americanizing it makes no sense, since the original film concerned an American, Dustin Hoffman's character, who was on a self-imposed exile from the U.S. so he wouldn't have to serve in the Vietnam War. The remainder of the film was about feeling out of place, being a stranger in a strange land. Even his wife views him as out of place in her "home." Americanize that idea and there's no story here.
As for the infamous rape scene -- did you watch the film Mr. Lurie? Yes it's controversial, but the smile that you say killed the movie actually means something. Before simply removing it because you don't understand it, how about considering why a "great" director included such a shocking moment in the film in the first place? But I guess you know better than Peckinpah, right?
My friends, this is a perfect example of why today's remakes suck. Often, they are created by people who have no respect - and in this case, no curiosity - about the source material. But Lurie's comments offer a valuable window into the thought process behind these lousy re-makes and re-imaginations. It takes a certain type of personality - a willful blind arrogance - to look at a magnificent, damn near perfect film like Planet of the Apes, or Straw Dogs, or Halloween, puff-out your chest, and tell the world: "It was good, yeah, but I'm the one who really knows how to tell that story!!!"