For this week’s festival of free films, we have selected titles that have either been remade or were taken from source material that was later adapted again—but nothing compares to the original cinematic versions. Wim Wenders’s Wings of Desire became the 1998 Meg Ryan–Nicolas Cage weepie City of Angels; Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress inspired none other than 1977’s Star Wars; William Golding’s immortal novel Lord of the Flies was brilliantly adapted in 1963 by Peter Brook and then reimagined in 1990 by Harry Hook; George Bernard Shaw himself worked on the 1938 adaptation of his play Pygmalion decades before the better-known My Fair Lady; Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless was remade in 1983 by Jim McBride with Richard Gere taking on the Jean-Paul Belmondo role; and Roger Vadim’s legendary And God Created Woman with Brigitte Bardot was done again in 1988 (by Vadim himself, working in the United States) with Rebecca De Mornay replacing Brigitte Bardot.
Also remaking his own film was George Sluizer, whose devastating 1988 thriller The Vanishing became a decidedly less disturbing 1993 film of the same name (complete with a new and not-improved ending). If you haven’t seen the haunting original, check it out below or at Hulu. Sign up for Hulu Plus for a monthly fee of just $7.99, and you can see the hundreds of other streaming Criterion films.