Some time ago, I noted that in the late 1980s, Teri Garr -- who has often cited Carole Lombard as one of her role models -- said in a magazine interview that she wanted to remake one of Carole's comedies (the precise one wasn't mentioned). Obviously, it didn't happen, but it does lead to an interesting topic: Which one of Lombard's films would be easiest to remake today...assuming you retained a contemporary setting?
Aye, there's the rub. It would be simple to remake a Lombard film and set it in the 1930s -- but placing one in 2010 (where we'll be in less than a month) creates plenty of challenges. It would rule out all of Carole's so-called "big four": "To Be Or Not To Be" is impossible to remove from a World War II context, "Twentieth Century" is as out of date as its title (stage stars and trains as a primary transportation mode are both obsolete), "My Man Godfrey" is invariably tied in with the Depression (a truth learned from the pointless 1957 remake) and while "Nothing Sacred" is still acerbic, it'd be hard for a newspaper to build up a Hazel Flagg today. (Would she work as the heroine of a reality TV show? Perhaps, but I'm really not sold on the concept.)
But as I see it, at least two Lombard films might be reworked with relatively little difficulty:
"Hands Across The Table" -- As in "Godfrey," there is a Depression theme, but it's far more subtle and could be effectively translated into the economic downturn of the past year or two. After all, there are still manicurists searching for wealthy husbands, and men trying to put up a front of affluence after being wiped out (or downsized from Wall Street). I doubt the modern-day Regi Allen would live in upper Manhattan, though; perhaps some flat in Bensonhurst or Bayonne.
"Mr. & Mrs. Smith" -- Okay, the remake might have to be retitled, so as to avoid confusion with the unrelated Brangelina film of the same name (its title came from a novel that had nothing to do with the 1941 movie), but marital farce still works. It'd have to be updated a bit, mind you; there'd have to be some reason (financial, perhaps) why Ann couldn't live with David once their marriage was dissolved, since the stigma of an unmarried couple living together isn't anywhere what it was in 1941 (or, more importantly, during the era of the Production Code). And unlike then, Ann could find steady employment regardless of her marital status.
Those are the two that come to mind. Another might be "In Name Only," as love triangles never go out of date, but I was primarily looking for comedies. And I'd still dearly love to learn what Lombard film Garr sought to remake. (For a splendid, extended interview with Teri, go to http://www.avclub.com/articles/teri-garr,2390/)
Nominate a film of Carole's you think could be shifted to modern times with minimal difficulty...and tell us why. This might make for some good give and take.