Was There Another Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and More
Mr. & Mrs. Smith
? Plus: A family trapped by green goo in their house,
Rendezvous with Rama
and more movie questions answered
Question: I just saw the Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith and I could have sworn I've seen the same story before. Am I misremembering? I know I'm not thinking of the Alfred Hitchcock movie of the same title - that has a totally different plot. - Frank
I'll bet you're thinking of a short-lived 1996 television series called - wait for it -
Mr. & Mrs. Smith
as spies recruited by a mysterious intelligence agency and required to pose as a married couple to carry out their assignments.
Neither trusts the other, in part because they've both worked for other covert agencies in the past and know that they may well have been on opposite sides then, but there's a sexual tension that would presumably have led to them becoming Mr. and Mrs. Smith for real, had the show not been pulled in the middle of its first and only season.
I frankly find it very hard to believe that the
Doug Liman movie
wasn't inspired at least in part by this series, but the writing credit goes to Simon Kinberg alone, with no mention of any source material.
Ironically, Kinberg and Liman reteamed to do a pilot for an ABC series based on the movie and starring Jordana Brewster and New Zealand-born Martin Henderson. ABC passed on the show and it appears that efforts to shop it around have come to nothing.
Question: I understand that Morgan Freeman is trying to bring Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama to the big screen. Do you know what the status of that is? Thanks. - John
The status of
Rendezvous with Rama
, based on Clarke's 1972 allegorical science-fiction novel, is the dreaded "in development," which means it could get made six months from now or never.
The good news is that
is producing it through his company Revelations Entertainment, which has coproduced six features, including
Along Came a Spider
Ten Items or Less
Freeman would star as the commander of a spaceship sent to explore Rama, a vast alien craft of unknown age and origin, and
is attached as director. French artist "Moebius" (Jean Giraud) is supposed to be the conceptual designer.
The bad news is that the project has been kicking around since 2001, and that's a long time for a film not to get made and remain viable. But that said, movies do get made after years of languishing in development, so it could still happen.
Question: Late one night, I saw a B&W movie where all the characters were dogs dressed like people. Someone told me it was Pound - but I checked it out and that's about people playing dogs. What I saw was dogs playing people. Do you have any idea what it might have been? - Sami
You saw one of the vintage
shorts, which were made at MGM between 1929 and 1931. They were brief parodies of MGM feature films, jokingly referred to as "barkies," and all the roles were played by dogs dressed in human clothes, walking on their hind legs and "speaking" post-dubbed dialogue.
I've only seen one,
, which spoofed
The Broadway Melody
(1929); it's included as an extra on the DVD. All I can say is: bizarre.
But it's no more bizarre than
(1970), a surreal film in which actors - including a 5-year-old Robert Downey Jr. - play dogs trapped in, yes, a dog pound waiting to be adopted. It was directed by Downey Jr.'s father, underground filmmaker Robert Downey Sr.
Question: I've been trying for years to find out what this movie I saw on TV was: I think it's from the 1970s and it's about this family that is trapped in their house because the windows and doors have been bricked up. All these weird things happen, like green stuff coming down the chimney, the TV only getting one channel with a picture of a lightning bolt, and the house suddenly heating up or getting so cold that they can hardly stand it.
The twist at the end is that they're not people at all: They're dolls in a dollhouse. No one can tell me what the title was and I'm starting to think I imagined it. - Karen
You didn't imagine it, but it's not a movie: It's an episode of the 1980's anthology series
Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense
called "Child's Play," directed by Val Guest and starring Mary Crosby and Nicholas Clay. The series was shown in the U.S. as
Fox Mystery Theater
and the episodes were long - about 70 minutes, so you could easily have thought "Child's Play" was a movie.
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