The Editor’s Desk: Coronavirus classic cinema

The Editor’s Desk: Coronavirus classic cinema

Some familiar films would look a lot different if they’d been made during a time of COVID-19

With the film and TV industries getting back to work again, it will be interesting to see how (or if) the coronavirus figures in plots and storylines. British soap opera Coronation Street has announced that when new episodes start airing on July 24, the action in Weatherfield will mirror the real world: people will be shown physically distancing, and any characters played by actors over the age of 70 will only appear in storylines via Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime for the time being. “I don’t want Ken Barlow getting sick on my watch,” said one TV executive, referring to the character played by 88-year-old actor William Roache, who has been with the show since its first episode in 1960.

That’s fine going forward, but what about existing movies and shows that reflect a very different world? This got me thinking about what a few classic movies might look like if they had been made during the pandemic; herewith are a few suggestions.

King Kong: Cut off from radio communication with the outside world, moviemaker Carl Denham and his crew successfully capture Kong on Skull Island, and bring the “Eighth Wonder of the World” back to civilization with plans to immediately exhibit him to packed crowds at a huge theatre. However, when the ship docks in New York, everyone on board is told they will have to remain in quarantine for two weeks, and a ban on public gatherings means his blockbuster will be a bust. A dejected Denham departs for Skull Island, to return Kong to his home. “Exciting adventure gives way to flabby finale,” was Variety’s verdict.

Casablanca: Cynical Rick Blain, sitting out World War II in his Moroccan café, is set to have his entire world view altered when Ilsa, the love of his life, turns up at his doorstep seeking help. Unfortunately, Rick’s Café Américain has closed due to an order from the Public Health Officer, and Ilsa leaves Casablanca without ever seeing Rick. “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she doesn’t walk into mine.”

It’s a Wonderful Life: George Bailey decides his town would be better off if he died. Clarence, an angel, prevents George’s suicide, then shows him what life in Bedford Falls is like in an alternate world of COVID-19: schools are closed so his four children are home all day, Ernie the taxi driver is out of a job, Martini’s Bar has closed by order of the Health Officer, Bailey Building and Loan is on the verge of collapse due to people defaulting on their loans and mortgages, and Mr. Potter is gleefully evicting tenants despite massive unemployment. George decides that he prefers his old life, imperfect as it was, to the vision revealed by Clarence.

All About Eve: A scheming theatre understudy who is plotting to supplant the show’s star finds her plans come to nothing when Broadway is shut down due to the coronavirus. “Much ado about nothing,” wrote the Hollywood Reporter of the film.

The Graduate: “I want to say one word to you, Benjamin. Just one word. Are you listening? Plexiglass.”

Jaws: When a swimmer turns up dead on a beach, authorities attribute the death to a common illness. When another swimmer goes missing, a young medical officer teams with the chief of police to discover the real cause: “This was not a botulism accident!” Suspecting COVID-19, they try to convince the mayor to shut down the beaches on the 4th of July weekend, but he refuses, saying it would devastate the town’s economy. They eventually team up with a grizzled epidemiologist to prove they are right: “You’re gonna need a bigger testing facility.”

Back to the Future: Marty McFly finds himself several decades in the past, trying to make sense of a world where diners are crowded with patrons, high school dances are still a thing, and no one has heard of physical distancing. “Masks? Where we’re going we don’t need masks!”



editorial@accjournal.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Columnist

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
5 more deaths, 131 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

Those 18-years and older in high-transmission neighbourhoods can register for the vaccine

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in B.C.

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

Most Read