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‘Penthouse North’

by Giovanni Fazio

“What a curious tea party,” thought Alice, as the March Hare poured a torrent of Darjeeling into her saucer. The Mad Hatter stood on his chair and posed a riddle: “When is a remake not a remake?”

“I believe I can guess that,” said Alice. “It’s when it’s a ‘reimagining,’ like Tim Burton with ‘Planet of the Apes.’ ”

The Hatter’s eyes widened and he gazed intently at Alice. “What a simple girl you are! The answer, of course, is that a remake is not a remake if it does not call itself such.”

Alice felt dreadfully puzzled. The Hatter’s remark seemed to have no sense to it. “But surely,” she said, “if the story is the same, and the characters are the same, then one would suppose it’s a remake, Mr. Hatter!”

“One would suppose!” said the Mad Hatter, triumphantly. “But obviously you have never seen ‘Penthouse North.’ Even a loon like myself can see that it is precisely the same movie as that old Audrey Hepburn chestnut, ‘Wait Until Dark.’ A blind woman in a New York City apartment tormented by dangerous yet bickering villains looking for hidden loot? Same, same, same!”

Alice sipped her tea. “How confusing. Why, you might just as well say that the producer of the movie is the same thing as the star!” The March Hare immediately leapt out of his chair and screamed: “Michael Keaton! Off with his head!”