Sidewalk stories

Re-sounding silent film

Authored by: Julie Grossman

The Routledge Companion To Adaptation

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  April  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138915404
eBook ISBN: 9781315690254
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315690254-36

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Abstract

Long before the homage to silent film The Artist won the 2011 Academy Award for Best Picture, independent filmmaker Charles Lane adapted classic silent film to contemporary subject matter with his underappreciated Sidewalk Stories, a 1989 black-and-white silent-film reworking of Chaplin’s The Kid that focuses on contemporary homelessness in New York City. Considering Verevis and Loock’s distinction between remakes and adaptations, Sidewalk Stories is like a remake in that it offers a “version of another film,” but also it is an adaptation in its “movement between different semiotic registers” (Verevis and Loock 2012: 6), adapting a form that is generally understood as tethered to an historical moment and thus has an altered semiotic effect in a contemporary context.

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