How one classic movie fan embraced remakes – again

Classic movie fans are a protective bunch.

Don’t colorize our black and white films.

Don’t stretch our movies to fit modern widescreen formats.

Our classics are sacred. Hands off.

And one more thing: don’t even think about remaking my  favorites.

That’s my motto – or so I thought. Then I was reminded how I really felt just by going to the movies.

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On a recent Sunday morning, I was at a screening of “You’ve Got Mail” at the North Park Theatre, a grand Buffalo moviehouse that is old enough to have originally shown many of the films we now fondly call classic. I have a ridiculous soft spot for this 1998 Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan rom-com about two people at odds with each other who fall in love through their anonymous emails. It is witty, smart, endearingly hopeful, sweetly romantic, packed with great characters and performances and, as a bonus, has a passion for the written word.

Every time I see it on TV, even if it’s just the last few minutes, I stop to watch – and usually sniffle a bit, too. There’s another reaction I have, too, as I did at the North Park that day. When Meg Ryan’s character, Kathleen, repeats the “Dear Friend” salutation from her emails, I hear echoes of that same phrase from the Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, movie “The Shop Around the Corner.”

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