Forgotten Sequels to Classic Films

It has been a Hollywood tradition for countless years that when a movie finds some kind of success the ball gets rolling on a sequel. With this business strategy there are bound to be sequels which are forgotten to the basement of Hollywood history.

They Call Me Mister Tibbs: The crime classic In the Heat of the Night starring Sidney Poitier, was a masterpiece which took a hard look at race and law enforcement in the midst of a murder mystery. The sequel however opted to move Virgil Tibbs out of the tension filled Mississippi, skipped over his hometown of Philadelphia and put him in sunny San Francisco. Now a lieutenant in the SFPD Virgil Tibbs is on the hunt for the murderer of a prostitute. He finds the perfect suspect in a local minister, but some red herrings interfere with his investigation. Considering how well regarded it’s predecessor is, the fact that They Call Me Mister Tibbs! is so bland is that much more of a letdown. Aside from Sidney Poitier reprising the lead role, music legend Quincy Jones was the only other notable talent from In the Heat of the Night, though his distinctive blues score was changed to a funk style.

Shock Treatment: While not a pure sequel to the cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show, this was the follow-up Richard O’Brien and Jim Sharman made to the original musical. Following their misadventures at the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Brad and Janet are now married, but things are not all that they hoped for. Their hometown in Texas has been taken over by a TV network who has decided that the two will become featured in their programming. While Brad is sent to an insane asylum, Janet is prepped for stardom. While Shock Treatment proves to be a strange musical, it lacks the charm and lovable cast that made Rocky Horror the cult classic which has endured for decades.

The Two Jakes: The landmark film Chinatown is arguably the greatest film of the neo-noir style. A full 16 years after it’s release, Jack Nicholson himself hopped in the director’s seat to make a sequel to the classic flick. Private eye JJ “Jake” Gittes is hired by wealthy real estate tycoon Jake Berman to prove that his wife is having an affair with his own business partner. When he catches the two lovebirds in the act, Berman shoots his business partner. Now Gittes finds himself tied up in a murder investigation as Berman collects the life insurance from the victim. Through a bloated and complicated investigation, the private eye learns about Berman’s intention of developing an orange grove Gittes has a connection to.

The Black Bird: Speaking of film noir the Maltese Falcon, often cited the first movie of the noir style, had a sequel over thirty years after it’s release. The story of the tough private eye Sam Spade getting caught up in the criminal underworld’s search for a fabled treasure was followed up on with….a comedy. George Segal plays Sam Spade Jr. who has inherited his father’s detective agency. One thing he gets along with the business is his father’s decoy of the famed Maltese Falcon. However, as people begin crawling out of the woodwork to get their hands on the bird, Spade Jr. begins to suspect it is the real deal. The Black Bird was solely made because the rights owner to the Maltese Falcon wanted to make a movie and hired someone to slap one together for him. Though this forgettable sequel does get credit for having Elisha Cook Jr. and Le Patrick reprise their roles from the original classic.

Return to Oz: One of the films to come from the “Dark Age of Disney” (a truly underrated period for the company in my opinion) was a continuation of the world of L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz. Following her initial adventure to meet the Wizard of Oz and return home, young Dorothy now finds herself in an insane asylum. In her absence, Oz has fallen to a new evil who has turned her friends to stone. With new allies by her side, Dorothy must confront the Nome King and the evil wheelers in the hopes of returning the fantasy land to its former glory.

2010 The Year We Make Contact: Most film aficionados agree Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction epic 2001: A Space Odyssey is a masterpiece. What many do no realize is that the source material’s author Arthur C, Clark had written an entire trilogy of books so naturally they too needed to be brought to the big screen. Following the disappearance of Discovery in 2001, the US and Soviets combine their forces to find out what happened. While there is tension between the two sides, the mystery of the black obelisk has to be solved and the way to do that is to reactivate HAL.  While it may have a more streamlined plot than it’s predecessor, 2010 has always failed t emerge from the shadow cast by the masterful 2001.

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights: Peter Sagal, host of the popular radio show Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! once wrote a screenplay for a film called Cuba Mine. It was said to be an epic romantic film set against the backdrop of the Cuban Revolution. But once it entered the Hollywood machine it was transformed into a wholly unrecognizable sequel to the hit Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey flick Dirty Dancing. Much like the original film, the movie follows a sheltered young woman, but instead of being taken to a resort by her family she is taken to Cuba as Castro is coming to power. But who cares about the rising power of the communist regime when there is a dance contest on the line?