What is the first movie remake of another original movie (wholly written for the screen, not based on a book or play)?

This question is very close, but not a duplicate as The Squaw Man was originally a play. No adaptations count for this question. I'm looking for the first truly remade "original" movie.


Intermezzo (1936) seems to have an original screenplay co-written by director Gustaf Molander which was remade in 1939 as a David O. Selznick production. This is the one to beat, I guess. (I was thinking The Man Who Knew Too Much, 1934, 1956, until I remembered this one.)

I'm not looking for shorts, like Our Gang or the like, but a feature. I don't want to get too bogged-down by run-times, just use your best judgement here as to what constitutes feature-length. (Even back in 1936, Intermezzo was 93 minutes long. Don't pick something too short, okay?)

  • I understand that you are not looking for shorts. What if the original was a short, but the remake was a full-feature? Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 15:23
  • @steelerfan I don't know. Not really what I'm looking for, but... What did you find? Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 16:29
  • I was thinking "The Battle of the sexes" from 1928. The original was a short I believe. Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 21:17
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    "Forbidden Fruit" from 1921 was a remake of a film called "The Golden Chance" from 1915. They are both silent films. Am I on the right track? Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 21:22
  • Post it as an answer. It looks good. Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 4:12

3 Answers 3


The movie Forbidden Fruit from 1921 is the earliest remake of an original movie that I could find. The film is 87 minutes in length.

Forbidden Fruit is a 1921 American drama film directed by Cecil B. DeMille. It is a remake of the 1915 film The Golden Chance, which was also directed by DeMille.

The movie was an original story, written by Cecil B. DeMille and Jeanie Macpherson.

  • This is looking pretty good. I'll give it a couple days to see if anything else comes up, but 1921? Very solid. +1 Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 12:22
  • Can't believe no one else tried. To quote the film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, "Goddamn what a bummer." Still, yours is a great answer and maybe no one else stood a chance. Kudos. Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 19:09
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    @MeatTrademark I am surprised no one else gave it a shot either. I thought Walt might take a stab, he always provides great answers. Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 19:37

Intermezzo, a Swedish film from 1936, seems to have an original screenplay co-written by director Gustaf Molander and Gösta Ekman. The movie was then remade three years later in 1939 as an American movie produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Gregory Ratoff with the same title.

I'm hoping someone will find an earlier example, as I did not research this too thoroughly, mostly looking up movies from memory. I post this as an answer just in case, especially considering I already cited it in the question and wouldn't feel too awesome giving the points away to someone else for merely copying my work.

This might also be the earliest example of a rapid turnaround for a foreign film being remade for American audiences. I was depressed when Open Your Eyes was remade/Americanized so quickly as Vanilla Sky (a four year gap), I didn't realize this happened as early as the 1930s.


Justus Barnes fires at the audience in THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY (1903)

While certainly not the first remake, one of the most famous remakes of early silent cinema was of The Great Train Robbery (1903). The original film was a smash hit for nickelodeon audiences, and drew many people to movie theaters for the first time. Edison produced the original film.

Siegmund Lubin owned a rival studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was notorious for copying other studio's films. He would either copy them directly and sell the film as his own, or he would remake them with different actors. In 1904, he remade Edison's film, which is now know as Lubin's Great Train Robbery. IMDB link

In 1905, the Edison studio produced a remake or parody called The Little Train Robbers. It was the same story, but enacted by children. This film and the original GTR were directed by Edwin S. Porter. IMDB link

  • Isn't this a short? I stated, "I'm not looking for shorts," in the OP. Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 18:28
  • Sorry, I missed that you were not looking for shorts. Since there were very few features before 1914, it would have to be something from the mid-to-late teens. And THE SQUAW MAN would qualify, but it was based on a play. Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 19:38
  • Why even bring up "The Squaw Man" as that was also in the OP? I can only guess you're being willfully obtuse because you think it's funny. "Forbidden Fruit" (1921) is the one to beat. Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 20:32
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    Nope, I'm not trying to be funny. THE SQUAW MAN was an example of a very early feature film that was remade, but like the many Shakespeare remakes it doesn't qualify for the criteria of your question. I understand why you ruled it out, since books, plays and even operas (CARMEN) were ripe for many remakes. Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 0:24
  • One other that might count with an asterisk: THE FOUNDLING (1915 and 1916). This Mary Pickford film was previewed but all prints were burned in a studio fire before it was released. It was remade and released in 1916 with a different director (Allan Dwan the 1915 version, John O'Brien the 1916 version).with mostly the same cast. Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 0:27

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