If you think that there's a remake of all the black-and-white films (or old pictures in general), then think again. Some turned out to be the Holy Grail while the rest were simply untouchables. It may not be the right time to think of pre-production, but there are other reasons. Nothing compares to the studio days, which won't be repeated again. Hollywood tried to do a remake of some classics with disastrous results. (Diane English must be happy that George Cukor wasn't around to see her remake of "The Women".) And some stars of yesteryear have no peer. It doesn't mean that they were aloof and ungrateful, but the big bosses (from the studio days) knew how to market their actors.
Let's go to the heart of the matter. Here are some classics that won't get a remake:
Ninotchka (1939) by Ernst Lubitsch. It was about the priceless jewelry from the Russian aristocrats and a Soviet envoy who had to retrieve it before it was being sold to the highest bidder. Alas, she fell in love with the capitalist West and the flirty count who found his match in her. It won't be possible to update this premise unless a brilliant screenwriter could replace it with the Far East. (Paris may be substituted with Hong Kong). Greta Grabo, who played the stern-looking envoy, was simply a class of her own. Meryl Streep couldn't match her allure, sometimes mysterious and fascinating at times. Any young actress who could nail the Swedish star would run away with the Oscar, but there's no one around.
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) by Cecil B. DeMille. Some film enthusiasts would count this drama as one of the least-liked winners of the Best Picture Oscar. However, no other filmmaker could pull off an epic on a traveling circus. This was a testament to the talents of Cecil B. DeMille, who knew that the right actors would make up for whatever loopholes in the story. (And these snotty moviegoers couldn't think of another motion picture starring Charlton Heston and James Stewart.) An animated version might work, but don't expect Disney executives to make a gamble on it.
Roman Holiday (1953) by William Wyler. Audrey Hepburn's beguiling face couldn't be unparalleled. Her singsong voice was hard to imitate by anyone. She was a talented actress, but there was something about her looks. Some would compare it to Michael Jackson, unique yet trendy. For this reason, a remake of this romantic comedy wouldn't be a wise thing to do.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) by Jack Cummings. Russ Tamblyn, the only surviving member of the cast, had many reasons to be proud of this musical. Director Cummings chose professional dancers to help him film the barn-raising dance. Perhaps the winners of "So You Think You Can Dance" can match this challenging scene, but a studio wouldn't find another Howard Keel.
The Graduate (1967) by Mike Nichols. Jon Secada dared to recreate the runaway bride scene (in his "If You Go" music video), but this comedy (or comedy-drama) captured the uncertainties and anxieties of the 1960s. The current generation doesn't have a clue, so they must be grateful for it.