Beguiled by 'The Beguiled:' How Sofia Coppola Came to Remake a Clint Eastwood Vehicle

Plus, a visual comparison of the 1971 and 2017 films.

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Plus, a visual comparison of the 1971 and 2017 films.

The most intriguing thing about Sofia Coppola’s latest film – The Beguiled, out now – is the fact that she chose to make it at all. The Beguiled tells the story of a wounded Union soldier taken in by members of a girls’ school in the Confederacy, who turn on him once he seduces a few of the students. In case you didn’t know, the film is a remake of one from 1971 by Don Siegel starring Clint Eastwood (and both are based on the novel by Thomas Cullinan). Siegel and Eastwood made four films together, the most famous being Dirty Harry, which came out 11 months after The Beguiled, and though these two men might not seem like a logical point of reference for a director like Sofia Coppola, that’s kind of exactly why she chose to make the film.

In a recent interview, Coppola explained what it was about the original film and the source material that attracted her to The Beguiled, and editor Candice Drouet has taken the audio from this interview and spliced it over scenes from both Siegel’s and Coppola’s The Beguiled that have been set side-by-side for comparative purposes.

There’s nothing wrong with the 1971 version of this film, but the 2017 version is indisputably more impactful, more artistic, and better-realized, because where Don Siegel made a male-centric erotic nightmare, Coppola made a more nuanced, emotion-driven, and thus more resonant story of female empowerment in an era where females had little to no social power. Check out the video below to hear how she did it in her own words, and if you’ve never seen Siegel’s The Beguiled, do yourself a favor and watch it either right before or right after Coppola’s – the former only further reveals the gravitas of the latter.

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist