Red Dawn Was An Accidental Remake—In More Ways Than One

A bellicose enemy attacks a complacent country and institutes martial law until a ragtag group of unbroken patriots rally and re-take their country. It sounds like Red Dawn, but actually it's The Invasion of 1910. And due to some editing, it was widely popular in the country of both the rebels and the invaders.

Red Dawn told the story of an America ill-prepared for war, and how it was taken by a hostile invasive force. In the 1984 movie, that hostile force was made up of the Cubans and the Russians. In the 2012 movie, the force was the North Koreans. Civilians, mostly high school kids, learn to mount a resistance movement, and fight off the invaders – although their story is only the first part of an ongoing war against evil.


Switch England in for America and Germany in for Russia, and you have The Invasion of 1910. This dystopian fiction novel was published in serialized form in 1906. It also sought to rally patriotic spirit. And it also reflected the tensions of its time. England, and many other European powers, uneasily witnessed Germany emerge as a new and belligerent power. The novel was popular entertainment, but it was also meant to take into account the opinion of a real military leader, Field Marshal Earl Roberts, and his warnings about an upcoming war with Germany.

The novel was a runaway success, but the tale has a twist. A pirated copy was translated into German, and German readers loved the tale of Germany taking over England. The German version omitted the part where the British troops rally and kick the Germans out, but did include the epilogue, in which it's explained that Germany also took over Belgium and the Netherlands.

A similar twist happened in the 2012 version of Red Dawn. When the move was originally filmed, China was invading the United States. Then it occurred to someone that China was a lucrative market, so they switched in Korean flags for Chinese flags, and changed the dialogue. So we have two pieces of work on the same theme, an evil enemy invading a too-passive nation, and being altered to allow the "enemy" nation to enjoy the fable.


[Sources: Science Fiction Studies, Reel China.]

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