What is...no, who is Alan Smithee?

Do you really know?

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What is...no, who is Alan Smithee?

Do you really know?

What is...no, who is Alan Smithee?

Alan Smithee is perhaps Hollywood’s least talented director! Let me explain…

It’s not uncommon for directors to disown their projects by using a pseudonym. Most often, they are not satisfied with the movie, or feel that it does not represent their creative vision. This is often due to pressure and interference from producers or movie studios, preventing the director from keeping control of the project. Alan Smithee is one of the most used pseudonyms, as well as a few similar variants like Adam Smithee.

Until the 1960s, when making a movie went badly, the director was always heavily criticised, no matter the nature of the problems. On the other hand, when a movie achieved recognition and received an award, the producer was the one to take the acclaim. That was because producers were the ones to always approve the final cut. 

Only in 1968 did the Director’s Guild of America change its rules to allow for directors to be credited under a pseudonym. That was specifically for the release of a movie called Death of a Gunfighter. During filming, the lead actor Richard Wildmark arranged for a change of director to finish the project. But neither director wished to be credited, as they felt Wildmark had been calling the shots all along. The DGA held a hearing and its panel agreed that neither director’s creative vision was represented. They found a compromise, and credited the movie to Alan Smithee. 

In fairness, the pseudonym had many fooled. Esteemed film critic Roger Ebert wrote in a Chicago Sun Times review that "Director Allen Smithee, a name I'm not familiar with, allows his story to unfold naturally."

 

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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What is...no, who is Alan Smithee?

Alan Smithee is perhaps Hollywood’s least talented director! Let me explain…

It’s not uncommon for directors to disown their projects by using a pseudonym. Most often, they are not satisfied with the movie, or feel that it does not represent their creative vision. This is often due to pressure and interference from producers or movie studios, preventing the director from keeping control of the project. Alan Smithee is one of the most used pseudonyms, as well as a few similar variants like Adam Smithee.

Until the 1960s, when making a movie went badly, the director was always heavily criticised, no matter the nature of the problems. On the other hand, when a movie achieved recognition and received an award, the producer was the one to take the acclaim. That was because producers were the ones to always approve the final cut. 

Only in 1968 did the Director’s Guild of America change its rules to allow for directors to be credited under a pseudonym. That was specifically for the release of a movie called Death of a Gunfighter. During filming, the lead actor Richard Wildmark arranged for a change of director to finish the project. But neither director wished to be credited, as they felt Wildmark had been calling the shots all along. The DGA held a hearing and its panel agreed that neither director’s creative vision was represented. They found a compromise, and credited the movie to Alan Smithee. 

In fairness, the pseudonym had many fooled. Esteemed film critic Roger Ebert wrote in a Chicago Sun Times review that "Director Allen Smithee, a name I'm not familiar with, allows his story to unfold naturally."

 

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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