Art Here and Now
Daring creativity happening now around the world
The Rare Director’s Cut – Alan Smithee, Across the Universe, Blade Runner

The other day, though not in the rest of the post, I linked to the New York Times story discussing that the studio had tested their own cut of Across the Universe without Julie Taymor’s knowledge. I don’t know how that turned out, but it must be mostly ok because her name is still on the film.

Most director contracts do not include right of final cut. Their only final resolution if they are unhappy with a cut the studio has created is to remove their name from the film. When this happens, in the past the film was credited as “directed by Alan Smithee.” As of 1997, the pseudonym changes from film to film. If a film isn’t complete, the studio can replace the director and the new name appears on the film, even when the first director may have originated the concepts and their work may be in the film.

Later, if rights to the film change, or a director gets more clout, a Director’s Cut might be released to theaters or DVD. Sometimes though even these Director’s Cuts are not the work of the original director.

Some directors, like Ridley Scott with Blade Runner, have worked most of their careers to get their cut of a film finally made.

Read more about director’s cut, Alan Smithee and a list of films recut by studios.

Buy films mired in artistic miasma:
Directed by Alan Smithee, Dune, Superman II, Poltergeist, American History X, and Blade Runner. Also check out An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, a movie premised on Alan Smithee starring Eric Idle.

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posted by Trout Monfalco

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