This documentary on the elusive director 'Alan Smithee' was first shown on the American Movie Classics (AMC) cable channel. We learn where the name came from and why the Directors Guild of ... See full summary »

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This documentary on the elusive director 'Alan Smithee' was first shown on the American Movie Classics (AMC) cable channel. We learn where the name came from and why the Directors Guild of America (DGA) first allowed his name to be used on Richard Widmark's western Death of a Gunfighter (1969). The film follows the numerous problems that director Tony Kaye had during the production and post-production of the film American History X (1998) and why the DGA refused to allow Alan Smithee to be credited for that film. Written by David Glagovsky <dglagovsky@verizon.net>

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5 February 2002 (USA)  »

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An Alan Smithee Film  »

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An interesting topic, but too limited and short
22 August 2006 | by See all my reviews

This documentary, which originally aired on AMC in February of 2002, has been around on DVD for a while. One would think that a documentary like this would be a hot collector's item. It does, after all, deal with Alan Smithee, the notorious fake director that until the late 90s, had been associated with big studio pictures for over thirty years. For those unfamiliar with the Smithee name, is the name taken by directors when they don't want their real name associated with a film that they are ashamed of. Sounds like a fascinating topic for a documentary, doesn't it? Unfortunately, at 50 minutes, the documentary is very uninformative and way too short to leave much of an impact. The creation of the Alan Smithee name is well covered as well as its demise, but in terms of the movies with the Smithee name on them are concerned, there is almost nothing. The only Alan Smithee directed titles discussed here are 1969's Death of a Gunfighter and 1997's An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (the worst flick to ever carry the Smithee name). The documentary spends so much time with American History X that it becomes more of a documentary on that film than Alan Smithee he/her self. A much more interesting choice to focus on would have been 2000's SUPERNOVA, which probably has the most interesting and problematic production history of all time. Skip it. 3/10


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