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Who is Alan Smithee and why are his films so bad?

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July 7, 2013 by Craig Sutherland


Alan Smithee, director of such classics as The Birds II: Land’s End, Mighty Ducks the Movie: The First Face-Off, Hellraiser: Bloodline and Meet Joe Black. With a career that started in 1968 with Death of a Gunfighter and still making pictures up to 2000 (Woman Wanted) it’s hard to imagine how Alan still gets jobs in Hollywood… (The same could be said for M. Night Shyamalan)

But Alan Smithee is not one man, he’s an invention by the DGA for use when a director refuses credit for a film, as the DGA requires a named director for every picture made ‘Alan Smithee’ was invented.

Wikipeadia list the following films as Alan Smithee films-

  • Fade-In / Iron Cowboy (1968), directed by Jud Taylor
  • Death of a Gunfighter (1969), directed separately by Robert Totten and Don Siegel
  • City in Fear (1980), directed by Jud Taylor
  • Fun and Games (1980), directed by Paul Bogart [11]
  • Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), The Second Assistant Director credit for the first segment of the film, in which actor Vic Morrow and two children were killed in a helicopter accident during production. Rare instance where the “Alan Smithee” credit was taken by an A.D. (Anderson House according to the IMDb)
  • Stitches (1985), directed by Rod Holcomb
  • Let’s Get Harry (1986), directed by Stuart Rosenberg
  • Morgan Stewart’s Coming Home (1987), directed by Paul Aaron and Terry Windsor
  • Ghost Fever (1987), directed by Lee Madden
  • The Shrimp on the Barbie (1990), directed by Michael Gottlieb
  • Solar Crisis (1990), directed by Richard C. Sarafian
  • The Birds II: Land’s End (1994), directed by Rick Rosenthal
  • National Lampoon’s Senior Trip (1995), directed by Kelly Makin with a segment credited to Smithee
  • Raging Angels (1995)
  • Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), directed by Kevin Yagher
  • Mighty Ducks the Movie: The First Face-Off (1997), co-directed by Steve Langley
  • An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1998), directed by Arthur Hiller
  • River Made to Drown In (1999), directed by James Merendino
  • Woman Wanted (2000), directed by Kiefer Sutherland

The credit Alan Smithee was retired in 2000 on the film Supernova where the DGA used the name ‘Thomas Lee’. Although Alan Smithee has now taken on a life of his own, being used as the name of directors on various media like Bloc Party’s ‘Hunting For Witches’ music video, on the Daredevil comic book series issues #338–342 and the TV show ‘La Femme Nikita‘.

So, Kids, if you see a film directed by Alan Smithee on Netflix or whatever site you get your movie fix from it might be best to avoid it because you can be sure as shit that the director doesn’t want ANYTHING to do with it.

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