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Alan Smithee

Highest Rated: 83% Death of a Gunfighter (1969)

Lowest Rated: 8% An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn (1998)

Birthday: Not Available

Birthplace: Not Available

Occasionally, even the best directors find themselves saddled with films they know are destined to be black spots on their resumés. Sometimes battles with actors, producers, and studio executives and others result in the destruction of a director's vision. These and other filmmaking troubles can happen at any point during the shooting process and could spell disaster for a director's career. Fortunately, in such cases, the reliable Alan Smithee is around to save the day by taking credit for such ill-fated productions. While it seems unfair that one filmmaker should bear the brunt of so many lousy films, let it be known that Alan Smithee is not a real person at all, but rather a perverse fiction designed for those refusing to own up to the results of their actions. It is not just directors who invoke his name. Producers and screenwriters, even actors, occasionally, hide behind Smithee. The origins of the moniker are unclear, and may date back to the 1955 television production Indiscreet Mrs. Jarvis, starring Angela Lansbury. The western Death of a Gunfighter, however (finished in 1967, but not released until 1969) was the first high-profile Smithee credit. A fight between the film's first director, the respected Robert Totten and star Richard Widmark resulted in Totten's replacement by filmmaker Don Siegel. Neither director wanted credit for the film, but the Directors Guild stipulates that every film must list a director. However, Totten and Siegel's reasons for having their names removed were deemed legitimate, After this, Alan Smithee became a common shield for those who felt their productions were abused or destroyed by studios. The origins of the name Alan Smithee (aka Allen Smithee) are debated. There is a camp that maintains it is an anagram of "The Alias Men." On the other hand, it's also been said that Smithee's creators originally were going to name him the more common Smith but then decided to add the double-e so as not to defame any real-life Allen or Alan Smiths. Since Gunfighter, which actually received many favorable reviews, numerous productions have borne the Smithee stamp. The name has been used in broader circumstances than those outlined by the Director's Guild and Smithee's illustrious name also occasionally pops up on television. In light of his notoriety, it was perhaps inevitable that some smart aleck in Hollywood would actually make a film about Alan Smithee. Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas was that man. The result was An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn (1997), an alleged comedy starring Eric Idle as a real filmmaker named Alan Smithee, who has a mental breakdown after he makes a terrible film and realizes that the only name he can affix to the credits is his own. In what is either a great irony or a carefully orchestrated publicity stunt, the movie's director, Arthur Hiller, supposedly unhappy over Ezsterhas' cutting of the film, removed his name from the credits. In either case, the quality of the resulting film remains true to the original spirit of Smithee's inception and it appears that critically speaking, Hiller made a wise decision.

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Old 37 Director 2015
No Score Yet Haitian Nights (Dolls of Voodoo) Producer 2013
No Score Yet Dark Floors Director 2008
No Score Yet 3 Days Gone Director 2008
8% An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn Director 1998
No Score Yet Sub Down Director 1997
29% Hellraiser - Bloodline Director 1996
No Score Yet Raging Angels Director 1995
No Score Yet The O.J. Simpson Story Director 1995
No Score Yet While Justice Sleeps Director 1994
No Score Yet The Birds II: Land's End Director 1994
No Score Yet Gypsy Angels Director 1993
No Score Yet Call of the Wild Director 1993
No Score Yet Solar Crisis Director 1993
No Score Yet Fatal Charm Director 1992
No Score Yet The Owl Director 1991
No Score Yet Bloodsucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh Director 1991
No Score Yet Shrimp on the Barbie Director 1990
No Score Yet Camaron en eo Asador Director 1990
No Score Yet Gunhed Director 1989
No Score Yet Ghost Fever Director 1987
No Score Yet I Love N.Y. Director 1987
No Score Yet Morgan Stewart's Coming Home Director 1987
No Score Yet Let's Get Harry Director 1986
No Score Yet Dalton: Code of Vengeance II Director 1986
No Score Yet Stitches Director 1985
25% Student Bodies Producer 1981
No Score Yet City in Fear Director 1980
No Score Yet The Barking Dog Director 1978
83% Death of a Gunfighter Director 1969
No Score Yet Fade In Director 1968
No Score Yet Indiscreet Mrs. Jarvis Director 1955


No Score Yet The Cosby Show
Director 1992
No Score Yet MacGyver
Director 1985


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