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Alan Smithee Films

Jade Jaguar

Probably most people here know that when a film is taken away from a director, and cut in a way he doesn't like, presumably bad, and the director takes his name off the film, the director is listed as Alan, or Allen, Smithee. Well, I made the mistake of watching an Alan Smithee film last night.

I thought I had taped Blood Work on HBO a few weeks ago, and finally got around to watching it. To my suprise, I discovered I had somehow gotten Solar Crisis instead. Well, it was scifi, and I was eating a late meal, so I didn't feel like looking for something else, so I started watching it. It was appallingly bad, full of cliches, bad writting, and bad acting. I had looked it up, and knew it was really directed by Richard Sarafian, who did some good TV in the 60s, and a couple of good movies. But, it did stink!

That started me thinking, like what directors had become A. S., and what was the BEST A. S. film? And, the worst? Well, I know that Dennis Hopper, and David Lynch have both been A. S. directors. Alan Smithee ia an anagram for 'the alias men!' And then I found this bio of Alan/Allen on the IMDb:

Also, I have read that The Exorcist IV is being taken away from Paul Schrader, even though it was finished, because they wanted more violence and gore. Thus is another Allan Smithee film born!
You are absolutely right, B5_O. I watched the AS version of Dune, and it was awful. I actually liked the original version, and thought it needed to be longer. But one of the ways they made it longer, was to show BAD paintings, with voice overs! AAARRRGGH! :mad: :rolleyes: :mad:
I do confess, even back then, the main reason I wanted to see the extended version of Lynch's (or Smithee's) "Dune" was to see the cut scene of Patrick Stewart's.

There may have been more cut scenes with him in them, but the one I mean was the guitar-type instrument that he played.

I have very mixed feelings about Lynch's (Smithee's) Dune. parts are really mind-blowingly horrible. Other parts are really well done I think. It just doesn't work as a finished project. In a way, it's just too uneven. Oh, but I do love seeing (I can't spell his name, sorry, but Paul's father) Jurgen Proknow. And Patrick Stewart. And whomever played the main Bene Jeserite (sorry about the spelling again), she also played in the miniseries "I, Claudius".

I really liked "I, Claudius". And she played a very important and memorable role. She's an excellent actress.
That was Sian Phillips who played the reverend Mother in Dune, and Livia in I, Claudius. I just looked it up. I didn't make the connection, but I was a big fan of I, Claudius as well. It was the only one of what I call the highbrow British soap operas that they had on Masterpiece Theater that I really liked. And Livia was great. Evil, but great.

Although I liked the original cut of Dune, I admit that it was flawed. I did have the advantage of not having read Dune, so I couldn't be offended by changes to the original. It had great actors, as you have pointed out, including Jurgen Prochnow, Linda Hunt, Jose Ferrer, Brad Dourif, Virginia Madsen, and Jack Nance. Even Sting was great. I thought that the big action scenes, like the final assault riding the worms, were the worst. Lynch needed a good second unit director who could handle that type of scene, better special effects, and the film could have been much better, more even. It also clearly needed to be longer, to include more of the book's plot. I would love to see Lynch's version of a director's cut, but I certainly understand him having Alan Smithee affixed to the extended version that's out there now! I like the original enough, that if I had a DVD of the expanded version, I might try to edit it down, into my own cut!
Go for it, JJ! :D

Actually my major pet peeves are:

1) Brad Dourif. B5 showed me what an excellent actor he really is. In a way, I really will never forgive Lynch for the direction on his Mentat part.

2) that bit near the end, where Paul's younger sister is executing the "flying fat" one. It is just filmed in such a corny way (much of my problems with the film itself).

I don't know much about direction, but I've seen the short and the long version, and I just think that it's the direction that went wrong on this one.

And at the time I was very hot for the actor who played Paul. Now, I can't even remember his name. :eek:

But if anyone knows where I can find filmed (vhs or dvd) versions of Patrick Stewart's plays, I would be very grateful. I know that when more famous actors do stage plays there is sometimes a vhs or a dvd film made of one performance of that play.

I such exist, I simply don't know how to find them. If anyone does know, I would be very appreciative. :cool:
When I first read Dune, I thought that it wouldn't make a good movie at all. And then I discovered that, yes, that had already been done. :)
"But if anyone knows where I can find filmed (vhs or dvd) versions of Patrick Stewart's plays, I would be very grateful. I know that when more famous actors do stage plays there is sometimes a vhs or a dvd film made of one performance of that play"

B5 has been the one of only time that I have seen Brad Dourif in a role where he wasn't cast as a total bad guy [the other was in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest ].But he seems to have gotten stuck playing bad guys or total nutters.Or both. Anyone seen in him LOTR?

Patrick Stewart was in a BBC filmed version of Hamlet in the early 80s. He was Hamlet's Wicked Uncle, Claudius. This version also had Lalla Ward [the second Romana]of Doctor Who fame as Ophelia. I don't know if this version is available in the States - if that's where you live.

I saw Dune again a few months ago - I had just gotten a DVD-player, and my brother had lent his collection of DVDs. I did a bit of a laugh when all those paintings appeared in the prologue - but I think maybe that they were concept art for the movie that never made it off the story board.
But throughout the film, I kept thinking that I was in the wrong film - so much of it - it the Bene Jesserit [spelling?] and the Mentat [spelling again?] reminded me of the Centauri in B5. Anyone else get that feeling?
I do, actually. :laughs: It's a bit odd to see these guys in this older movie. And again, I think the direction really just didn't work for me. But yes, it is odd to see them in some of their older roles.