What are the best movies ever directed by 'Alan Smithee'?

Introduction: Who is Alan Smithee?

Before diving into the best movies directed by 'Alan Smithee', it's essential to understand who this mysterious figure is. Alan Smithee is a pseudonym used by directors when they want to disown a project. This usually happens when they believe that the final product does not represent their creative vision, or when there have been significant conflicts with the producers and the studio during the filmmaking process. Since its first use in 1969, the name has appeared in the credits of many films and television productions. So, let's explore some of the most notable movies directed by this enigmatic figure.

Finding the Gems: The Best of Alan Smithee's Work

While many of the films credited to Alan Smithee have been met with poor reviews and box office failures, there are some hidden gems worth mentioning. These movies are not only entertaining but also showcase the talent of the original directors who chose to use the Smithee pseudonym. In this article, we will discuss seven of the best movies ever directed by Alan Smithee and uncover the stories behind them.

1. Death of a Gunfighter (1969)

The first film to use the Alan Smithee pseudonym, Death of a Gunfighter, is a western film starring Richard Widmark and Lena Horne. The original director, Robert Totten, was replaced by Don Siegel after conflicts with Widmark. However, Siegel did not want to take credit for the film as he felt he had not contributed enough. The result is a film that, despite its troubled production, received positive reviews and even earned a Golden Globe nomination for Lena Horne's performance.

2. City in Fear (1980)

This gripping TV movie follows a crime reporter as he tracks down a serial killer terrorizing Los Angeles. The original director, Jud Taylor, chose to use the Alan Smithee pseudonym after conflicts with the producers over the final cut. Despite the behind-the-scenes turmoil, City in Fear boasts strong performances from its cast, including David Janssen and Robert Vaughn, and is a tense and engaging thriller.

3. Let's Get Harry (1986)

Let's Get Harry is an action-adventure film about a group of friends who band together to rescue their friend from a dangerous drug lord. Although the film was initially directed by Stuart Rosenberg, he was replaced by Alan Smithee (credited to Alan Metter) after disagreements with the producers. Despite the issues during production, Let's Get Harry is an entertaining film with a talented cast that includes Robert Duvall, Gary Busey, and Mark Harmon.

4. Catchfire (1990)

Starring Jodie Foster and Dennis Hopper, Catchfire is a suspenseful thriller about a woman on the run from a dangerous mobster after witnessing a crime. Hopper, who also directed the film, chose to use the Alan Smithee pseudonym after the studio made heavy edits to his original cut. However, the film remains a tense and engaging experience, with strong performances from its leads, making it one of the better Smithee-directed movies.

5. The Shrimp on the Barbie (1990)

This comedy film stars Cheech Marin as a Mexican-American who is hired to manage an Australian restaurant. The original director, Michael Gottlieb, chose to use the Alan Smithee pseudonym after the film's producers made significant changes to his original vision. Despite the behind-the-scenes issues, The Shrimp on the Barbie is a fun and entertaining comedy that showcases Marin's comedic talents.

6. An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1997)

This satirical comedy is unique as it is a film about a director named Alan Smithee (played by Eric Idle) who wants to remove his name from a film he believes is terrible but cannot, as the pseudonym is already in use. The film's original director, Arthur Hiller, chose to use the Alan Smithee pseudonym after disagreements with the writer, Joe Eszterhas. Despite its mixed reviews, Burn Hollywood Burn is an interesting and meta exploration of the Alan Smithee phenomenon.

7. Woman Wanted (2000)

Directed by and starring Kiefer Sutherland, Woman Wanted is a romantic drama about a man who falls in love with a woman on the run from the law. After disputes with the producers over the final cut, Sutherland chose to use the Alan Smithee pseudonym. The film features strong performances from Sutherland and co-star Holly Hunter, making it a worthwhile entry in the Smithee filmography.

Conclusion: The Legacy of Alan Smithee

Though the name Alan Smithee is often associated with subpar films, there are some hidden gems to be found in his filmography. These movies showcase the talents of the original directors and provide an interesting glimpse into the challenges and conflicts that can arise during the filmmaking process. The next time you come across a film credited to Alan Smithee, give it a chance – you might just discover a new favorite.

George Mason

George Mason

I am George Mason, an entertainment enthusiast. I spend my time exploring the latest trends in music, movies, and television. I'm always looking for new ways to have fun and enjoy life.