|Alan Smithee, Scapegoat.
||[Apr. 22nd, 2004|01:00 am]
|||||AC/DC - Shot Down in Flames [Live in Paris]||]|
Alan Smithee is a pseudonym which a director uses if there stands a great objection in their involvement with the work.
Usually, one uses a pseudonym as a form of detached identification . . . a role one plays. Many authors have used pseudonyms for some or all of their works. Stephen King used the pseudonym "Richard Bachman" for a few of his novels.
In a sense, many entertainers have changed their names, yet that is a phenomenon more of aesthetic purpose . . . if an actor had the last name of Bluzneszikov, he might consider a change of name to Blue to have an easier time of identification and acceptance for the benefit of his fans.
In the historical appearance of the pseudonym 'Alan Smithee,' the name has been attached most often to films of rather poor quality.
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0113936/ (National Lampoon's Senior Trip)
Here is one example of the Alan Smithee film. In finding this film, I suddenly remembered that I watched it around the time it first released on video. I don't remember it being one of the worst films I ever watched . . . I don't remember it, so it's not exactly the best film. It does have Tommy Chong in it . . . that's how I remembered I watched it.
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0100608/ (Shrimp on the Barbie)
I'm pretty sure I've watched this film. I may be confusing this with Born in East L.A., but I'm not really sure. I generally like Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong. I really liked their early works, Up in Smoke, Next Movie, and Nice Dreams, though weed wasn't the reason for my enjoyment. I was more of a booze hound, and I have a softer spot in my heart for Strange Brew.
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0116514/ (Hellraiser: Bloodline)
I didn't watch this installment of Hellraiser, but some horror fans might remember watching this one. This was the film that I noticed the paws-down listing by the VideoHound. The VideoHound is one of those great references you can buy for a bunch of films . . . Mike Mayo is one of the guys behind these excellent reference books. I have the 1998 edition of VideoHound's Horror Show: 999 Hair-Raising, Hellish, and Humorous Movies.
They made a film in 1997 called Burn, Hollywood, Burn which gave great notoriety to the pseudonym.
The film's plot features a director named Alan Smithee who directs a movie that becomes objectionable . . . part of the problem is that the director's name is Alan Smithee.
Whatever Joe Eszterhas the writer actually intended for this film didn't work out too well in the end. The film apparently earned the Alan Smithee tag. The use of Alan Smithee for this film is reported to have made the tag useless to directors.
Generally, I have a different view of a tag such as Alan Smithee.
I agree on the power and the protection that the Guilds provide to the entertainment industry. For the price of proper recognition, one must also accept the responsibility of that recognition for all quality of works.
For the future, I would like to see a process where the Alan Smithee tag is used by all entertainers in objection to participation in the final cut of their disputed work. Of course, anonymity is not possible, given the nature of the industry. However, under a process of great grievance and appeal, it is necessary to cast a tag of final objection. Alan Smithee should be such a tag.