The Two Gay Geeks wanted to feature a person we admire quite a bit since his credits range from Miscellaneous Crew to Composer even acting in a few films and who can forget all of the incredible films the man has directed. You could say he is the quintessential “Renaissance Man” when you consider all he has done.
Although Alan Smithee’s Wikipedia entry says his career started in 1968, although he was active in the 1955 and 1965 where he directed a couple of Television shows, probably without proper credit, which would explain the discrepancy in his bio.
Once his career took off, Critics praised his first film and its “new” director, with The New York Times commenting that the film was “sharply directed by Allen Smithee (sp?) who has an adroit facility for scanning faces and extracting sharp background detail,” and even Roger Ebert commented, “Director Allen Smithee (sp?), a name I’m not familiar with, allows his story to unfold naturally.”
While some may consider Alan Smithee to be a “hack” or an alias, it is simply not true. He has several films under his belt that could be considered Blockbuster entertainment (he has 103 Directing Credits on IMDb!), specifically the Extended Edition of the film Dune. What a masterpiece, to take David Lynch’s original film and add the incredible back story and additional scenes was one of the greatest coupe’s of all time.
After that he took a break and did some pick up work in the Art Department and even Makeup. He decided to try his hand at composing for films as well, mostly for short films. He even did some editing and writing for film and TV.
There was even a movie made about the mysterious Alan Smithee that was shown on the American Movie Classics cable channel. Although we have not seen this movie, I am sure it extolled the magnificence of his approach to film and his willingness to do whatever it takes to make a film.
He has been quite the supporter of Independent Filmmakers throughout his career and up to today. The Two Gay Geeks recently interviewed the co-directors of a film who had Alan Smithee’s help as a production assistant. The truly amazing part is that Alan Smithee has so much energy and still continues to work after more than 50 years in the business.
There is one odd aspect to Alan Smithee’s legacy, he is a very private man and is protective of that privacy to the point that there are no real good photos of him around. We have only been able to acquire this silhouette of him, captured during a contemplative moment as he considered walking off into the ocean because of the meanness of some of those Hollywood types.
Let us all give a great round of applause for the man who takes on projects that no one else will touch, Alan Smithee.
For more information on Alan Smithee, checkout his Wikipedia page as well as his IMDb page.
Alan Smithee Wikipedia Page
Alan Smithee IMDb Page