Re: RARA-AVIS: Chandler vs. Altman

From: Channing (
Date: 12 Nov 2007

> Losey, Polanski, Bergman, Fassbinder, Coen, Fellini, Roeg, Huston,
> Weir
> -- all of them have tremendous
> artistic distinction, all control their projects to a very large
> extent (certain exceptions of studio interference easily noted), and
> I would therefore advance the thesis that none of them ever made
> a "bad" film. We need everything they did.

That's a pretty good theory you got there. If only Uwe Boll and Ed Wood had an indisputable theory that "proved" that they never made a bad film... Sorry, just kidding.

I'm afraid we're at the turning point of an "auteur theory" discussion that will only end in stalemate. There's no denying those are truly great filmmakers, but there is no way any artist's work is above criticism, especially in a pop-culture medium. To dismiss weak films doesn't diminish the value of the great ones. What if the director was having an off-day? What if the budget didn't allow for the author's true vision? What if the actor was drunk and gave a lousy performance? There are too many variables that go into filmmaking.

In a medium like film that requires hundreds of people working together, it's difficult to declare the whole project the work of one single man (there are no women on your best director's list.) That's dismissing the creative input of other contributors; cinematographers, screenwriters, editors, composers, producers... etc.

To bring this back to crime literature, it's much easier to declare the entire body of work as belonging to a singular vision in writing.
 In that case, Ed Wood never wrote a bad book, either.


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