Re: RARA-AVIS: Chandler vs. Altman

From: Mark R. Harris (
Date: 12 Nov 2007

I cheerfully acknowledge most of the points you make, but expect we would wind up in a stalemate, anyway, because I would continue to argue for the value of the too easily dismissed. I like to give the benefit of the doubt to directors whose movies have generally rewarded me and whom I have come to trust.

I certainly didn't mean to dismiss the importance of those other contributors you mention. I can't imagine Vertigo without Bernard Herrmann's score, and since Hitchcock was incapable of composing a score himself. let alone one of that excellence, he was of course most fortunate to have Herrmann on the project (and quite shrewd to have chosen him). But at the end of the day it's called an Alfred Hitchcock film, not a Bernard Herrmann film.

Best, Mark

On 11/12/07, Channing <> wrote:
> > Losey, Polanski, Bergman, Fassbinder, Coen, Fellini, Roeg, Huston,
> Welles,
> > 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.
> ----------
> --Chan

Mark R. Harris
2122 W. Russet Court #8
Appleton WI 54914
(920) 470-9855

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