01 September 2003
Thanks to Matt for introducing me to 'Alan Smithee':
The Directors Guild contract generally does not permit a director to remove her/his name from films. The Directors Guild has been striving for decades to establish the director as the "author" of a film, and part of getting the credit for the successes is taking the blame for the failures. The only exceptions they make are cases in which a film was clearly taken away from a director and recut heavily against her/his wishes in ways that completely altered the film. Directors are required to appeal to the Guild in such cases. If the appeal is successful, their name is replaced by Alan Smithee. That is the only permissible pseudonym for a director. So if you notice a film directed by Alan Smithee, it is certain it is not what its director intended, and likely that it is not any good...
Directors are still allowed to use other pseudonyms, as are authors, but that pseudonym, such as those used by Nathan Juran and David de Cocteau, are theirs, and a method of detachment rather than disownership.
Defined by The Internet Movie Database
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