Alan Smithee

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Alan Smithee (also Allen Smithee) was an official pseudonym used by film directors who wish to disown a project, coined in 1968. Until its use was formally discontinued in 2000,[1] it was the sole pseudonym used by members of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) when a director dissatisfied with the final product proved to the satisfaction of a guild panel that he or she had not been able to exercise creative control over a film. The director was also required by guild rules not to discuss the circumstances leading to the move or even to acknowledge being the actual director.[2]



Before 1968

Prior to 1968, DGA rules did not permit directors to be credited under a pseudonym. This was intended to prevent producers from forcing them upon directors, which would inhibit the development of their résumés.[1] The guild also required that the director be credited, in support of the DGA philosophy that the director was the primary creative force behind a film.[2]

First use

The Smithee pseudonym was created for use on the film Death of a Gunfighter, released in 1969. During its filming, lead actor Richard Widmark was unhappy with director Robert Totten, and arranged to have him replaced by Don Siegel. Siegel later estimated that Totten had spent 25 days filming, and he had spent 9-10, and each had roughly equal footage in Siegel's final edit. But he made it clear that Widmark – rather than either director – had effectively been in charge the entire time.[2] When the film was finished, Siegel did not want to take the credit for it, and Totten refused to take credit in his place. The DGA panel hearing the dispute agreed that the film did not represent either director's creative vision.[1]

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