Wednesday, February 01, 2006

 

Carte Blanche

The noticeable (and deserved) absence of the current remake of King Kong from major Oscar nominations yesterday got me to thinking about the type of film it was. I don't mean the genre, I mean the fact that it was a film that followed an amazing success in a director's career. Usually, directors get one shot at this kind of "open check" trust from financial backers (be them independent or studios). A handful of directors have enjoyed such freedom, and there have been some noticeable examples. Here are a few. Following Citizen Kane, Orson Welles got to direct the Magnificent Ambersons, but never had such freedom of direction for the rest of his career. The phenomenon of The Godfather and The Godfather Part II allowed Coppola to go into the jungle to film Apocalypse Now, but the failure of One From the Heart, earned him a number of gun-for-hire jobs for a while. The Deer Hunter gave Michael Cimino open reign to direct Heaven's Gate. But when it sunk UA, Cimino didn't work again for years. Now, Peter Jackson is faced with the unfortunate situation of having made a film that (even though it grossed $600 million worldwide) is considered a disappointment by Titanic standards. So, it will be interesting to see where he goes from here. Another big budget effort? I don't think so. Small and safe would be my bet. Speaking of Titanic, its director, James Cameron wisely decided not to direct a feature since. Afterall, how could he possibly out "Titanic" Titanic?

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