Who is Alan Smithee and Why Did He Make So Many Bad Movies?
Alan Smithee's name appears on so many bad movies that every time someone makes a bad movie they have to pay Smithee a royalty. If you ever watch the credits at the end of a movie, you'll see Smithee's name on a raft of bad movies.
Okay, that's not true. In reality, Alan Smithee never made a movie in his life. In fact, I'll take it one step more. There is no such person as Alan Smithee. It's a made-up name to save real directors the embarrassment of having their real names on a bad movie.
The way I heard the story is that the whole Alan Smithee thing started back in 1968 with a film called Death of a Gunfighter. the movie starred Richard Widmark and Widmark was not happy with director Robert Totten. Totten was replaced by Don Siegel. When the final product came out, neither Totten nor Siegel wanted their name associated so it was agreed that the pseudonym Alan Smithee would be used in the films credits.
At least that's the story I've always heard. After that the use of the name Alan Smithee was used by members of the Directors Guild of America anytime a director didn't want his name associated with a film.
the practice of using that name ended around 2000, so you won't see that name on films anymore, but a few of the films credited to Smithee include Fade in with Burt Reynolds plus Hellraiser: Bloodline and Shrimp on the Barbie.
You certainly won't find any big hit movies on the list of Alan Smithee productions with the possible exception of Twilight Zone:The Movie in which the assistant director Anderson House used the pseudonym for the first segment of the film.
Next time your watching a movie and see the name Alan Smithee, you'll know it's probably a turkey.