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Thursday, 31 May 2018

A new strand on Film Alert - Adrian Martin kicks off a series that retrieves early critical writing

Editor's Note: A good friend suggested a new pursuit for Film Alert and its readers. Let's, he said, retrieve and re-publish pre-digital film criticism by our writers and our readers. That means something from long ago. Of course the selection would be chosen and possibly edited by them. No point in showing yourself in a bad light. Contributions are now called for and all are welcome. 

Critic, scholar and long-time cinephile Adrian Martin responded instantly and sent in this contribution. The pictures have been added and you can click on them to enlarge.

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Film Diary 1975: A Critic at 15 (extracts)

[Note: The only additions to the original text are in parentheses]

Jan 31
Harriet Andersson, Summer with Monica
At the Playbox, a [Ingmar] Bergman retrospective; and on the day Sommaren med Monika[Summer with Monica] with Chaplin’s A Jitney Elopement[1915]. Empty-headed comedy is at least more assured than naïve (one is tempted to say immature) character dramas, but Bergman’s 1953 work occasionally foreshadows more dense (and far more intense) films like Persona[1966].

Back to the TV creepies; more interesting as stylised theatricality than genuinely horrific images and sounds. Talky, contrived (aren’t they all?) humour and set design, is Rowland V. Lee’s Son of Frankenstein[1939].

Feb 1
The Wild Child
[François] Truffaut imitating [Robert] Bresson is a bewildering idea; but he does it remarkably well while still exploring his auteur themes in L’Enfant Sauvage[The Wild Child, 1970]. The austerity and severe control of style is ever-present, but as with Bresson this story of a wild boy’s education has a remarkable power to move and to make us understand the emotional relationships without moralising. Not a typical Truffaut film, but rare and precious.

Bresson defines perhaps one style of cinema; if so, Ken Russell defines the extreme opposite. On a second viewing, The Music Lovers[1971] has lost its power to impress, or signify the slightest in the way of theme. Generating its own forgettable brand of insane grandeur, it is absurdity without surrealism; gestures without characters; form without content. But the bold, know-all young critic behind me at the Palais found the chance to exclaim, “It’s subtle, isn’t it?”

Feb 3
Now that school has started, the period of reflection before these journal entries must be shortened; thus I come to discuss Hell and High Water[1954] and future films with scarcely the same critical equilibrium. 

Bella Darvi, Hell and High Water
But anyway… [Samuel] Fuller’s film with Richard Widmark was unashamedly anti-Communist; and as well violent, direct, and perhaps even thoughtful between the thundering moments of tension. [Peter] Bogdanovich has called it a failure; I feel not, as even in the most wooden and contrived passages it asserts Fuller’s unique ideas and attitudes in an honest, uncluttered fashion; with just enough ambiguous symbolism to make it interesting but not pretentious (The Music Lovers wasn’t pretentious – it didn’t even have a theme!).

Feb 4
Something to end the holidays: a frightful film starring (and produced by, and written by) James Mason; third rate imitation of Mr. Hitchcock – Lady Possessed[1952]. 

[Jules] Dassin doesn’t bother with such ambitions; but he doesn’t have the plain rigour of Fuller that was needed for Naked City[1948], too embarrassing for its own good (and shot ENTIRELY ON LOCATION!)

Feb 16
The contes moraux[moral tales] of Éric Rohmer grow with the development of one’s own intellect and desire – they may be literary and all the rest of those critical qualms, but they are so rich and alive as to make anyone long to know all about this French Catholic intellectual. Ma nuit chez Maud[My Night at Maud’s, 1969] is not as captivating as Le genou de Claire[Claire’s Knee, 1971], but as it grows one realises its delicacy and subtle nuances; its complexity of thought and fusion of a moral dialectic. Rohmer is much truer to his cinematic principles in the 3rd rather than in the 5th tale; and here he expects a lot more from his audience. 


My Night at Maud's
But the two films form a perfect complement; and give a large idea of an auteur whose films can only be described as ‘Rohmerian’ (Sight and Sound).

© Adrian Martin January/February 1975




Saving the ABC - A Message from Get Up

Editor's Note: I support this campaign. The ABC is one of our last bastions against the national takeover of the conversation by the Trumpistas and Turnbullistas who would prefer to shut down critical debate, privilege the lakers of Alan Jones and the collection of commentators on Sky News all the better to avoid public scrutiny of their politics and economics. Here's the message:

Last weekend the powerful, ultra-conservative IPA think tank published a new book: Against Public Broadcasting: How and why we should privatise the ABC.1 

It gets worse. Turnbull's Communications Minister Mitch Fifield – the politician who holds the fate of the ABC – is a paid up, card carrying member of the IPA.2 

The Turnbull Government is becoming increasingly brazen in their ABC attacks. Why? Because they assume the only voters it bothers are rusted on 'lefties' who'd never vote for them anyway. They assume wrong. 

The ABC is one of Australia's most liked and trusted institutions – with supporters from right across the political spectrum.3 

So here's the plan: we're going to show the Turnbull Government that attacking and privatising the ABC is politically toxic – with their own supporters. Together, we'll make sure the ABC is a live issue in the coming 'Super Saturday' elections, identify and target the most strategic communities to work with, and target the Coalition MPs most vulnerable on the ABC. 

But this kind of strategic, highly targeted campaigning doesn't come cheap. And with the by-elections less than 8 weeks away, we need to act fast if we're to make the most of the political opportunity it affords us.4 

Can you chip in to fund strategic tactics to show the Coalition attacking our ABC carries a heavy political penalty – including with their own supporters? 

Here's what we can do if enough of us chip in together to fund this plan: 
  • Make sure attacks on the ABC cause the Coalition significant political pain in the upcoming by-elections. Particularly focussing in the South Australian seat of Mayo, where the Liberal candidate has described the ABC as a "despicable waste of taxpayer's precious money", and in the Tasmanian seat of Braddon, where the cuts threaten local jobs5 
  • Commission polling and research across the country to identify and speak to traditionally Coalition-leaning regional communities that rely on the ABC as their only source of media.
  • Advertising to parents' groups and early childhood educators about the ABC's world-class children's programs that are under threat due to the Coalition's budget cuts 
  • Execute highly localised campaign tactics targeting vulnerable Coalition MPs with high ABC support amongst their constituents, creating discord within Turnbull's very own party room.
But this type of deep, strategic campaigning is both expensive and time consuming. We've got less than two months until the by-elections are held. So if we want to put attacks on the ABC on the agenda we need to move right now. 

Can you chip in to make sure these strategic plans become a reality? And show politicians everywhere that voters won't stand for attacks on our ABC? 

Over the past few years, the ABC's many powerful enemies have become steadily emboldened by their wins. Rupert Murdoch, Pauline Hanson, the IPA and Coalition MPs a plenty are all circling our national broadcaster, in what the ABC's Chairman has described as a "battle being waged against public broadcasting".6 

And they're having a devastating impact. The ABC has lost 1,012 jobs since Tony Abbott's first round of cuts in 2014, and Pauline Hanson has successfully mounted a chilling inquiry into both the ABC and SBS. 7, 8 The threat of privatisation has never been so palpable. 

GetUp members have a a long and successful history of defending our ABC. Our movement knows that a properly funded, fully independent public broadcaster is fundamental to a thriving and healthy democracy. 

Right now, the ABC needs our people-powered support more than ever before. The Turnbull Government – furious at the ABC's first rate independent journalism – is out for blood. The stakes have never been higher for public broadcasting. Can you chip in to make sure the ABC we know and love lives on? 

In hope and determination, 

Ruby, Neneh and Mark – for the GetUp team 

PS – Check out the cover of the IPA's new book (yep, that's B1 about to roast in an actual oven) and chip in to fight back against their attacks on the ABC. 

 

References

[1] New IPA book calls on government to privatise the ABC by 'giving it away', Sydney Morning Herald, 25 May 2018
[2] Budget 2018: Aunty feels Scott Morrison's razor as $83.7m cut, The Australian, 8 May 2018
[3] "Polling: Trust in Institutions", Essential Report, 6 September 2016
[4] Date set for by-elections in Perth, Fremantle, Mayo, Longman and Braddon, ABC News, 24 May 2018
[5] PM live, Sky News, March 2018
[6] Australians should not be fooled by attacks on the ABC, ABC opinion, 30 May 2018
[7] The politics behind the competitive neutrality inquiry into ABC and SBS, the Conversation, May 3 2018
[8] ABC has shed 1,012 jobs since 2014, Senate estimates told, The Guardian, 24 May 2018 

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

On Blu-ray - A rave from David Hare on the new edition of George Cukor's LES GIRLS (1957)

Gene Kelly 'caught in a modernist web', Les Girls
More Kelly and Cole. 
Mitzi Gaynor, Les Girls
Above is Kelly in the title number from Cukor's best musical, Les Girls
Choreography by Saint Jack Cole. 

Wardrobe by Orry Kelly, earning the picture's Oscar. 
Kay Kendall, Les Girls
Screens are from a new Warner Archive Blu-ray: Joy (Mitzi Gaynor), Lady Sybille (Kay Kendall) and Angele (Taina Elg) with their puppet-master Barry Nichols (Kelly) caught in a modernist web. 
Kay Kendall, Gene Kelly, Les Girls
The disc is a doozy.
Here's the number on YouTube

The Current Cinema - Sydney Supercinephile Barrie Pattison tracks down some films from Spain and Japan screening under the radar

The consular one offs in Sydney are with us again. 

Note first the Institute Cervantes - Auditorio level 3, 299 Sussex Street - doing Friday shows at 6.00 pm. 

June 8 Obaba (Mozto Amendariz) 
June 22 Los exiliados románticos (Jonas Trueba) 
July 6 El Rayo/Hassan’s Way (Fran Araujo, Ernesto de Nova)
July 20 Pa Negra/Black Bread (Agusti Villaronga) 
August 3 Stella Cardente/Falling Star  (Luís Miñarro) 
August 17 Una pistola en cada mano/A Gun in Each Hand (Ces Gay) 
August 31 El secreto de sus ojos/The Secret in their eyes( Juan José Campanella)

Free but they want bookings (9274 9200) though there are usually seats empty

The Japanese are screening at Event George St. also 6:00 pm. 


June 27 Honnouji Hotel (Masayuki Suzuki)
July 30 In This Corner of the World (Sunao Katabuchi)   
August 29 The Long Excuse (Miwa Nishikawa)
Also showing in Brisbane


The Koreans show movies too. Watch this space. 

I’ve already put up information on the admirable In This Corner of the World (click here for post) 

Here are notes on Black Bread which I rate as possibly the most remarkable recent Hispanic film.

Superior Spanish drama set at the time following the Civil War. The piece centers on young Francesc Colomer (first film), child of a Republican couple who face the hostility of Franco supporter Alcalde (Sergi López). 

The opening brutal murder (driving a blidfolded horse off a cliff ) lets the audience know that this is not going to be a comfortable experience. The father flees arrest for the crime leaving his wife and son without protection and the plot takes a “Great Expectations” twist with the boy placed in the home of a rich couple. 

The characters he meets expand his world and his final renunciation of the people who are the most deserving of his respect is as harsh as anything on film.

The rural imagery is unfamiliar, detailed and striking - the image of the mother at work in the window, the only action warm toned and distant in the shot, is particularly haunting.

This was Spain’s Oscar contender for the year but did not achieve success abroad. It’s not for the sensitive. Director Agustí Villaronga’s work is highly regarded by the people who’ve had the chance to watch it.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Nostalgia - David Hare recalls THE PIRATE Ballet

Roger Edens goes nuts with a variation on the Cole Porter Macoco theme, and Kelly does the second best number in the show, after the Nicholas Brothers, in The Pirate. This is Minnelli in uncharacteristic Beefcake mode. And all the better for it.
Between them Kelly and Cyd Charrisse had the best gams (and thighs) in the history of the motion picture musical.

I feel better now. Sigh......

 The Pirate Ballet (1948) Gene Kelly & Judy Garland "The Pirate Ballet" from the movie The Pirate (1948). Click on the image.

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Monday, 28 May 2018

Il Cinema Ritrovato - Bologna continues the revival of Buster Keaton with four new versions of his great silent films

The page on Il Cinema Ritrovato’s website devoted to this year's contribution to the long term "Keaton Project" has a quote from the critic Walter Kerr to introduce the program. Kerr writes: “Keaton did cooperate with the universe, a trait that continues to distinguish him from his fellow comedians. Most clowns regarded the physical world as an obstacle to be overcome or evaded, by ingenuity or by grit. Keaton felt otherwise. He knew all about obstacles, of course. But treacherous as the universe might be, Keaton trusted it.” 

Buster Keaton,The Scarecrow
This year the selection comprises two knowns and two, for me, unknowns, being the first two films listed below. 

Keaton and live piano accompaniment hopefully by the wondrous Maud Nelissen makes for perfection. Cant wait.

•       The Scarecrow (1920)
•       The Frozen North (1922)
•       The Navigator (1924)
•       Go West (1925)

Sunday, 27 May 2018

On Blu-ray - John Snadden welcomes the re-appearance of Geoff Murphy's THE QUIET EARTH (New Zealand, 1985)

Geoff Murphy
One of the best films from the 1980s was THE QUIET EARTH, a sci-fi pic from New Zealand, directed by Geoff Murphy. It starred Bruno Lawrence, Alison Routledge and Pete Smith. 

The first dawn of the end-of-the-world is one of the most beautiful and foreboding images ever put on screen.

Murphy's two previous films were the ground breaking UTU and GOODBYE PORK PIE. 

Bruno Lawrence went on to have a stellar screen career in Australia and Pete Smith scored big with the lead role in ONCE WERE WARRIORS. 

Arrow Blu-ray cover
For too long a time this film wasn't available on any digital format and only recently has received limited DVD releases. In mid-June, UK film distributor, Arrow, is releasing an extras packed Blu-ray edition of this movie. Click here for the details on the company's website

A much more comprehensive preview of THE QUIET EARTH can be found at DVD Beaver

Alison Routledge, Bruno Lawrence, Pete Smith,
The Quiet Earth

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Bruce Hodsdon on Douglas Sirk - Links to the complete set of articles

Editor's Note: Between 22 April and 17 July 2017  the Film Alert 101 blog published 18 essays by scholar and critic Bruce Hodsdon devoted to the work of the master film-maker Douglas Sirk (Detlef Sierck).


Douglas Sirk

22 April 2017  (Introduction)
27 April 2017  (Notes on the Weimar and Nazi years)  
2nd May 2017 (The American independent years, 1943-51)
7th May 2017 (Sirk at Universal 1951-53)
14 May 2017 (Sirk at Universal, 1953-57)
16 May 2017 (Sirk at Universal, The Last Films, 1958-59)
17 May 2017 (Klaus Detlef Sierck, 1925-1944)
22 May 2017 (Critical Recognition, the Turning)
30 May 2017 (Sirk Auteur, Part One)
4 June 2017 (Sirk Auteur, Part Two)
12 June 2017 (Drama/melodrama/tragedy)
18 June 2017(Post Sirk:Mass Camp; Genre and the Women's Film)
26 June 2017 The Critical Backlash
27 June 2017  The Legacy
4 July 2017  Sources
12 July 2017 Afterword: American family (melo)drama and comedy on screen. The forties and fifties
13 July 2017 Afterword: The American family on the small screen

13 July 2017The American Family in the cinema: the seventies and after

Friday, 25 May 2018

Sydney Gastronomy - A DVD swap in an unlikely location R K San, Cleveland Street.

The lunch was a bit celebratory, a handover of some discs of movies by the lesser known but interesting Delmer Daves, an unsubtitled copy of Claude Sautet's Garçon last sighted at the 1984 Sydney Film Festival and a couple of the films from 1950 that the then named Cyril Endfield made in the USA, The Sound of Fury/Try and Get Me!  and The Underworld Story. The latter two are fierce in their obvious opposition to mob rule, devious journalists and witch hunts led by self-interested media barons and caused Cyril's name to become mud and contributed to his re-location to the UK a year or so later.

But the swap was rather overshadowed by the celebratory lunch in a place in the backblocks of Surry Hills on the unfashionable Cleveland Street.

R K Tamang
There, a couple of years ago, a young Nepali chef named R K Tamang opened up a place that looks just like any number of those drinking and eating places you see in Ozu movies - a long bench with seating on stools set up against the kitchen area and an interior with table seating. He has called it "RK San".

Here RK experiments with his own variations on classic Japanese dishes, regularly changing his menu and offering specials that he's sometimes still working on. On a quiet day, and lunches are usually pretty quiet in this neck of the woods, RK does it all himself, cooking and serving and discussing what might be the best wine accompaniment to any dish.

We ate grandly. A dish of marinated and spiced raw fish with some accompanying finely sliced potato chips, what he called a 'bouillabaisse' with big chunks of snapper in a miso-based syrup, some delicious pieces of squid fried in a tempura batter and some steamed pork belly in a bed of fine sweet potato mash. 

'...signature dish' (served in an ashtray!)
Then there were two of his signature dishes - what RK calls cigars - a fine cigar-shaped pastry stuffed with tiny pieces of spiced raw fish, nestling in a bed of coals on top of a pink mayonnaise. Stunning presentation. One was filled with snapper, the other with salmon. Superb stuff.

He has a good wine list as well which only one of us delved into.

You come across a gem every now and again and this was one of them.

The restaurant website, with some gorgeous looking photos of its unique dishes can be found if you click here


Ozu on Cleveland Street, RK San



Thursday, 24 May 2018

Streaming at SBS On Demand and shortly on DVD - Rod Bishop reports on Series Four of THE BRIDGE

The Bridge (Bron/Broen)
With her leather outfits, black boots and 1977 Porsche 911, Sofia Helin returns as Swedish homicide detective Saga Norén. Her place on “the spectrum” means poor social skills, but she is also capable of abrupt episodes of lateral thought, insightful enough to change the course of homicide investigations. 
Sofia Helin, The Bridge 
Saga and her investigative talents still draw admiration from both her colleagues and us viewers. She has long since entered the pantheon of the great television series crime fighters. 
Thanks to one of the most audacious setups in any police procedural series, Season One started with the Danish and Swedish police collaborating over a body found on the bridge linking Sweden and Denmark. It’s really the remains of two bodies – the upper torso of a female Swedish politician and the lower half of a Danish prostitute. Placed exactly on the border between the two countries, the case necessitated a joint investigation.
Now in its fourth and arguably its best season, her first partner, the wonderful Danish homicide detective Martin Rohde (Kim Bodnia) is still languishing in jail, convicted of murdering his son’s killer. As she is wont to do, Saga had dobbed him in. Her new Danish partner Henrik Sabroe (
Thure Lindhardt, Sofia Helin, The Bridge
Thure Lindhardt), is still haunted by the death of his wife, the disappearance of his daughters and his previous narcotics addiction. He is also the person Saga blithely and often inappropriately refers to as someone “I have sex with”.
Early in this new series, at a session with a shrink, Saga is asked for “the background to the events that led you here”. Her reply provides an interesting take on Saga’s perspective of the previous three seasons:
Mum had Munchausen by proxy. She almost killed my little sister. I made sure my parents went to jail. Then I took care of Jennifer. She killed herself at 14. Emil Larssen murdered my boss and friend Hans Pettersson. He’d used a paperclip I brought to his cell to slit his wrists. I don’t know if I left it there by accident or deliberately…When he tried to hang himself before I wasn’t sure if I wanted to save him. I think I wanted him to die. I reported my friend and colleague Martin Rohde for having poisoned his son’s murderer. He got 10 years. Then my mum returned. She killed herself but made it look like I killed her. I was in jail for just over a year and was released a few days ago. Having been stabbed in the neck with a broken table tennis bat.

The psychiatrist responds: “I see…we’ve got a bit to work with”.

The intricate, often brilliant plotting produces some immersive police investigations. But The Bridge is significantly elevated by Sofia Helin’s portrayal of Saga. Her talk with the psychiatrist encapsulates why we have become so fascinated with her. For a person who conducts herself almost entirely without interest in private lives (hers or anyone else’s), who speaks the word ‘emotion’ as through it came from another planet and who thinks love is only a conjunction of certain biological elements, it’s the personal, emotive events that constantly disrupt her modus operandi

She wants her existence to be solely defined by her forensic skills at homicide investigations and thereby avoid what she regards as the “psychosocial”. Sofia Helin is brilliant at showing Saga’s almost robotic misfiring as the personal barges into her professional life. 

Underneath, she’s an altogether different text. “And everything…comes back to the beginning”.

Editor's Note:  You  an watch Series Four of The Bridge if you go through the hoops starting here or you can order the DVD in advance of its release in July 2018 by clicking here 

Bruce Hodsdon on Authorship in 'Hollywood' - Writer/Directors - Part 2

      This is the latest part of Bruce Hodsdon’s erudite series devoted to Hollywood film-makers and film-making methods.The previous essays can be found if you click on the links below.


Charles Chaplin                                
Classical Hollywood
List 1
This  proposed canon of auteurs in classical Hollywood (1929-68) includes credited writer-director auteurs in bold.
Robert Aldrich, Charles Chaplin, Frank Borzage, Frank Capra, George Cukor, Cecil B DeMille, Blake Edwards, John Ford, Samuel Fuller, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley KubrickGregory LaCava, Fritz Lang, Jerry Lewis, Joseph Losey, Ernst Lubitsch, Anthony Mann, Leo McCarey, Vincente Minnelli, Arthur Penn, Otto Preminger, Nicholas Ray, Don Siegel, Douglas Sirk, Josef von SternbergPreston Sturges,George Stevens, Jacques Tourneur, King Vidor, Raoul Walsh, Billy WilderOrson Welles, Edgar G Ulmer  (1)       

Other notable credited writer-directors not included aboveGeorge Axelrod, Richard Brooks, Delmer Daves, Phillip Dunne, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, John Huston, Nunnally Johnson, Garson Kanin, Elia Kazan, Burt Kennedy, Norman Krasna, Albert Lewin, Joseph L Mankiewicz, Dudley Nichols, Abraham Polonsky, Robert Rossen, Andrew L Stone, Frank Tashlin     

John Ford
An example of the ambivalent relationship between a revered auteur and his established screenwriters is John Ford referred to in Part 6 (click here for link) of this series.  Lack of a screenplay credit does not mean that the auteur necessarily lacked major creative involvement in, or control over the screenplay to the extent that his authorship is in question. At the very least, leading and 'A' directors usually had some time, often amounting to weeks, working on the screenplay with the writer prior to the commencement of shooting. Nevertheless authorship ambiguities at the heart of the studio system most often remain substantially unresolved and will always be present to some extent in any system of collaborative creation.
Ben Hecht
List 2
Some leading writers in classical Hollywood. Notable writer auteur collaborations are indicated : Charles Brackett/Wilder, Leigh Brackett/Hawks, Sidney Buchman, Niven Busch, Borden Chase/A Mann,Betty Comden and Adolph Green/Freed-Donen, I A L Diamond/Wilder, Jules Furthman/von Sternberg, Hawks,John Michael Hayes/Hitchcock, Ben Hecht/Hawks,Nunnally Johnson/Ford, Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon/Cukor, Burt Kennedy/Boetticher, Howard Koch, Ring Lardner Jr, Arthur Laurents, Charles Lederer/Hawks, Ernest Lehman/Hitchcock,Ben Maddow, Herman Mankiewicz/Welles, Edwin Mayer, Frank Nugent/Ford, Samson Raphelson/Lubitsch, Robert Riskin/Capra, Casey Robinson, Morrie Ryskind/LaCava, Dalton Trumbo, Phillip Yordan

In the early 70s Richard Corliss, in response to Andrew Sarris's The American Cinema asserted the claims of the screenwriter. “Often when a fine film is signed by a middle-rung director, the film's distinctive quality can be traced to the screenwriter. If the work of screenwriters like Ben Hecht, Howard Koch, Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon, Dudley Nichols and Robert Riskin had been looked at half as closely as an auteurist examines the work of Otto Preminger or  Robert Mulligan you'll find yourself staring at some dominant theme or style –a strong personal trait of film authorship. Film is a dramatic medium and the screenwriters are the medium's dramatists...But the hallmark of many fine screenwriters is versatility not consistency. Subject matter dictates style.”

Corliss identifies the need to distinguish several layers of screenwriting authorship comparable to the distinction between the auteur and journeyman director: the indifferent work of a mediocre writer in original script or adaptation from another medium, or an adaptation by a gifted adaptor like Donald Ogden Stewart, or a superior original like Herman Mankiewicz's for Citizen Kane.
Budd Boetticher
List 3
Metteurs en scenea select listBudd Boetticher,Michael Curtiz, André de Toth, Stanley Donen, Allan Dwan, Richard Fleischer, Tay Garnett, Edmund Goulding, Henry Hathaway, Phil Karlson, Mervyn LeRoy, Joseph H Lewis, Mitchell Leisen, Gerd Oswald, George Sidney, Robert Siodmak, John M Stahl, James Whale

Four directors included in the canon above as auteurs – Cukor, Minnelli, Tourneur and Ulmer – would seem to be relatively clear-cut examples also of metteurs en scène  (literally 'scene setters') although the work of Raoul Walsh and Anthony Mann (particularly Mann's early noir films with cinematographer John Alton), should also be considered in this context. Almost all of the metteurs en scènelisted above were rarely given writing credits on the films they directed and in a some cases also produced. If they appear at all in this regard it is as an original story source.

I have attempted to address the notion of metteur en scène,a critic's concept specific to the studio system of film productionin three of the previous parts of this series, especially parts 9 (Minnelli) and 11 (Tourneur and Oswald), also part 5 on Cukor. Barrett Hodsdon discusses the critically neglected concept on pp 7-101 of The Elusive AuteurHow individual auteurs like Ford, Hitchcock, Hawks and Fritz Lang are known to have worked with writers is referred to in his assessments of selected individual directors as auteurs in chapter 10 of his book.
   
Monte Hellman                          
Post-classical Hollywood
List 4
The following is a proposed canon of auteurs (with list 1 forming a select Pantheon of 55 American auteurs 1929-2018) whose directing careers were established in the two decades of transition from the early to mid sixties; with the exceptions of Eastwood, Hellman and Spielberg, all reinforced their auteur credentials through writing credits:

Robert Altman, Paul T Anderson, John Cassavetes, Joel & Ethan Coen, FrancisCoppola, David Cronenberg, Clint Eastwood, Milos Forman, Monte Hellman, Walter Hill, Spike Lee, David Lynch, Terrence Malick, Michael Mann, Elaine May, Sam Peckinpah, Roman Polanski, George Romero, Paul Schrader Martin Scorsese, StevenSpielberg. ( 2) 
John Singleton
List 5
Contemporary Hollywood now produces (i) medium to big budget blockbusters by the six majors with a budget  $80-100 million plus, including about one third of the budget for marketing for wide theatrical release; (ii) the so-called art and 'specialty' films mostly produced or acquired by the six majors' indie subsidiaries for a limited ' art house' niche market release (a few dozen to a few hundred urban area screens) averaging budgets of $30-40 mill also including about one third for marketing; (iii) indie releases produced by free standing producer-distributors on average budgets frequently less than $5 million and often with small marketing budgets which are expanded if the film opens well. (Source: “Independent Film” in Wikipedia)

Below is a (non-canon) sample of mainstream directors who have generally worked multiple times as directors or writer-directors on productions in the mainstream dominated by six major Hollywood production-distribution companies (now Warner Bros, Universal, Paramount, Sony, Fox, Disney) on genre films and films most often budgeted in the $50-100million plus range, in expectation of success in wide release and foreign markets. In some cases (eg Brian De Palma, Sam Raimi, Bryan Singer, Kathryn Bigelow) they made their early features as “independent” productions on modest budgets. It is select list of directors (qualification: active in c2015) with minimal or no writing credits indicated in bold:

J J Abrams, Sean Anders, David Ayer, Ben Affleck, Michael Bay, Kathryn Bigelow, Shane Black, Tim Burton, James Cameron, Cameron Crowe, Alfonso Cuaron, Bobby & Peter FarrellyJames  FoleyAntoine Fuqua, Guillermo del Toro, Tony Gilroy, Paul Greengrass, Brian De Palma, Scott Derrickson, David Fincher, Jodie Foster, Mel Gibson, Craig GillespieLasse Hallstrom, Ron Howard, Alejandro Innarritu, Peter Jackson, Rian Johnson, Angelina Jolie, Lawrence Kasdan, Ang LeeDoug Liman, Baz Luhrman, Adam McKay, Christopher McQuarrie, James Mangold, Rob Marshall, Sam Mendes, Mike Newell, Christopher Nolan, Alex Proyas, Sam Raimi, Eli Roth, Joseph RubenAnthony & Joe RussoRidley Scott, M Night Shyamalan, Bryan Singer, John Singleton, Denis Villeneuve, The Wachowkis, Joss Whedon, Robert Zemeckis, Ed Zwick   
Allison Anders                                                 
List 6
Below is a sample list of indie directors (qualification: active in directing features for theatrical release c2015). Based on information in the IMDb, those who directed their first feature on a low or minimal budget (< $200,000 or most often <$50,000) are indicated in bold italics. The majority of indies started by directing short films, most likely self financed. A few like Oliver Stone, Darren Aronovsky, David Russell and Marc Webb have moved between mainstream blockbuster and art house scale budgets. Over the course of two decades, Tarantino saw his budgets expand from $1.2 million for Reservoir Dogs to $100 million for Django Unchained matched by worldwide box office returns of $5million for Dogs to Django’s $425 million.There has been an increase in the number of US independents financing films through international co-productions especially with EU countries.

Woody Allen, Michael Almereyda, Allison Anders, Wes Anderson, Gregg ArakiDarren Aronovsky, Miguel Arteta, Noah Baumbach, Ramin Bahrani, Sean Baker, Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck, Mike Cahill, Joshua Caldwell, J C Chandor, Damien Chazelle, Lisa Cholodenko, Larry Clark, George Clooney, Sofia Coppola, Andrew Dominik, Ava DuVernay, Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton, Abel Ferrara, James Franco, Terry Gilliam, Dan Gilroy, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Michel Gondry, Debra Granik, James Gray, David Gordon Green, Paul Haggis, Catherine Hardwicke, Hal Hartley, John Hillcoat, Alex Holdridge, Todd Haynes, Eliza Hittman, Nicole Holofcener, Jim JarmuschBarry Jenkins, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Harmony Korine, John Krasinski, Neal LaBute, Richard Linklater, Kenneth Lonergan, David Lowery, Bennett Miller,Vincenzo Natali, Mira Nair, Jeff Nichols, Alexander PayneAlex Ross Perry, James Pondsolt, Nicholas Winding Refn, Dee Rees, Kelly Reichardt, Jason Reitman, Robert Rodriguez, Matt Ross, Alan Rudolph, David O RussellIra Sachs, Josh& Benny Safdie,  Lynn Shelton, Taylor Sheridan, Kevin Smith, Steven Soderbergh, Todd Solondz, Whit Stillman, Oliver Stone, QuentinTarantino, Jean-Marc Vallée, Gus Van SantJohn Waters, Marc Webb, Elizabeth Wood


Debra Granik
Notes
1.    “Less than meets the eye”or as Andrew Sarris explained,“directors with reputations in excess of inspiration...as if personal signatures in their films were written with invisible ink”: Rouben Mamoulian, Lewis Milestone, William Wellman, William Wyler, Fred Zinnemann. Non-auteurists might question whether “the personal signature of the director” makes the film? There are directors like John Huston and Sidney Lumet who are perplexing in the on again/off again sense of engagement/disengagement, neither metteur en scène nor journeyman, that is the hallmark of their oeuvres. In this they are closest to Wellman of the above quintet.

 2.   The unique histories of George Lucas, Francis Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Stephen Spielberg, Clint Eastwood and Quentin Tarantino as “a new breed of auteurs” (referred to by Thomas Elsaesser as “post-auteur authors”) in relation to the notion of independence in contemporary Hollywood, are discussed by Barrett Hodsdon in chapter 14 of his book The Elusive Auteur.

The final two parts of the series will compare two writer-directors: Joseph L Mankiewicz  ('old' Hollywood), Paul Schrader ('new' Hollywood), and finally consider the role of the creator-writer (the showrunner) in long form television drama.