Blog Directory CineVerse: Changing directions: Take 2

Changing directions: Take 2

Thursday, April 15, 2010

by Erik J. Martin

(Note: This is part 2 of a 2-part article that first published last week.)

When directors switch gears to direct a film in a genre they're not normally associated with, the results can be hit or miss.

Consider, for example, the master Alfred Hitchcock himself. Bet you didn’t know that the widely acknowledged “master of suspense” actually attempted one true comedy (“Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” 1941) and one musical (“Waltzes From Vienna,” 1933, that Hitch later admitted marked the “lowest ebb” of his career).

Were you also aware that the men Hitchcock greatly influenced, “Halloween” director John Carpenter, and “Body Double” director Brian DePalma, tried their hands at a made-for-TV biopic (Carpenter’s lame “Elvis: the Movie,” 1979) and a comedy (DePalma’s Joe Piscopo stinker “Wise Guys,” 1986)?

Other film failure precedents include the 1978 funkified musical “The Wiz,” directed for some strange reason by “Dog Day Afternoon’s” Sidney Lumet, and the ultra-contrived “Annie,” the 1982 stage-to-film musical bafflingly helmed by “Maltese Falcon” director John Huston.

Not every genre hopper trips over his bullhorn, however. Woody Allen, the king of intellectual comedies, had better luck with his 1996 song-and-dance experiment “Everyone Says I Love You,” as did Martin Scorsese, the monopolist of gritty street-smart dramas like “Goodfellas,” and “Silence of the Lambs” skipper Jonathan Demme, who directed two surprisingly masterful rock concert films, 1978’s “The Last Waltz,” and 1984’s “Stop Making Sense,” respectively.

Of course, it’s probably only a matter of time before ultraviolent visionary Quentin Tarantino decides to direct a Disney cartoon.

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