Transcript: The Business of Directing | Mar 20, 1989

Stanley Kramer appears sitting in an office, his back to a large window with white curtains. He’s in his fifties, has short gray hair and is clean-shaven. He wears a light pink shirt and holds his glasses in his right hand. A cup and some papers lay on the desk in front of him.

Elwy Yost asks STANLEY KRAMER,
WHAT IS CINEMA?

Stanley smiles and answers THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION.
I'M SURE IT'S NOT
ALL CINEMA VERITE,
IF THAT'S WHAT YOU MEAN.
I THINK IT'S PROBABLY THE
GREATEST LUXURY EVER EXPENDED
UPON THEORETICALLY
CREATIVE PEOPLE.
SOMETIMES THEY'RE
NOT SO CREATIVE.
AND
WE
ARE NOT SO CREATIVE.
BUT I THINK IT'S AN EXPRESSION
WHICH BEST BLENDS ALMOST
EVERY MEANS OF COMMUNICATION,
MUSIC, SPOKEN WORD,
PHOTOGRAPHY, LIGHTING,
IMPACTS, EVERYTHING IN WHICH
ONE CAN COMMUNICATE
WITH ANOTHER PERSON,
WITH OTHER PEOPLE.
AND I THINK THAT'S A
TREMENDOUS LUXURY.

Now Elwy Yost appears in a studio. He’s in his sixties, bald, and wears a moustache and glasses. He sits in front of a sign simulating film tape that reads “Talking film.”
He holds some papers on his lap.

He smiles and says WELCOME TO
TALKING FILM,
A SERIES OF HALF HOUR PROGRAMS
WHICH EXPLORE MOTION PICTURES
ENTIRELY THROUGH THE WORDS
OF THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THEM.
WHEN DIRECTING IS DISCUSSED
OR WRITTEN ABOUT, YOU MOSTLY
HEAR VIEWS AND OPINIONS ON
THE ART OF CINEMA, THE ROLE
OF THE DIRECTOR IN BRINGING
TOGETHER THE VARIOUS
AESTHETIC ELEMENTS.
THIS PROGRAM, HOWEVER, IS
DEVOTED TO THE BUSINESS OF
DIRECTING MOTION PICTURES.
THE BLENDING OF ALL OF THE
LOGISTICAL, THE PHYSICAL,
THE COMMERCIAL ELEMENTS OF
FILM PRODUCTION WITH THE
CREATIVE ASPECTS.
ALL THE DIRECTORS WHO APPEAR
IN THIS PROGRAM ARE AMONG THE
MOST SUCCESSFUL EVER
PRODUCED BY THE INDUSTRY.
STANLEY KRAMER WHO CREATED
ON THE BEACH
AND
THE DEFIANT ONES.
ROBERT ALDRICH, DIRECTOR OF
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?
TED KOTCHEFF,
DIRECTOR OF
SOMEONE IS KILLING THE
GREAT CHEFS OF EUROPE.
RICHARD BROOKS, WRITER,
DIRECTOR, CREATOR OF
LORD JIM
AND
LOOKING FOR
MISTER GOODBAR
AMONG MANY OTHERS.
WE BEGIN NOW BY ASKING STANLEY
KRAMER WHAT HIS CRITERIA ARE
FOR A GOOD FILM.

Stanley appears in a clip once more and answers IT'S A FEEL.
THERE ARE NO CRITERIA
IN REGARD TO A FEELING.
IF YOU COULD SET
DOWN A SET OF RULES,
PROBABLY, THAT'S WHAT
EVERYBODY WOULD BE DOING,
ALL THE TIME.

A caption below him reads “Stanley Kramer, Producer-director, Defiant ones.”

He continues THEY TRY TO DO
THAT IN CYCLES.
WHEN YOU HAVE A SUCCESSFUL
FILM, YOU FIND THERE ARE 15 TO
FOLLOW IN THE SAME GENRE.
THEY DON'T USUALLY WORK AS
WELL BECAUSE BY THE TIME YOU
GET THROUGH DOING WHAT YOU
THINK ARE THE CRITERIA FOR A
SUCCESSFUL FILM, OR EVEN WHAT
PEOPLE WANT TO SEE, IT'S NO
LONGER THE CRITERIA, NOR DO
THEY ANY LONGER WANT TO SEE IT
BY THE TIME YOU GET
AROUND TO MAKING IT
THE SECOND TIME AROUND.
I THINK IT'S JUST AN INSTINCT.
SOMETHING, SOMETIMES,
WHICH IS FRESH.
SOMETHING, SOMETIMES
WHICH IS PROVOCATIVE.
BUT CERTAINLY, THAT MYSTERIOUS
CHEMISTRY HAS TO BE PRESENT.
YOU LOOK FOR A STORY, AND YOU
SAY, THIS IS A WONDERFUL STORY.
I CAN MAKE A
WONDERFUL FILM OF IT.
A GREAT MANY AMATEURS COME
TOGETHER AND SAY WE ARE GOING
TO DO THIS.
AND FOR SOME REASON, WITHOUT
ANY PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE,
YOU LOOK AT IT AND SAY,
REALLY A WORK OF
SOME MARK AND ATTAINMENT.
AND THEN PROFESSIONALS WHO
HAVE DONE BEAUTIFUL WORK IN
THE PAST, HAVE GOT A WONDERFUL
TRACK RECORD COME TOGETHER,
AND THEY END UP WITH A
CROCK OF COTTAGE CHEESE.

He rubs his fingers together and says SO THAT CHEMISTRY HAS GOT
SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT,
THAT ALMOST UNDEFINABLE
SOMETHING
FOR THE CRITERIA.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS.

Elwy says LET ME PUT IT THIS WAY.
WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO
ACHIEVE IN YOUR FILMS?

He answers WELL, IT'S A TERRIBLY
DASTARDLY ANSWER.
QUESTIONS AS FAR REACHING AS
THIS, AND TO BE ABLE TO AD LIB
ANSWERS CAN SOMETIMES
GET YOU INTO DIFFICULTY.

He nods and says I'M TRYING TO PLEASE MYSELF.
I DON'T EVER EXPECT TO.
I REALLY DON'T EVER EXPECT
TO, AND I NEVER HAVE.
I WORK ON THE THEORY THAT
UNLESS WHAT PLEASES ME WILL
SOON THEREAFTER PLEASE A GREAT
MANY OTHER PEOPLE, THAT WOULD
HAVE TO SERVE AS WHAT
I'M TRYING TO DO.
IF I DON'T SUCCEED, I THINK
I MAY HAVE TO STEAL QUIETLY
AWAY INTO THE NIGHT AND
NEVER BE HEARD FROM AGAIN.

He frowns and continues BUT I AM TRYING
TO PLEASE MYSELF.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING.
SOON AS I DO, OR WORSE,
THINK
I DO,

He opens his hands and says THEN I AM FINI.
IT IS THE END.

A black slate appears. It reads “Getting Started.”

Elwy and Robert Aldrich appear sitting facing each other on a leather couch. The room is panelled with dark wood and a large lamp stands on the table between them.
Robert Aldrich wears a white shirt, brown trousers and glasses. He’s in his fifties; has receding gray hair and one of his feet is propped up on the coffee table.

Elwy asks ROBERT ALDRICH, HOW DID YOU
GET INTO MOTION PICTURES?

He answers WELL, THERE USED TO BE
A THING, A JOB CALLED
PRODUCTION CLERK.
THEY DON'T HAVE THEM ANYMORE.
THEY'VE BEEN ORGANIZED
OUT, UNFORTUNATELY.
WHO MADE OUT THE CALL SHEET,
MADE OUT THE PRODUCTION PORT,
KEPT THE TIMECARDS ON THE ACTORS
AND WAS A GENERAL GOPHER.
AND THEY WERE THE LOWEST
FORM OF HUMAN LIFE.
YOU GOT PAID 25 dollars A
WEEK, AND YOU RAN.
YOU WERE A GOPHER.
BUT IT ALSO GAVE YOU THE
OPPORTUNITY TO BE ON THE SET
AND TO WATCH AND LISTEN.
AND I CAME HERE IN JULY '41,
AND SCREEN DIRECTOR'S GUILD,
IT'S NOW CALLED DIRECTORS'
GUILD OF AMERICA, WERE THEN
CALLED SCREEN DIRECTORS'
GUILD, ORGANIZED THOSE
PRODUCTION CLERKS INTO
SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH,
FIFTH ASSISTANTS IN
OCTOBER OF THAT YEAR.

A caption below him reads “Robert Aldrich, Director, Attack.”

He continues “A” YOU WERE VERY FORTUNATE
BECAUSE THEY GAVE YOU A CHAIN
OF OPPORTUNITY THAT
ALWAYS HAD BEEN CUT OFF.
GUY COULD BE A GOPHER FOREVER
AND NOT BE ABLE TO GET INTO
THAT UNION, THAT GUILD.
BUT FORTUNATELY, THAT OCTOBER
OF '41, THEY WERE ORGANIZED.
SO YOU HAD A GOLDEN
OPPORTUNITY, IF YOU WORKED
HARD, TO ADVANCE.
THE AMERICAN DREAM
STILL WORKED.

Elwy asks SO THAT'S HOW
YOU GOT STARTED?

Robert nods and answers YEAH.

He asks WHOM DID YOU
START WITH?

Robert says RKO.

He asks WHO WERE SOME OF THE EARLY?

Robert replies FIRST PICTURES, EARLY, FIRST
PICTURE WITH PEOPLE LIKE
DAVE BUTLER AND STEVENS, AND
I DID THE FIRST PICTURE,
MICHELLE MORGAN AND CONNERY
DID IN THIS COUNTRY.
BUT THAT WAS VERY EARLY.

He asks ANYTHING TO DO WITH WELLS?

Robert says NO, I WORKED A COUPLE OF DAYS
ON WELLS
JOURNEY INTO FEAR.
BUT ONCE I BECAME A FIRST,
WHICH TOOK ABOUT FOUR YEARS,
FIVE YEARS, THEN I WORKED WITH
SOME MARVELLOUS DIRECTORS.
I WORKED WITH MILESTONE AND
CHAPLIN AND RENOIR,

Elwy says YES, YOU ASSOCIATE
DIRECTED
LAND LINE.

Robert states NO, I DIDN'T DIRECT.
HE WAS THE DIRECTOR, I
WAS ASSISTANT DIRECTOR.

Elwy says ASSISTANT.

Robert says I REALLY WORKED WITH SOME
TERRIBLY TALENTED PEOPLE.
VERY, VERY LUCKY.
BECAUSE YOU, IT
IS
LUCK.
YOU GET THOSE ASSIGNMENTS AND
THOSE REALLY EXTRAORDINARY
MEN AND YOU LEARN.

Elwy asks IN THE BLOSSOMING OF YOUR
LIFE, YOU WORKED USUALLY AWAY
FROM THE MAJOR STUDIOS,
INDEPENDENTLY, DIDN'T YOU?
WITH YOUR OWN OUTFIT?

Robert says IT SEEMS TO BE.

Elwy says COULD YOU TALK ABOUT BEING
THE INDEPENDENT PRODUCER?

He nods and says WELL, I'VE BEEN, AFTER
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, I BECAME
A PRODUCTION MANAGER BECAUSE
PRODUCTION MANAGERS
MAKE MORE MONEY.
WANTING TO BE A DIRECTOR.
IT'S THE TOUGHEST
THING IN THE WORLD.
YOU'RE A DIRECTOR WHEN
SOMEBODY SAYS, WAKES UP IN
THE MORNING AND TOUCHES YOU
ON THE SHOULDER AND SAYS
YOU'RE A DIRECTOR.
IT'S LIKE BEING KNIGHTED.

Elwy chuckles.

He continues HOW MUCH DIFFERENT WERE YOU
THE DAY BEFORE, YOU KNOW?
BUT,
AND I GOT SENT TO NEW YORK
TO DIRECT SOME SOAP OPERAS.
AND THEY TURNED OUT
REASONABLY WELL.
AND I STAYED THERE FOR A
COUPLE OF YEARS, AND THEN
CAME BACK TO THIS TOWN
AND FINALLY GOT A JOB
DIRECTING SMALL FEATURES.
AND THE FIRST ONE
I DID FOR METRO.
THEN ALL THE REST OF THEM,
FOR A LONG, LONG TIME,
WERE FOR INDEPENDENTS.
AND I WAS VERY FORTUNATE, SOME
OF THEM TURNED OUT, THE EARLY
ONES TURNED OUT RATHER WELL.
AND THEY WERE SUCCESSFUL WHICH
ALLOWED US TO SET UP OUR OWN
COMPANY IN '53 AND,

Elwy asks THIS IS ROBERT
ALDRICH PRODUCTIONS?

He answers NO, IT WAS ORIGINALLY CALLED
ASSOCIATES OF ALDRICH.
THEN IT WAS CALLED
THE ALDRICH STUDIO.
AND NOW IT'S CALLED
THE ALDRICH COMPANY.
BUT THAT STARTED WITH, THE
FIRST PICTURE WE MADE UNDER
THAT IS
KISS MY DEADLY.
LATE '53.

Elwy asks WHAT WAS YOUR MOST
SUCCESSFUL UNDER THAT?
WOULD IT BE
DIRTY DOZEN?

Robert tilts his head and says I WOULD THINK EITHER
DIRTY
DOZEN
OR
LONGEST YARD.
LONGEST YARD
WAS REALLY AN
AL RUDDY PICTURE OF PARAMOUNT,
BUT IT WAS A COPRODUCTION
WITH THE ALDRICH COMPANY.
THEY LENT MY SERVICES
OUT FOR THAT PICTURE.

Elwy asks WHERE WOULD YOU
GO AND SHOOT THEM?
I MEAN, YOU WOULDN'T ACTUALLY
HAVE YOUR OWN, WHILE YOU'RE A
COMPANY, YOU USE OTHER
STUDIO AREAS, DON'T YOU?

He answers FOR THAT PERIOD, WE
HAD OUR OWN STUDIO.
BUT YOU'D SHOOT, AS WE MENTION,
SODOM AND GOMORRAH
WAS MADE
IN MOROCCO,
TOO LATE THE HERO
WAS MADE IN THE PHILIPPINES.
I MADE
ANGRY HILLS
IN GREECE.
I MADE A COUPLE OF
PICTURES IN ENGLAND.
YOU'RE IN FRANCE.
ONE EXTRAORDINARY REWARD IN
THIS BUSINESS IS THAT YOU
PRACTICE YOUR CRAFT
THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
AND SOMETIMES IT ISN'T AS
PLEASANT AS YOU'D LIKE IT TO BE.

Elwy says DO YOU GO TO MGM OR,

Robert replies YEAH, I'VE GONE
BACK TO MGM.
I'VE GONE BACK TO PARAMOUNT.
I USED TO WORK THERE
AS AN ASSISTANT.
I'VE GONE BACK AND
MADE PICTURES THERE.

Elwy asks DIDN'T YOU DO AN
EARLY PICTURE FOR
BURT LANCASTER'S COMPANY?

He answers OH, SURE.
TWO.
I DID A PICTURE CALLED
APACHE
, WHICH I'D LIKE TO
THINK OF AS THE FIRST PICTURE
THAT TOOK THE INDIAN'S
POINT OF VIEW.
BUT IT WAS TOO EARLY.
NOBODY REALLY CARED ABOUT
INDIANS IN 1952, YOU KNOW?
THEN WE MADE A PICTURE IN
MEXICO THAT WAS TERRIBLY
SUCCESSFUL WITH GARY
COOPER CALLED
VERA CRUZ.

Elwy says THAT WAS BEAUTIFUL.

Robert says WITH BURT.
AND THAT WAS VERY SUCCESSFUL.

Elwy asks HOW WAS HE TO WORK WITH?
LANCASTER HIMSELF?

Robert tilts his head and says VERY TOUGH.
NOBODY KNOWS THIS, BUT WE
REMADE
APACHE
ABOUT FOUR
YEARS AGO AT UNIVERSAL.
AND WE CALLED IT
ULZANA'S RAID.

He smiles and explains AND WHAT REALLY HAPPENED, BURT
PLAYED THE INDIAN SCOUT AS
OPPOSED TO PLAYING THE INDIAN.
20 YEARS BEFORE HE'D
PLAYED THE INDIAN.
AND IT WAS STILL A COMMENT
ON THE UNFAIR TREATMENT
OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN.
BUT BY THEN, IT WAS
IN VOGUE, YOU KNOW?

Elwy says BUT BACK THEN, WAS HE,

Robert explains YOU MUST REMEMBER, IT
WAS HIS OWN COMPANY.
AND HE WAS A VERY, A MAN
FILLED WITH ENERGY,
AND FULL OF AMBITION, AND
VERY, VERY BRIGHT.
BUT IT MADE LIFE OF A
DIRECTOR PRETTY TOUGH.
I'VE WORKED WITH HIM TWO OR
THREE TIMES IN MORE RECENT
YEARS, AND HE'S A DELIGHT.
I GUESS A DELIGHT COMPARED
TO WHAT HE WAS 25 YEARS AGO.
WE WENT TO GERMANY
TO MAKE
TWILIGHT
,
AND HE WAS JUST MARVELLOUS.
VERY HELPFUL, VERY
COOPERATIVE, AND I DON'T
THINK WE WOULD HAVE GOT THE
PICTURE MADE WITHOUT HIM.
HE'S EASY TO WORK WITH NOW.
TOUGH TO WORK WITH THEN.

He smiles, nods and says I GUESS WE'RE ALL
GETTING OLDER.

A clip shows Stanley once more.

Elwy asks STANLEY KRAMER, WHAT
DOES A FILM DIRECTOR DO?

Stanley frowns and answers WELL, HE'S TAKEN OVER THE MAIN
PROCEDURE AND MAIN FUNCTION
OF WHAT WAS ONCE CALLED
A PRODUCER'S MEETING.
THE DAYS OF SELZNICK AND
THALBERG AND GOLDWYN.
TODAY, THEY CALL IT A
DIRECTOR'S MEETING,
WHICH I DON'T
BELIEVE AT ALL.
BUT HE'S TAKEN OVER THAT
FUNCTION OF HAVING THE DREAM.
THE DREAM IS USUALLY
THE DIRECTOR'S DREAM.
SOMETIMES IT'S A WRITER'S
DREAM, AND THEN SOMETIMES, IN
CONJUNCTION, THE TWO OF THEM
TOGETHER HAVE THE DREAM.
BUT IT IS A DREAM OF
VISUALIZING SOMETHING
THAT THEY WANT TO DO
VERY BADLY IN ADVANCE
AND BRING IT TO FRUITION.
THE DIRECTOR NOW, IN
CONTRAST TO OTHER DAYS,
USUALLY SELECTS THE PIECE OF
MATERIAL, OR SHARES IN THE
WRITING OF IT, WORKS WITH THE
WRITER RIGHT DOWN THE LINE,
CERTAINLY DOES THE MAJOR
PART OF THE CASTING,
SUPERVISES THE EDITING.
CERTAINLY DOES THE SHOOTING,
OBVIOUSLY, ON THE SET, LAYING
OUT THE PICTURE WITH THE
PRODUCTION DESIGNER AND
DIRECTING THE PEOPLE.
AND EDITS IT, ABSOLUTELY FRAME
FOR FRAME, AND USUALLY IS ON
THE ROAD TRYING TO SELL
IT WHEN HE'S FINISHED.
IT'S A PRETTY
ALL-AROUND JOB.

The clip shows Robert Aldrich again.

Elwy asks AS A PRODUCER, WHAT DOES THE
PRODUCER DO, FOR OUR VIEWERS?

He sighs and answers THE PRODUCER'S MAIN
CONTRIBUTION, AND I'M GOING
TO LOSE A LOT OF FRIENDS BY
SAYING THIS, THE PRODUCER'S
MAIN CONTRIBUTION IS
TO FIND THE MONEY.
IF HE CAN FIND THE MONEY,
HE'S REALLY FULFILLED
HIS FUNCTION.
IF HE CAN FIND THE MONEY AND
KEEP EVERYBODY OFF YOUR BACK
WHILE YOU GO MAKE
THE MOVIE, THAT'S A
TREMENDOUS ACCOMPLISHMENT.
AND NOT MANY
PEOPLE CAN DO THAT.

Elwy adds THE DIRECTOR,
WHAT DOES THE DIRECTOR DO?

Robert smiles and says WELL, YOU'RE TALKING TO
A VERY PREJUDICE SUBJECT.
THE DIRECTOR MAKES THE MOVIE.
USUALLY, HE FINDS
THE MATERIAL.
ALWAYS HE CASTS THE PICTURE,
AND HE HAS TO MAKE IT.
MAKE IT IN TERMS OF
MANUFACTURING IT, DAY BY DAY,
FRAME BY FRAME.
HE CUTS IT, HE PREVIEWS IT, HE
RECUTS IT, HE REPREVIEWS IT,
AND HE GIVES IT BACK TO THE
PRODUCER AND SAYS, NOW, YOU
SAID IT WAS GOING TO BE
A HIT, GO MAKE IT A HIT.

The clip goes back to Stanley.

Elwy says IS THE DIRECTOR THE AUTHOR?
DO YOU BELIEVE IN
THE AUTEUR THEORY?

Stanley replies NO, I DON'T BELIEVE
IN THE AUTEUR THEORY.
I'M VERY MUCH AGAINST
THE AUTEUR THEORY.
THE REASON BEING THAT I'VE
BEEN AROUND QUITE A WHILE.
AND MY FEELING IS THIS IS
A CONJUNCTIVE ART FORM.
IT'S AN ART FORM IN WHICH
ONE MAN'S THUMBPRINT,
PROBABLY THE DIRECTOR'S,
IS MOST STRONGLY UPON IT.
BUT THEN, THAT BEING THE CASE,
THE DIRECTOR'S THE BOSS,
HE BRINGS IN FOR HIS BABY,
TO NURTURE AND BRING HIS BABY
INTO CREATION, THE FINEST
COMPOSER AS AN ARTIST,
THE FINEST ACTORS, THE BEST
WRITERS, CERTAINLY THE BEST
MUSICIANS OF ALL
KINDS, PHOTOGRAPHERS.
AND THEY HAVE TO HAVE RANGE
TO DO THEIR CREATIVE THING.

He frowns and adds YOU CAN'T DO THAT WHEN THE
AUTEUR THEORY IS OPERATIVE.
THESE PEOPLE HAVE
GOT TO HAVE RANGE.
AND THE TROUBLE WITH IT IS,
THE FRUSTRATION FOR THE
DIRECTOR, IF HE BE THE
SO-CALLED
BOSS
, IS THAT IT
MAY BE BETTER THAN THE
WAY HE DREAMED IT,
OR IT MAY BE WORSE.
IT'S NEVER EXACT.
THERE ARE ALWAYS FOUR VIOLINS
TOO MANY IN THE FINISHED
PRODUCT, OR THERE'S NOT
ENOUGH DISTORTION IN THAT
SCENE PHOTOGRAPHICALLY.
OR AN ACTOR SAID I CAN'T
READ THAT DAMN LINE,
IT'S IMPOSSIBLE.
SO YOU'VE GOT TO CHANGE IT.
AND THAT'S ONE OF
YOUR FAVOURITE LINES.

He raises his brows and continues BUT THE GIVE AND
TAKE IS NECESSARY.
THAT'S THE FUNCTION
OF THE DIRECTOR.
IT'S PATIENCE, UNDERSTANDING,
AND CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE
FOR ARTISTS TO
GIVE AND PRODUCE.

The clip shows Robert Aldrich.

Elwy says THERE WAS A TIME WHERE YOU
WERE VERY CAUGHT UP IN THIS
WHOLE ISSUE OF WHO IS THE REAL
AUTHOR OF A FILM, THE WRITER,
AND THE DIRECTOR?
AND YOU HAD TO MAKE A GREAT
NUMBER OF STATEMENTS
AT THAT TIME.
I WAS JUST GOING TO SAY HOW
YOU FEEL ALL ABOUT THAT NOW.
AND YOU'VE PARTIALLY
ANSWERED THAT.
AND ALSO THE AUTEUR THEORY,
I WANTED TO THROW THAT IN.

Robert signs, nods and explains IT'S A VERY, VERY COMPLICATED
QUESTION, NOT ONLY FOR YOUR
VIEWERS, BUT FOR
PEOPLE IN THE INDUSTRY.
AND OBVIOUSLY WE'VE DONE
A GREAT DEAL OF RESEARCH
FOR THE GUILD.
I DO THINK, WITHOUT GETTING
INTO NUANCES OF WHAT THE
AUTEUR THEORY IS, AS OPPOSED
I DO THINK THE DIRECTOR
MAKES THE MOVIE.
AND I DO THINK IF THE MOVIE
FALLS ON ITS FACE, THE
DIRECTOR IS GOING TO GET
BLAMED, AND I THINK HE SHOULD
GET BLAMED.
IF IT'S SUCCESSFUL, THERE ARE
GOING TO BE A LOT OF GUYS
CROWDING IN TO SHARE THAT
SUCCESS, AND I DON'T REALLY
SAY THAT IS WRONG.
THE WRITER IS CERTAINLY
ENTITLED, THE PRODUCER IS
ENTITLED, THE
ACTORS ARE ENTITLED.
BUT IF A PICTURE FAILS,
THOUGH, THE ACTOR WILL GO GET
A JOB THE NEXT DAY, THE WRITER
WILL GET A JOB THE NEXT DAY,
THE DIRECTOR WILL SUFFER.
AND I THINK THAT IS THE
PRACTICAL, PRAGMATIC
ENDORSEMENT OF WHO IS
RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PICTURE.
YOU DON'T SEE ACTORS STAYING
OUT OF WORK FOR THREE YEARS
BECAUSE A PICTURE FLOPS.
YOU DON'T SEE A WRITER
STAY OUT, YOU KNOW?
PSYCHOLOGICAL, PHILOSOPHICAL
NUANCES OF THE AUTEUR THEORY
ARE TERRIBLY COMPLICATED.

He smiles and adds NOT VERY PROFOUND,
BUT COMPLICATED.

Elwy laughs.

Robert continues BUT I THINK, IN THE MAIN, IF
YOU COULD TAKE WHO PAYS FOR A
BAD PICTURE IS THE DIRECTOR.
I THINK THE INVERSION OF
THAT REALLY IS THE ANSWER
TO THE PROBLEM.

Ted Kotcheff sits across from Elwy in an editing room. He’s in his late forties; has receding gray hair and wears a black jacket over a light blue t-shirt.

Elwy asks TED KOTCHEFF, IN YOUR EYES,
IS THE DIRECTOR THE AUTHOR?
I WANT TO KNOW YOUR VIEWS
ON THE AUTEUR THEORY, HERE.

He answers I THINK, IF A DIRECTOR WRITES
AND DIRECTS HIS OWN FILMS,
I THINK HE IS OBVIOUSLY
THE COMPLETE AUTEUR
OF THE FILM.

A caption below him reads “Ted Kotcheff, Director, Duddy Kravits.”

He continues BUT I THINK THE AUTEUR THEORY
HAS BEEN TAKEN FAR TOO
SERIOUSLY, AND GONE TO
EXTREMES IN A SENSE, I THINK
THERE'S ALWAYS A COLLABORATION
BETWEEN A WRITER AND A
DIRECTOR ON A FILM.
I THINK A WRITER MAKES A VERY,
VERY IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION.
AND THEN THERE IS ALSO MANY
CONTRIBUTIONS MADE BY OTHER
PEOPLE BY EDITORS AND
BY COSTUME PEOPLE.
I MEAN, IT'S A
COMMUNAL ACTIVITY.
THE DIRECTOR IS THE CAPTAIN OF
THE SHIP, BUT A LOT OF OTHER
PEOPLE ARE INVOLVED
IN RUNNING THAT SHIP.
BUT, ULTIMATELY, THE DIRECTOR
MAKES THE FINAL DECISION.
HE SAYS I WILL ACCEPT THAT
IDEA, EVEN IF IT COMES FROM
SOMEONE ELSE, OR
I'LL NOT ACCEPT IT.
SO, ULTIMATELY, YOU ARE THE ONE
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR IT.

Elwy says 'CAUSE YOU BRING IT ALL
TOGETHER, DON'T YOU?
EVERY SINGLE ASPECT.

He replies EVERY ASPECT OF IT, THAT
IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY,
AND YOUR DECISION.

Elwy continues YOUR PRODUCER IS ROBERT
ALDRICH'S SON, IS THAT CORRECT?
WE MET HIM THE OTHER DAY, AND
HE SAID IT WAS HIS SON'S
SOLO EFFORT, FIRST TIME.

He says THAT'S RIGHT.

He asks WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP
BETWEEN YOU AND THE
PRODUCER THEN, TED?

Ted answers I LIKE HAVING A PRODUCER ON A
FILM BECAUSE WHEN, FIRST OF
ALL ON YOUR BATTLE FRONT, YOU
NEED SOMEONE TO BE WORKING
BEHIND YOU ALL THE
TIME, OR AHEAD OF YOU.
AND ALSO, I OFTEN HAVE, I MAY
HAVE MANY IDEAS, AND I LIKE
TO USE A PRODUCER AS A KIND
OF SOUNDING BOARD AND SAY,
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS?
SOMETIMES EVEN WHEN YOU
ARTICULATE AN IDEA TO A
PRODUCER, YOU
KNOW IT'S NO GOOD.
SO IT NEEDS A KIND OF A
SYMPATHETIC RAPPROCHEMENT
BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE.
AND I FIND IT VERY USEFUL
TO HAVE SOMEONE TO
BOUNCE MY IDEAS OFF.

The clip goes back to Robert Aldrich.

Elwy asks HOW DO YOU SELECT A PROJECT?
WHAT TURNS YOU ON?

Robert answers WELL, I SUSPECT IT'S DIFFERENT
THINGS FOR DIFFERENT PEOPLE.
I'VE ALWAYS TRIED TO STAY
AS CLOSE AS I CAN
TO THE POLANSKY THEORY.
I THINK THE MAN'S STRUGGLE
FOR SELF-ESTEEM IS MORE EASY
TO DRAMATIZE.
MAN'S, I MEAN IT CAN
BE LADY'S, AS WELL.
BUT THE STRUGGLE FOR
SELF-ESTEEM, ONCE YOU HAVE
FALLEN FROM GRACE, IN YOUR OWN
OPINION, I THINK, AROUND THAT
CONCEPT CAN BE BUILT THE
MOST INTERESTING PICTURES.
IT'S NOT THAT I HAVE TO
PREVAIL OVER YOU, I HAVE TO
PREVAIL OVER MYSELF IS THE
MOST INTERESTING MATERIAL.
DOESN'T ALWAYS PROVE TO BE TRUE,
BUT THAT'S WHAT I LOOK FOR.

A black slate appears. It reads “Directing of looking for Mister Goodbar.”

Elwy appears in a garden. A man in his fifties sits across from him. He has short gray hair and is clean-shaven. He wears a dark shirt and light blue jeans. He smokes a pipe.
A caption below him reads “Richard Brooks, writer-director, looking for Mister Goodbar.”

Elwy asks HOW DID THE IDEA OF
MAKING A MOVIE OUT OF
LOOKING FOR MISTER GOODBAR,
THE CONCEPTUAL ASPECT,
HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?

Richard explains WELL, I BECAME ACQUAINTED WITH
A FELLOW WHO WAS JUST MOVING
OUT OF THE AGENCY BUSINESS
INTO THE MOVIE BUSINESS.
AND HE ASKED ME TO READ A COPY
OF THE BOOK BECAUSE A FEW
DIRECTORS HAD BEEN
APPROACHED, AND WRITERS.
ONE OF THE REASON, I GUESS,
THE STUDIO WANTED TO MAKE IT
WAS BECAUSE IT
WAS A BEST SELLER.
AND IF IT'S A BEST SELLER,
MAYBE IT'LL BE A BEST MOVIE.
I MEAN, IT'LL MAKE A LOT
OF MONEY OR SOMETHING.
AS LONG AS IT HAS TO DO
WITH PEOPLE GOING TO BED,
THERE'S A GOOD CHANCE
OF THAT KIND OF THING.
SO FOUR OR FIVE, OR I DON'T
KNOW HOW MANY OTHER DIRECTORS
HAD BEEN APPROACHED,
AND SOME HAD SAID YES,
AND THEN PULLED OUT, AND
SOME SAID NO TO BEGIN WITH.

He frowns and adds AND HE WANTED TO KNOW WHY A
BEST SELLER OF THIS KIND
WOULD BE TURNED DOWN.
SO I READ THE BOOK
AS A FAVOUR TO HIM.
MET WITH HIM.
AND DISCUSSED WITH HIM
WHAT I THOUGHT SOME OF
THE PROBLEMS WERE.
MOST OF THEM WERE STRUCTURAL.
DIFFICULT BOOK TO MAKE INTO
A MOVIE

He raises his brows and adds FROM THE STRUCTURAL
POINT OF VIEW.
AND I THOUGHT ALSO THAT THE
BOOK MIGHT BE RIPPED OFF BY
PARAMOUNT'S OWN TELEVISION
DEPARTMENT BEFORE THEY EVER
GOT STARTED WITH THAT, LET
ALONE ANY OTHER STUDIOS.
THEY WERE ALL READING THE
BOOK, AND WHOEVER READ THE
BOOK, THEY WOULD SAY,

He shakes his head and says EITHER
MOVIE COMPANIES OR OTHERS ARE
NOT DELICATE ABOUT MATTERS
OF JUST BORROWING MATERIAL
WHEREVER THEY CAN BORROW IT.
SO BY THE TIME YOU CAME OUT
WITH THIS IT WOULD BE OLD HAT.
HE SAID, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
HE CAME BACK ABOUT FIVE WEEKS
LATER AND SAYS, HEY, WOULD
YOU LIKE TO DO IT YOURSELF?
I SAID, OH, I'D HAVE
TO THINK ABOUT THAT.
I'D BEEN WANTING TO DO A STORY
ABOUT A CONTEMPORARY GIRL,
AND I THOUGHT, WELL,
MAYBE THIS MIGHT WORK.
I TALKED WITH THE PRODUCER,
MISTER FIELDS, AND WITH
MISTER
DILLER, WHO WAS JUST
COMING INTO THE STUDIO AROUND
THAT TIME, AND SAID I MIGHT
TAKE A SHOT AT THIS IF THE
PICTURE DIDN'T COST MORE THAN
THE MINIMUM AMOUNT OF MONEY
TO MAKE IT.
BECAUSE I THOUGHT THE
SUBJECT WAS A LITTLE DICEY.
HE SAID, WHAT ARE YOU TALKING
ABOUT WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT A
'MINIMUM' AMOUNT OF MONEY?
I SAID, WELL, I DON'T THINK
YOU CAN MAKE A PICTURE OF THIS
KIND IN UNDER 70 OR 80 OR 90
DAYS BECAUSE YOU ARE DEALING

He rubs his earlobe and explains WITH WHAT I WOULD CONSIDER TO
BE SOME VERY DELICATE MATTERS.
I'VE NEVER MADE A PORNO MOVIE.
I WOULDN'T MIND DEALING WITH
SEXUAL OR EROTIC IN A MOVIE.
EVEN THAT IS VERY DELICATE.
HOW DO YOU GO
ABOUT DOING THAT?
YOU JUST DON'T THROW A BANK OF
LIGHTS ON SOMEBODY AND SAY
“GO TO IT.”
YOU'VE GOT ACTORS AND
ACTRESSES WHO MAY BE SENSITIVE.
I DON'T KNOW WHO
THEY ARE GOING TO BE.
SO IF YOU ARE GOING TO
SHOOT FOR 70 OR 80 DAYS,
IT'S GOING TO COST YOU
ABOUT 2 OR 2.5 MILLION DOLLARS.
I BASED THAT FIGURE ON WHAT IT
HAD COST ME TO DO
IN COLD BLOOD
WHICH WAS 78 DAYS
OR SOMETHING.

Elwy comments I SEE.

He continues THEY SAID, WELL, HOW
CAN YOU DO THAT THEN?
I SAID THAT MEANS I CAN'T BE
PAID, THE PRODUCER CAN'T BE
PAID, AND ALL THE MONEY
HAS TO GO ON THE SCREEN.
IT ALSO MEANS YOU CAN'T HAVE
ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE
CASTING, HAVING A FINAL
CUT, OR ANYTHING ELSE.
BECAUSE IF I AM GOING TO
INVEST A COUPLE OF YEARS IN
MAKING A MOVIE, YOU CAN'T
SCREW AROUND WITH IT.
MISS KEATON, IS BY
NATURE, A VERY SHY GIRL.
EXTREMELY SHY.
AND LIKE MOST OF US, IN REAL
LIFE, HAS CONCERNS ABOUT HOW
SHE LOOKS AND WHETHER SHE'S
ACCEPTABLE, AND NOT THAT SHE
IS A FORLORN LADY, INSIDE
SHE'S MADE OF STAINLESS STEEL,
THIS GIRL, BUT SHE IS AN
INORDINATELY SHY GIRL.

He smiles and says WELL, MOST WOMEN THINK, WELL,
MY BOSOM IS NOT BIG ENOUGH,
OR MY THIGHS ARE TOO THIN,
SOMETHING IS, OF COURSE, THE
ADS, AND THAT'S WHAT PART
OF THE PICTURE IS ABOUT,
ADVERTISEMENTS AND MAGAZINES AND
TELEVISION ALL DO TO TRY TO
CREATE AN IMAGE ABOUT WHAT
YOU OUGHT TO LOOK LIKE.
HOW WHITE YOUR
TEETH OUGHT TO BE.
AND IF YOU DRIVE A CERTAIN
KIND OF CAR, VOLARE,
YOU'LL GET ALL THE BROADS.
AND SOMEHOW THE BEAUTIFUL
BLONDE WILL COME WITH A
CADILLAC, OR SOME OTHER
KIND OF CAR, A FORD,
I DON'T KNOW WHAT.
AND IF YOU HAVE A CERTAIN
PERFUME, 14 MEN WILL FAINT AS
YOU WALK BY.
AND SO ON AND
SO ON AND SO ON.
SO SHE BROUGHT UP THE SAME
WAY, HAS THIS PROBLEM IN THE
MOVIE, AS WELL.
SHE'S GOING TO HAVE TO PLAY
SOME EROTIC, SENSUAL SCENES.
AND I DIDN'T WANT TO
SHOOT A PORNO MOVIE.

He frowns and continues HOW DO YOU PHOTOGRAPH THIS?
AND HOW DO YOU GET TO SUCH AN
IDEA AS TO MAKE AN AUDIENCE,
IF THERE WILL BE AN AUDIENCE,
SIT IN THAT THEATRE

He points ahead and looks into the distance AS THOUGH
THEY WERE LOOKING OUT OF THEIR
ROOM ACROSS THE STREET IN ONE
LIGHTED WINDOW AND SOMETHING
WAS HAPPENING THERE.
SO IT WAS VERY
PERSONAL AND PRIVATE.

He frowns and asks AND WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY SEE?
WHEN YOU, YOURSELF, ARE ABOUT
TO HAVE THE PEEK OF YOUR LOVE
RELATIONSHIP WITH A MAN OR A
WOMAN OR A BEAST OR WHATEVER
IS YOUR PREFERENCE,
WHAT DO YOU REALLY SEE?
HOW MUCH OF THE MAN DOES
THE WOMAN ACTUALLY SEE?
ALL OF HIM?
A CHEEKBONE?
PART OF HIS NOSE?
HIS LIPS?
PART OF HIS ARM?
WITH A WOMAN, DO YOU
SEE THE ENTIRE WOMAN?
IS IT EVEN THE WOMAN THAT
YOU'RE WITH, OR IS IT
SOME OTHER WOMAN YOU
ARE THINKING OF.
ARE YOUR EYES OPEN OR CLOSED?
IS THE SEXUAL ASPECT
OF IT TACTILE?
IS IT IN YOUR MIND, HOW MUCH
OF IT IS EXCITING BECAUSE OF
WHAT YOU YOURSELF FEEL?
IS IT REALLY A SELFISH,
PERSONAL FEELING OR ARE YOU A
VOYEUR WHO IS TRYING
TO PLEASE THE PARTNER?
SO THESE ARE SUBJECTS
THAT WE DISCUSSED.
AND I HAD TO TELL THE
CAMERAMAN THAT THE IDEA WAS

He looks up and continues NOT WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF
LIGHT, I SAID, TO HELL WITH
THE SOURCE OF LIGHT.
LET'S GIVE THE ILLUSION HERE
OF WHAT IT IS THAT WE WANT
TO REALLY SHOW.
AND WHAT WE WANT TO
SHOW IS LESS, NOT MORE.
AND YET, THE AUDIENCE SHOULD
KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING.
AND IT SHOULD BE
A SENSE OF JOY.
THE SEXUAL ACT MAY BE
JOYOUS AND BEAUTIFUL.
WHY IS IT IN AMERICA EVERYTHING
IS SO TRAGIC ABOUT SEX?
IT'S EITHER RIDICULOUS
OR IT'S TRAGIC.
WELL, THAT'S NOT TRUE.
VERY OFTEN A SEXUAL ACT HAS
A SENSE OF HUMOUR TO IT.

He smiles and says IT'S FUNNY SOMETIMES, AND
IT'S AMUSING SOMETIMES,
AND IT'S BEAUTIFUL SOMETIMES.
AND THAT'S WHAT WE WERE
GOING TO TRY TO DO.
AND DIANE KEATON HAD
TO BE THE ONE TO DO IT.
AND I KNEW IT WAS
GOING TO TAKE TIME.
NOT ONLY IS THE SET CLOSED
NORMALLY, BUT THIS AREA HAD
TO BE CLOSED EVEN TO
MOST OF THE CREW.
SO THERE WAS A CAMERAMAN AND
MYSELF, SOMETIMES AN OPERATOR.
THERE WERE NO STILL PEOPLE
ALLOWED, THERE WERE NO PRESS
PEOPLE ALLOWED EVER, ANYWAY.
AND AS FAR AS A SCRIPT
SUPERVISOR WAS CONCERNED,
WE HAD TO TELL HIM AFTERWARDS
WHAT HAPPENED BECAUSE
SHE COULDN'T DO IT OTHERWISE.
SO THAT WAS ONE PROBLEM.
ANOTHER PROBLEM WAS WORKING
WITH DEAF CHILDREN.
WE PUT THAT OFF TO LAST
BECAUSE THESE ARE REALLY DEAF
CHILDREN THAT SHE TEACHES.
SHE TEACHES IN A
SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF.
WELL, HOW DO I KNOW HOW DEAF
CHILDREN ARE GOING TO REACT?

He smiles and adds OR WHETHER THEY
CAN PLAY A SCENE.
THEY'RE NOT ACTORS.
SO WE KNEW THAT WAS A PROBLEM.
FORTUNATELY, THE STUDIO WAS
VERY GOOD IN THIS RESPECT,
AND I DON'T LIKE TO REALLY SAY
NICE THINGS ABOUT STUDIOS,

Elwy laughs.

He continues BUT THEY STAYED AWAY FROM ME.
THEY LET ME ALONE.
THEY DIDN'T BOTHER ME.
THEY DIDN'T SEE THE DAILIES.
THEY DIDN'T BOTHER
WITH THE SCRIPT.
THEY DIDN'T BOTHER ME.
AND THEY HAVE BEEN QUITE
HONOURABLE AND DECENT ABOUT
OUR CONTRACT, WHICH
WAS, LET ME ALONE.

He nods and says AND THEY DID.
AND WE FINISHED THE PICTURE.
AND THEY LET ME ALONE.
AND THAT WAS ALSO A PROBLEM
OF WHETHER OR NOT THEY WERE
GOING TO LET ME ALONE.
EVENTUALLY THEY HAD TO SEE IT.
WELL, EVENTUALLY THEY
HAD A RIGHT TO SEE IT.

He chuckles and continues SO I HAD TO SHOW IT TO THEM
EVENTUALLY, WHICH WAS PAINFUL.
I MEAN, PAINFUL
FOR ME TO DO THAT.
BUT TURNED OUT TO
BE PRETTY GOOD.

The clip shows Stanley. He says I WOULD SAY, GENERALLY
SPEAKING, THE RELATIONSHIP
WITH THE ACTOR IS A MOST
IMPORTANT, ONCE THE MATERIAL
IDEA, THE STORY, THE SCREENPLAY
IS OUT OF THE WAY.
BECAUSE WORKING WITH THE ACTOR
TO CREATE IN LITTLE SECTIONS
OUT OF CONTINUITY, WITHOUT THE
FULL RANGE TO GIVE A TOTAL
PERFORMANCE IN EACH SCENE,
TAKES A GOOD DEAL OF
UNDERSTANDING AND SYMPATHY.
THE ACTOR, SOMETIMES THE
ACTORS FOR WHOM, WITH ME,
THE SPOKEN WORD, THE NEED, THE
NECESSITY TO DEPEND UPON THE
ACTOR HAS BEEN VERY GREAT,
INORDINATELY GREAT.
THEREFORE, MY SIMPATICO FOR
THE ACTOR IS VERY GREAT.
I HAVE, FOR A MAN LIKE OSCAR
WERNER, REVERSED AN ENTIRE
SET, REDRESSED IT BECAUSE HE
WANTED TO PLAY IT TO THE RIGHT
INSTEAD OF TO THE LEFT.

Elwy comments IN
THE SHIP OF FOOLS.

He answers THAT'S RIGHT.
BECAUSE MY RESPECT
FOR HIM IS SO GREAT.
I THINK FOR SPENCER TRACY I
WOULD HAVE SWITCHED STUDIOS.
I WOULD HAVE DONE ANYTHING.
BECAUSE THEY HAD, THEY HAD THE
ELECTRICITY AT THE END OF THE
WAND, OR THROUGH THEIR SILVER
TONES, SOMETIMES PEAR SHAPED,
BUT THROUGH THEIR SILVER
TONES, THEY'VE SAID WHAT
I WANTED TO SAY.
VERY IMPORTANTLY.
NO ONE COULD SAY THINGS
AS TRACY SAID THEM.
HE LOOKED FOR GOD TOO
HIGH UP AND TOO FAR AWAY.
OR THIS IS WHAT WE BELIEVE IN
TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND THE VALUE
OF A SINGLE HUMAN BEING.
NOW, THE ACTOR AND HIS
RELATIONSHIP TO ME IS VERY
IMPORTANT, THEREFORE.
AND I FEEL THAT THOUGH HE
HAS BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR MY
GREATEST AGONY, CERTAIN ACTORS
HAVE GIVEN ME MORE NIGHTS OF
SLEEPLESSNESS THAN ANY OTHER
PEOPLE OR GROUP OF PEOPLES
IN THE WORLD.
BUT I'M DEPENDENT UPON THEM.
I MUST LOVE THEM.
I LOVE THEM FOR WHAT THEY CAN
BE AND MUST BE, RATHER THAN,
IN EACH INSTANCE,
FOR WHAT THEY ARE.
BUT THAT'S MY OPINION.

The end credits roll.

Talking Film.

Hosted by Elwy Yost.

Producer, Bruce Pittman.

Production assistant, Judy Kelly.

Executive Producer, Elwy Yost.

A logo appears. It reads “A production TVO Ontario.”

Watch: The Business of Directing