NME looks back at the films Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, Woody Allen and more tried to forget
American History X: When this neo-Nazi drama starring Edward Norton opened in 2008 to rave reviews, director Tony Kaye had already disowned it because he disapproved of its heavily-edited final cut, commissioned by distributors New Line. Kaye even tried to have his name removed from the credits, suggesting instead that the film’s direction could be attributed to “Humpty Dumpty”.
Alien 3: David Fincher has directed modern classics including The Social Network, Fight Club and Gone Girl, but clashed constantly with 20th Century Fox while making this disappointing sci-fi sequel. “No-one hated it more than me; to this day, no-one hates it more than me,” he said in 2009.
The Underneath: In 1995 Steven Soderbergh reunited with Sex, Lies And Videotape actor Peter Gallagher for this almost completely forgotten remake of a classic 1949 film noir, but their second collaboration failed to match the success of the first. The director has since admitted his “heart wasn’t in it” and branded the movie “kind of a mess” and “dead on arrival”.
Fear And Desire: This 1953 anti-war drama was the first-ever feature film directed by the legendary Stanley Kubrick. It remains one of his most obscure movies, partly because Kubrick himself spoke so scathingly about it. Specifically, he branded Fear And Desire “a completely inept oddity” that reminded him of “a child’s drawing on a fridge”.
Woman Wanted: Kiefer Sutherland was so unhappy with his 1999 directorial effort that he asked for it to be credited to “Alan Smithee”, a pseudonym that had been used since 1968 by Hollywood directors wishing to disown their films. Coincidentally, the infamous pseudonym was discontinued shortly after Woman Wanted‘s release, making it the last ever “Alan Smithee” movie.
Hannah And Her Sisters: Though this 1986 comedy is acknowledged as one of Woody Allen’s finest films, even winning him an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, the writer-director isn’t quite so keen on it himself. “Hannah And Her Sisters is a film I feel I screwed up very badly,” he admitted later, pinpointing the film’s reasonably upbeat ending as “the part that killed me”.
Dune: David Lynch agreed to direct this ill-fated adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sprawling sci-fi novel so he could have complete creative control over his next project, 1986’s classic Blue Velvet. Following what he felt was excessive studio interference, he distanced himself from Dune before release and later asked to have his name taken off certain edits of the film.
Batman & Robin: George Clooney recently apologised for this 1997 catastrophe and director Joel Schumacher has spoken ruefully about it too, admitting he feels envious of Christopher Nolan’s grittier, more realistic Batman films. “I wanted to make The Dark Knight desperately,” Schumacher said in 2011, “but the studio didn’t want that and it’s their money and they’re my bosses.”
Accidental Love: David O. Russell started shooting this botched comedy in 2008 before he made The Fighter, but quit the project two years later after constant budget problems delayed production. Accidental Love finally came out in February 2015 having been disowned by Russell, who asked for its direction to be credited to the pseudonym “Stephen Greene”.
Fantastic Four: Director Josh Trank appeared to wash his hands of this summer’s most epic flop shortly before it came out. “A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would’ve received great reviews. You’ll probably never see it. That’s reality though,” he tweeted, seemingly confirming rumours that he and 20th Century Fox failed to see eye-to-eye during shooting.