Film buffs love to talk about people who didn’t direct enough (top of the list: Charles Laughton and Jean Vigo, of course) or people who should never have directed (I’m not naming names, but take your pick, and make sure your pick includes Eric Schaeffer).
The late Platt was ostensibly a costume and production designer, but she obviously had a huge influence on the magnificent films she collaborated on with her once-husband Peter Bogdanovich (Targets, The Last Picture Show, What’s Up, Doc, Paper Moon), who was never quite the same director after he left her. Her later work as a producer (Say Anything, Broadcast News, Bottle Rocket, etc.) confirmed her talent, taste, and abilities. Did she ever want to direct? I don’t know. But she should have.
In Thalberg’s case, directing was probably too beneath him. This was, after all, the man who practically defined the uber-powerful producer in classic Hollywood, even though he rarely ever took a credit on the films he produced. Just take a gander: The Crowd, Anna Christie, Greed (which he butchered, alas), Red Dust, Mutiny on the Bounty, A Night at the Opera…really, it just goes on. He did reportedly direct parts of Von Stroheim’s ill-fated Queen Christina…but really, who didn’t?
Simply based on the sheer number of critics-become-directors he inspired (Godard, Truffaut, Chabrol, Rohmer, Rivette, etc. etc.), Andre Bazin would at the very least given us something to talk about, had he had a chance behind the camera. But alas, he died in 1958, at the age of 40 – before he got to see the cinematic revolution that his protégés enacted in his name.
|He got into filmmaking the old fashioned way. He eeeaarrned it.|