The other day Page Six reported that the Alec Baldwin‘s long-lost directorial debut "The Devil and Daniel Webster," a Stephen Vincent BenÃ©t update and adaptation which was originally shot in 2001, has not only been recut and retitled "Shortcut to Happiness" for its release tomorrow but will be billed as the pseudonymous work of one Harry Kirkpatrick. The film, which stars Jennifer Love Hewitt as we’ve always wanted to see her â€” as Satan â€” was mired in legal issues for years, and has acquired the mythology of an epic disaster of a flick. As it’s opening in Las Vegas, Rochester, Fort Myers, Columbus, Albuquerque and Santa Fe, it won’t be reviewed by most major critics. (There’s a trailer here.) Alas. Xan Brooks at the Guardian‘s Film Blog is prompted by the Kirkpatrick news to reflect on the retirement of Alan Smithee, the now infamous pseudonym of choice for those who’d rather not put their own name on a film: "These days I like to picture Smithee on a golf course somewhere,
resplendent in sun visor and roll-neck as he lines up for a putt and
reminisces about the good old days."
Brooks also wonders if Kirkpatrick will replace Smithee. Forgive us, but we believe that Thomas Lee was the DGA-blessed Smithee alternative that was settled on after Walter Hill‘s name was removed from 2000 flop "Supernova" (a film that was finished up by Francis Ford Coppola in a re-edit). We’re pulling for Tommy â€” he’s got the double e’s that made Smithee so appealing, but is less aggressively Anglo, reminding us that all peoples, whether their drive be ego, artistic sensibility or economics, are able to wage war against a major motion picture studio.
In honor of messieurs Kirkpatrick, Smithee and Lee, some quick kitsch:
More than a decade later, [the films’ original writers] actually tried to get a third "Bill & Ted" feature made, with the idea of checking in with the guys as middle-aged men. Actors Keanu Reeves (Ted "Theodore" Logan) and Alex Winter (Bill S. Preston, Esq.), now both in their 40s, were reportedly game until Reeves’ manager advised his client, by then a major movie star (although still on-screen climbing in and out of phone booths), against revisiting the material.
And Emily Dugan at the Independent reports that a new book on Clark Gable contains details on how Marilyn Monroe was dirrty. Literally. The author, David Bret, claims that "She could not have been less fastidious regarding her personal hygiene. Like Jean Harlow, she bleached all her pubic hair and never wore panties… she suffered from what today would be described as irritable bowel syndrome."
+ ‘DEVIL’ RELEASE HELL FOR ALEC (NY Post)
+ Is Harry Kirkpatrick the new Alan Smithee? (Guardian Film Blog)
+ Heaven on Wheels, and in Leg Warmers (NY Times)
+ Bill and Ted adapt to 2007 (LA Times)
+ Danger Diabolik (Trailers From Hell)
+ Glamorous, gorgeous, flatulent – the secret history of Marilyn Monroe (Independent)