When the Right Movie Gets the Wrong Director


Think back with me for a moment.

When it came time to do the film version of the frothy stage hit Annie way back in 1982, some Hollywood genius actually had the brain-cell deficiency to say out loud:

“I know! We’ll get John Huston to direct it!

“You know, the man who did The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and The African Queen?

“He’ll be perfect!”

Oh, really?

Huston, who specialized in dark dramas of human desperation, was the go-to man for a musical about a lovable moppet with freckles and a big dog?

As anyone sensible would expect, Huston gave Annie a little too much of a hard-knock life, and the movie, though noble, didn’t fizz.

I’m guessing that someone who could do pathos and froth — let’s say Blake Edwards — would have been a way better choice.

Similarly, when the unfilmable A Chorus Line was finally going to be adapted in ’85, what overpaid Einstein felt it would be a spectacular idea to hire Sir Richard Attenborough, the bloke who had done the long and dour historical epic Gandhi?

I mean, some doof actually cashed his paycheck while saying, “Sir Richard is the perfect one to make the ultimate Broadway-queen musical sparkle on screen”?

I’m all for stretching, but if the only range you have is in the kitchen, you should stick to what you know and leave the musicals to the gays.