Monday, September 27, 2010

Light work loads

Today is the 88th birthday of director Arthur Penn (still alive, according to IMDb). If you don't recognize the name, you at least will recognize some of the movies: Penn directed The Miracle Worker and Bonnie and Clyde, which earned him two of his three Oscar nominations. However, he only directed about 15 feature movies over a 35-year period.

This is a pretty big contrast from the studio era. Somebody like Mervyn LeRoy, under contract at Warners, would make that many movies in the 1940s alone, never mind what he did during the 1930s. Even later in his career, when he was less active, LeRoy made something like 20 movies in the last two decades of his career.

It's not just being under contract to one studio, either; Alfred Hitchcock worked at a whole bunch of studios after coming to Hollywood and still made about two dozen movies during the most productive 20 years of his career, from Rebecca in 1940 to Psycho in 1960.

And to be honest, it's not just the death of the studio system. Woody Allen has been churning out roughly one movie every year, even now that he's over 70. Not that I personally like all of them, although that's in part because I'm not much of a Woody Allen fan. But the movies are still good enough to earn the actors award nominations.

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