Poltergeist directed by Spielberg and other possible "miscredits".

I’ve always been partial to the rumor, especially after I see the film, that Poltergeist was largely directed by Steven Spielberg because he was unhappy with Tobe Hooper’s efforts… but he didn’t want the credit 'cause it could have (for whatever reason) a detrimental effect on ET’s earnings. Or something like that. Now I’m sure that there are some DGA rules against such a thing, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be circumvented for one reason or another.

Anyway, whenever I see Poltergeist I’m always left thinking “Damned if it doesn’t look and sound like a Spielberg film, circa 1981.” Anybody else think that, or is it just me?

And yes, if you actually have a cite that can prove/dispel this suspicion, please bring it out. Spoilsports. :stuck_out_tongue: :wink:

Since we’re at it, any other “miscastings” that y’all can think of?

Obscure I know, and how much she directed is questioned, but all agree that Ida Lupino directed at least some of On Dangerous Ground due to Nicholas Ray being ill, and has no co director credit.

The original version of The Thing (from another world) is officially credited to Christian Nyby, Howard Hawks’ cinematographer on many films. Persistent rumor is that Hawks actually directed The Thing, which features many of his touches. But did he, or did Nyby imbibe them so well he reproduced them? Most people seem to properly credit Hawks, but my feeling is to give Nyby the benefit of a doubt.
When poltergeist came out, some critics went so far as to say that Spielberg “nyby’ed” Hooper, without explaining further. The story’s that well-known.

Spielberg wrote the script and did all the editing for Poltergeist, so it’s not at all surprising that the final product would have his fingerprints all over it even if he didn’t actually direct the on-set action.

Gone with the Wind went through several directors’ hands, even during actual production, didn’t it? I forget if the actual director (or whoever did the lion’s share, or handled the most iconic scenes) ended up getting the proper credit.

The original, generall awful Casino Royale from 1967 had several directors, IIRC.
Dan O’Bannon claims he directed some of the scenes of Dark Star (in which he played Pinback), although John Carpenter denies this.

The flip side to Spielburg on Poltergeist is The Lost World. I’ve read that though he was credited Spielburg only did the bare minimum necessary handing off most of the work to the cinematographer.

Victor Flemming got the credit but George Cukor and Sam Wood directed chunks of it.

I seem to remember an interview with Linda Blair in Fangoria magazine where she stated that John Boorman didn’t direct a lot of scenes in the Exorcist II, but handed them off to a production assistant.

I’ve heard it suggseted that Steven Soderbergh directed parts of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind instead of George Clooney. I don’t know of any evidence, just remarks from people who think the thing looked to accomplished or Soderbergh-esque to be the work of a first-time director.

Scroll down a little bit past the halfway mark. Not definitive, but highly suggestive.

In an interview in “Starlog,” (back in '82 to coincide with the release of the Carpenter/Russell version) lead actor Kenneth UH-I-Forget-His-Name-DAMMIT, said something like, “Nyby may have directed us coming through a door in one shot, at most. Hawks directed that film.”

Sir Rhosis

I remember reading that Spielberg also storyboarded every scene and didn’t allow Hooper to do anything that hadn’t already been laid out, even as far as camera angles.

In Night of the Hunter, Charles Laughton couldn’t stand working with the two kids so Robert Mitchum “directed” their performances. Laughton was responsible for the camera set-ups, etc. so I’m not sure if this counts.