Published On: Thu, May 12th, 2011

They can’t all be gems! The first films of great directors – Mike’s Behind the Screen

There are a lot of acclaimed directors working today that weren’t always praised for their talents. They’ve had to struggle with such problems as budgets, casting and a good screenplay before they, as they say in The Godfather, “made their bones.” Which is probably a good thing. Orson Welles was only 26 when his first directorial effort, “Citizen Kane,” was released. Unfortunately, when your freshman effort is widely regarded as the greatest film ever made, there’s really no where to go but down. Even such outstanding films as “The Magnificent Ambersons” and “Touch of Evil” almost pale in comparison to “Kane.” Of course, this is often the case in most mediums. Everything Michael Jackson did after 1983 was compared to “Thriller.” Jerry Seinfeld will probably never do another television comedy because he knows it will be compared to “Seinfeld.”

That being acknowledged, let’s look at the first films of directors who went on to win at least one Academy Award for directing:

“The Bellboy and the Playgirls” (1962)
Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
What the critics said: No review available

Oscar history: One of the first “adult” comedies, the film was sold with the tagline “June is Busting Out All Over,” referring to star June Wilkinson and her three dimensional breasts. To date Coppola has earned 14 Academy Award nominations and has won (5) Oscars, including one for directing “The Godfather Part II.”

“Who’s That Knocking At My Door” (1967)
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
What the critics said: Roger Ebert wrote, “As a film, it has something to say to everyone. As a technical achievement, it brings together two opposing worlds of American cinema.”

Oscar history: Scorsese has received 8 Oscar nominations and won the Best Director Award for “The Departed.”

“Grand Theft Auto” (1977)
Directed by: Ron Howard
What the critics said: Variety called it “a non-stop orgy of comic destructiveness”

Oscar history: Like many young directors, Howard got his start working for producer Roger Corman. Since his directing debut he has been nominated 4 times for an Academy Award, winning (2), including Best Director for “A Beautiful Mind.”

“Piranha II: The Spawning” (1981)
Directed by: James Cameron
What the critics said: DVD Movie Guide asked, “What is there to say about Piranha II? The movie is almost impossibly bad.”

Oscar history: The current “King of the World” has received (6) nominations and won (3), including Best Director for “Titanic.”

“Shallow Grave” (1994)
Directed by: Danny Boyle
What the critics said: From the Washington Post, “Boyle, who has an impressive reputation for his work on British television, has a lithe, energetic style, and he keeps the picture moving at a brisk clip.”

Oscar history: Boyle has (3) nominations to his credit and a win as Best Director for “Slumdog Millionaire.”

“The Sugarland Express” (1974)
Director: Steven Spielberg
What the critics said: From Roger Ebert, “If the movie finally doesn’t succeed, that’s because Spielberg has paid too much attention to all those police cars (and all the crashes they get into), and not enough to the personalities of his characters.”

Oscar history: The most influential filmmaker of our time (o.k., I may be a little bit biased) has received 12 Oscar nominations so far in his career. He has won (3), including Best Director Oscars for “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan.”

“Today and Tomorrow” (1912)
Director: Michael Curtiz
What the critics said: I don’t think there were film critics in 1912.

Oscar history: Curtiz directed an incredible 173 films in his career, earning (5) Academy Award nominations and winning the Best Director Oscar for “Casablanca.”

“Joe” (1969)
Director: John G. Avildsen
What the critics said: According to the Cleveland Press, “It is a movie that falls easily into the purely exploitative, commercial type scenes.”

Oscar history: (2) Academy Award nominations. Won Best Director for “ROCKY.”

“Mademoiselle Fifi” (1944)
Director: Robert Wise
What the critics said: “…a competent yet decidedly uninspired war-time allegory.”

Oscar history: (7) nominations and (4) wins, including Best Director Oscars for “West Side Story” (shared with Jerome Robbins) and “The Sound of Music.”

“Seizure” (1974)
Director: Oliver Stone
What the critics said: “Unfortunately, “Seizure” is a product of its time, and a victim of its first-time director’s inexperience.”

Oscar history: So far in his career Stone has received (11) nominations, winning (3) Oscars, including Best Director for “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July.”

Get all of your movie news, reviews, and awesome interviews at MovieMikes.com: http://moviemikes.com

See the article here: http://moviemikes.com/2011/03/mikes-behind-the-screen-they-cant-all-be-gems-the-first-films-of-great-directors-mikes-behind-the-screen-they-cant-all-be-gems-the-first-films-of-great-directors/

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