After hearing Steel's comments, Manning said: "I think that's fair. I was out there pretty much on my own. In retrospect, I do think the critics were more tough on me than they had to be. I'm not a war criminal. I don't think many directors' first films are perfect. Maybe the timing wasn't right. There was a lot of 'brat-pack' backlash." "Blue City" starred "brat-packers" Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy.
Manning also discovered one of the drawbacks of being a woman director. "You're under a microscope. You suddenly become a media event for no good reason."
However, the experience hasn't discouraged her. "You have to be optimistic or you won't make it through the chutes," she says. Manning has a production deal at Paramount as a producer and is developing projects elsewhere as a director.
So far, the poor reception of her film has had no visible impact on other women directors. But because "Blue City" was an action-adventure, its failure could reinforce the already strongly held view that action films should be left to men.
Next : Do men and women make different kinds of movies?