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Auteurs & The Art Of Moviemaking

June 07, 1987

Woody Allen did not acquire and dub "What's Up, Tiger Lily." With my money, I acquired the Japanese film from Toho and employed Woody and many others to make it into the comedy classic it is.

The word employed is very important to the colorization issue. I am bored to tears with the self-appointed "auteurs" who claim "creation" of a motion picture. We producers "employ" people to write, direct, photograph, act, edit, costume, make-up, create scenery, process, dub, etc. Each signs an agreement that has a clause that says that the results of his/her effort are the "sole and exclusive" property of the employer. If these "auteurs" don't like that clause, then don't take the money. In my 40 years in the business, I never saw anyone pass up the money.

Picasso put all the brush strokes on his canvas, Hemingway put all the words on his pages; but De Mille did not part the Red Sea (good animation effects guys did) and George Cukor did not burn Atlanta (some good pyro guys did).

A movie is not any one person's "work of art." From conception, it is a patchwork quilt of modifications. Ask a writer about changed pages, an editor about unused footage, a mixer about balancing sound tracks, a dubber about different languages from the original voice track, and the inevitable theatrical version versus the TV version.

From "The Great Train Robbery" to "Star Wars," the sole goal of making a movie was to give an audience a few hours of relaxation and fanciful escape from an outside tough world. And whatever changes it takes, be it talkies, wide-screen, stereo sound, 3-D or colorization, we will do.

When you crying hypocrites sweat out the financing, the horrors of getting a day's work for a day's wages out of you, the agony of distributing, the abuses of the exhibitors, the demeaning of the critics, then maybe you can say something. Until then, shut up.

HENRY G. SAPERSTEIN, President

UPA Productions of America

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