• The name you're thinking of is Alan Smithee. The name was first used in 1967 as a unique pseudonym directors could use when the final cut of a film differed significantly with their vision. The IMDB lists some 60 or so films directed by the fictional Mr Smithee. There are actually strict rules about the usage of the name. The director has to get permission from the Director's Guild of America to use the name, and only then if the final version of the film has been re-cut (ie. by the film studio) and bears little resemblance to the director's version. Directors cannot use the name simply because they are unsatisfied with their own work. The oft-stated rumour that the name came about as an anagram of "the alias men" is not true. The name was chosen simply because of its uniqueness. After the release of the 1997 Eric Idle movie "An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn", which featured Idle as a luckless director cursed with the name Alan Smithee (oh, how we laughed), the Director's Guild decided to discontinue using the name. The Guild now chooses a name for each film on a case-by-case basis. One of the first post-Smithee movies to bear a pseudonym was the film "Supernova" (2000), actually directed by Walter Hill but carrying the name "Thomas Lee". Having said that there have been a number of Alan Smithee movies since 1997, so it looks as if the guy is going to be a regular feature of the movie marquee for some time yet.

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