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A weekly show where we debunk common misconceptions. This week, Elliott discusses some misconceptions about famous film directors!
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 Introduction


 
Hi, I'm Elliott. This is Mental_Floss Video. Today, I'm going to talk about some misconceptions about film directors. I'll be in my trailer.
 
[intro]
 

 Misconceptions


 
Misconception Number One: Tim Burton wrote and directed The Nightmare Before Christmas.
 
So, it's easy to be confused about this one, especially since it was promoted as "Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas". But it was actually written by a woman named Caroline Thompson, and Henry Selick directed it. Tim Burton was a producer. Of course, die hard fans will point out that Burton was extremely involved in the creation of the film. He came up with the story and designed many of the characters. Then, he went and made Batman Returns, and let his friend Selick take the lead on Nightmare Before Christmas.
 
 
Misconception Number Two: Steven Spielberg directed Poltergeist.
 
This is one of those fun Hollywood legends that we may never really know the truth about. Tobe Hooper was technically the director of Poltergeist, while Spielberg gets writer and producer credits, but an L.A. Times writer visited the set of the film and wrote that it seemed like Spielberg was directing, not Hooper. A few actors in the movie have made similar claims. Later Hooper explained the situation to a different reporter. He said, quote, "When we were shooting the practical location on the house, the first two weeks of filming were exterior, so I had second-unit shots that had to be picked up in the front of the house. I was in the back of the house shooting Robbie and the tree, looking down at the burial of the little tweety bird, so Steven was picking those shots up for me. The L.A. Times arrived on the set and printed something like, 'We don't know who's directing the picture.'" We'll probably never know for sure who was in charge on-set, but both Spielberg and Hooper have claimed that Hooper was the true director of the film.
 
 
Misconception Number Three: Spielberg got his first job in Hollywood by just showing up at Universal Studios.
 
This is one of the rare misconceptions that was started by the person who the misconception is about. In a handful of interviews between the 60s and 80s, Spielberg claimed that, when he was younger, he would put on a suit, sneak into Universal Studios, and visit sets or just take over empty offices to make it seem like he worked there, but many other people, who remembered Spielberg's early days at Universal, have explained that Spielberg's dad helped him get into Universal Studios, where he was eventually given a job answering phones. It's all who you know, guys.
 
 
Misconception Number Four: Alfred Hitchcock wrote many of his films.
 
Hitchcock is often called an auteur, so many people assume that he wrote all of his movies in addition to directing them, but he actually relied on screenwriters to help him get ideas on the page. Hitchcock once claimed, "The writer and I plan out the entire script down to the smallest detail, and when we're finished, all that's left to do is to shoot the film". Many of his writers would probably disagree with that statement, though. Hitchcock experts have determined that he was more of a supervisor, and an overbearing one, but he was not doing the actual screenwriting.
 
 
Misconception Number Five: Hitchcock had the crew use cold water while filming the shower scene in Psycho.
 
So, there's a myth that Hitchcock insisted the shower spray cold water so that Janet Leigh's screams would be more genuine, but this has been debunked by Leigh herself, who said it was always warm water. And for a bonus misconception about this scene, some say that one of Hitchcock's frequent collaborators Saul Bass actually directed the scene, but that is not true either, so stop lying about Psycho, you guys. 
 
 
Misconception Number Six: Stanley Kubrick was murdered.
 
So, Kubrick showed a cut of his final film Eyes Wide Shut a mere few days before he died, and some conspiracy theorists claim that he was murdered because the film exposed the secrets of a Satanic cult or the Illuminati. Then, Warner Brothers Studios edited out the more incriminating stuff and released the movie, but many people close to Kubrick, including his daughter and brother-in-law, say that the released version was the correct one, and Kubrick was satisfied with the end result. As for his death, he was not murdered. He had a heart attack.
 
 
Misconception Number Seven: Kubrick faked the moon landing.
 
There's a persistent conspiracy theory that Kubrick helped the U.S. government fake the Apollo 11 moon landing. His film 2001: A Space Odyssey proved that he could do the special effects, and theorists claimed the space references in The Shining are Kubrick's way of confessing, but there's tons of proof that the moon landing really happened, including some reflectors that were left on the moon.
 
 
Misconception Number Eight: Orson Welles had trouble finding work, so he had to finance his own movies.
 
Welles did finance a few of his own projects, including Othello and The Deep, but this wasn't because he couldn't find work. After he made The Stranger for a production company and didn't love the end result, he wanted to make movies that he had complete control over. This led to him turning down a lot of directing jobs, including the Popeye film.
 
 
Misconception Number Nine: Charlie Chaplin was a communist.
 
Like many Hollywood stars, Chaplin was accused of being a communist in the 50s. It didn't exactly help that he'd made the film The Great Dictator, a satire about Adolf Hitler, but Chaplin said many times over the course of his life that he was not a communist. He even made the joke that he was too rich to want that. That's a pretty funny joke. 
 
 
Misconception Number Ten: David O. Russell and George Clooney have a feud.
 
This is another Hollywood legend, so we don't know for sure what went down and how they feel about it now, but we're going to talk about it because feuds are fun! So director David O. Russell is notoriously difficult and has gotten into fights with many of his lead actors. One example was George Clooney, who has called working on Three Kings with O. Russell the worst experience of his life, and the two got into a major disagreement on-set that almost escalated into a fistfight. Clooney says that the two have buried the hatchet, though. He has said, "We made a really, really great film, and we had a really rough time together, but it's a case of both of us getting older. I really do appreciate the work he continues to do, and I think he appreciates what I'm trying to do". Isn't that sweet? It's really sweet.
 
 
 

 Outro


 
Thank you for watching Misconceptions on Mental_Floss Video. If you have a topic for an upcoming Misconceptions episode that you would like to see, leave it in the comments, and I'll see you next week. Bye.