Directed by Florence Strauss • Documentary • 2020 • 56 minutes
Episode 4: The American Way
“The American Way” refers to studio production, in which producers don’t need to constantly search for financing—and directors don’t necessarily get the final cut, as enshrined in French law.
By the 1960s, France represented an increasingly important film market, and American studios wanted in. Jacques-Éric Strauss’s introduction to production came when Fox studio head Daryl Zanuck threw the script for The Sicilian Clan on the floor and told him it was the worst thing he’d ever read. (He financed it anyway.) Some French companies also adopted American vertical integration methods: producing and distributing, while also running labs and cinemas. It was a recipe for corporate success that sometimes put creative producers and corporate bigwigs at odds.
Films spotlighted in this episode:
Belle de Jour (1967) / Robert and Raymond Hakim / dir. Luis Buñuel
The Sicilian Clan (1969) / Jacques-Éric Strauss / dir. Henri Verneuil
Crooks in Clover (1963) / Alain Poiré / dir. Georges Lautner