10 Great Movies With Horribly Difficult Productions
While the Covid-19 pandemic has certainly caused many delays in the film industry, struggling productions are nothing new and truly nightmarish shoots date back to the early days of cinema.
When a movie has a lot of trouble on set, many watchers’ first instinct is to predict it’s going to fall apart, but many of the best movies of all time have had a rocky road to get there. the screen. These films were plagued with budget overruns, clashing egos and even fatal accidents, but still succeeded against all odds.
Jaws may have made Steven Spielberg a household name and created the modern summer blockbuster, but its production was enough to give the young director nightmares. Ironically, for a film based on a book, production began without a finished script, leaving writer Carl Gottlieb to shoot scenes the day before filming.
Many of the most serious problems occurred while filming in open water, with shark props often malfunctioning and the boat sinking at one point with the actors on board. All of this delayed the film by over 100 days and more than double the original budget, meaning Paramount breathed a sigh of relief when the film was a monster hit.
Star Wars (1977)
George Lucas’ science-fantasy tale may have spawned a smash hit franchise enjoyed by legions of fans, but there was a long list of things that went wrong during filming. star wars, From the very beginning. From the heat of the Tunisian desert to actors who do not understand the material, star wars was a nightmarish shoot that kept Lucas away from directing for the better part of two decades.
The editing was also a major headache, with the first cut being such a disaster that a new team of editors (including Marcia, George’s then-wife) were brought in to dramatically restructure much of the film into something watchable. Fortunately, star wars became the biggest hit of the ’70s, but Lucas can be forgiven for handing the reins of the next two movies to other directors.
Ben Hur (1959)
The larger the film, the more potential for trouble, and William Wyler’s religious epic, Benhur, was not immune to this principle. This included budget overruns, making it the most expensive film ever produced at the time at over $15 million, and the pace of filming was so slow that many cast and crew needed injections of vitamins just to get through the day.
To make matters worse, producer Sam Zimbalist suddenly died during production, forcing Wyler to take over as de facto co-producer. It is a miracle that, despite countless obstacles Ben Hur faced with the finish, it still has the grandeur that old-school Hollywood epics are known for.
Proving that it’s not just epic movies that have to deal with mountains of problems, Caddyshack is a comedy classic that apparently wasn’t fun to work on. It’s telling that although the film was a commercial success and only got more love over time, director Harold Ramis still viewed it poorly.
A hurricane on set was bad enough, but a lot of the trouble came from the cast, with Chevy Chase and Ted Knight, in particular, having trouble getting along with anyone. It was a pleasant surprise for everyone involved that Chase and Bill Murray, notoriously at odds over SNLwere professional enough to run their scene.
The Blues Brothers (1980)
At $27.5 million, The Blues Brothers was one of the most expensive comedies of its time, and knowing about its many issues could change the way one looks at it. Dan Aykroyd proved his inexperience as a screenwriter when he penned a first draft of over 300 pages, and John Belushi’s drug use was allegedly so bad he often showed up late after a nighttime binge.
Universal Pictures was also worried about the skyrocketing budget and hoped to save money by replacing the film’s black R&B and soul performers with younger, hipper performers. Fortunately, director John Landis fought to keep them, and the music is one of the reasons. The Blues Brothers is often considered one of the best SNL– related movies.
By the time James Cameron embarked on his romantic seafaring drama, he was well acquainted with shooting hell, but The Titanic is probably the one where everything went wrong in the worst way. Cameron’s allegedly controlling behavior was among the worst, leading to him keeping the cast in cold water for hours and verbally insulting crew members for the smallest mistakes.
Also as Jaws the film industry has shown, films shot at sea tend to be incredibly expensive, and of course, Cameron’s meticulous attention to detail soon caused the film’s budget to be exceeded. It’s a good thing the movie was the highest-grossing of its time, because its $200 million budget also made it the most expensive.
The Bridge Over the River Kwai (1957)
As a purveyor of grand and lush historical epics, David Lean was often at the helm of troubled productions, with The Bridge over the River Kwai set the trend. Lean was frequently at odds with actors, especially Alec Guinness, with the two men completely at odds over how Colonel Nicholson should be played.
The Bridge over the River Kwai also had to deal with political turmoil, such as screenwriters Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson uncredited due to the Hollywood blacklist and Suez crisis, meaning any equipment that would normally have been transported by water had to go through the air. Luckily, the film was a big hit, and the difficulty of producing the film arguably adds to its sheer magnitude.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
While The Wizard of Oz is a beloved film that appeals to all ages, the production was anything but kid-friendly. Each day of filming was long and arduous, with calls at 4 a.m. and often continuing into the night, and young Judy Garland, in particular, had to endure abuse on the ounces together that wouldn’t fly today.
Other common sources of disaster were makeup and special effects, with Margaret Hamilton suffering from burns while filming the Munchkinland outing of The Wicked Witch of the West, and Bert Lahr’s (Cowardly Lion) costume confining him. on a liquid diet. Years later, Jack Haley (Tin Man) surely spoke for everyone involved when he said, “It was like hell [fun]! It was hard work!”
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
David Lean’s sequel to the Bridge over the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, was even more epic in scale, and with that came even bigger headaches. Production jumped from Jordan and Spain to Morocco, and illness and injury plagued the cast and crew wherever they went, so much so that star Peter O’Toole was reportedly nearly killed when he fell from ‘a camel.
Additionally, Lean and his team had to deal with several public relations nightmares, such as the arrest of screenwriter Robert Bolt during a protest shortly after he was hired, forcing producer Sam Spiegel to bail him out. Prior to the film’s release, TE Lawrence’s real brother also attempted to discredit the film, which may have contributed to some initial negative reviews.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece ‘Nam is still considered an excellent film today, but not even the infamously difficult production of The Godfather could prepare him for the troubles that awaited him Revelation now shoot. Whether it’s a typhoon destroying most of the scenery, Philippine military rappel gear, or Martin Sheen suffering a heart attack that necessitated his absence for an extended period of time, anything that could have gone wrong is is produced.
Revelation nowCoppola’s troubles impacted everyone involved, but none more so than Coppola himself, who lost over 100 pounds and reportedly attempted suicide due to the stress of making the film. For more insight into this truly legendary shoot, viewers can check out the excellent documentary hearts of darknesswhich shows the filming process which was barely less intense than the film itself.
NEXT: 10 Movies With Notoriously Extreme Filming Locations
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