Can you make a bad movie from a good script?

Imagination Connoisseur and classic movie buff, Omar 94, fact checks Harlan Ellison’s claim that you can’t “make a good movie from a bad script” … “but it is possible to make a bad movie from a good script.”

Hi Rob,

Harlan Ellison was once talking about the movie making process, saying nobody made a good movie from a bad script, but it is possible to make a bad movie from a good script.

Frank Darabont said something which reminded of what Ellison said, when Darabont was talking about the Kenneth Branagh film adaptation of Frankenstein, as he wrote the script for that movie. He called it the best script he ever wrote, but the worst movie he ever saw.

You were a script reader, so you know more about this than I do, but the problem with a translating a good script comes down to casting and direction, in particular the direction, as directors are the ones in charge.

That was something Charles Edward Pogue brought up when he explained his disappointment in Dragonheart. He considered his original Dragonheart script the best script he ever wrote, but was disappointed in the movie, saying the film’s director, Rob Cohen, had neither the poetry in his soul nor the panache to bring Dragonheart to the screen. He also mentioned how Cohen cut and altered parts of his script, as well as Universal dumbing down his original script, which was much darker and more serious than the final film, in order to appeal to a youth demographic, essentially turning the film into a kids’ movie.

I guess the solution to making movies just as good as the scripts would be for writers and directors to have symbiotic relationships, which would prevent clashes of creative differences.

Thanks, live long and prosper.
– Omar

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