Dino De Laurentiis died on November 11 at the age of 91. 70 of those years were spent producing movies you may or may not have attributed to him. After World War 2 he produced a string of Italian pictures until the failure of his Dinocitta studio project. He then moved to the U.S. in the 1960's and where he eventually created DEG Studios in North Carolina, which also ended in failure.
Dino De Laurentiis took chances in making films and when his big spectacular pictures failed they were still a spectacularly. Consider King Kong and Dune, granted I don't think we had the special effects techniques he wanted to pull off a remake of the big ape and he ran into studio politics, where several studios recuts that proved "He who can destroy a thing, controls a thing". Frank Herbert did not live to see the final, theatrical cut of Dune but it has been written that he had said he liked the rushes that were available to him.
You can't work in filmmaking for 70 years just making commercial failures. He did have an impressive string of hits. Conan the Barbarian (if you can find the extended version – see it. The ending works better there than the shortened theatrical release.) Flash Gordon, Ragtime, Three Days of the Condor, even Army of Darkness. Click here for a full list of his films.
It's too bad that Hollywood doesn't have men like De Laurentiis today. They need more people willing to take chances and not bring us the same old homogenized films guaranteed to return a profit on every investment. We need to get away from predictable plots that are safe for the filmmakers' bottom line.
Or maybe that will be left to tomorrow's independent filmmakers? OSFest 4.0: System Upgrade will host an Independent Film Festival for science fiction, fantasy, or horror productions. As soon as we have a list of films to be run I will bring you that list. If you are an independent filmmaker, looking for a place to screen your SF/Fantasy/Horror film, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.