Every director flubs it now and then, even with good elements in place. But the likelihood of a big-time director openly admitting, even in the big-studio era and even to friends behind closed doors, that he dropped the ball in some kind of calamitous way is pretty slim, I’m guessing. This kind of candor, even in the days of Dore Schary, Vincent Minnelli and John Houseman, happened in front of a bathroom mirror, if at all. If you haven’t seen the film, Kirk Douglas is beating himself up in this scene for having miscalculated on the level of Michael Cimino‘s Heaven’s Gate. How many directors, producers and studio chiefs have ever admitted any degree of failure to themselves under any circumstances, in any environment or era?