There are no exceptions to this rule, not even the multitalented Orson Welles.
how do you account for--
martin scorsese - the raging bull, screenplay is a sponge, shrader failed, marty came through.
copolla, godfather 1 screenplay is just ok, the film is a masterpiece.
have you read the screenplay for cassablanca? not the one that was patched together to be put on the modern day market, the actual screenplay (s) were a mess, it's a patchwork from a bunch of writers that curtis patched together. he had hunks of papers in boxes, but the film is #2 on the AFI list.
chinatown, the screenplay is just ok, polanski made a great movie from an ok screenplay, and towne wrote it!
and the list goes on and on.
of course, i don't doubt that all directors would love a great screenplay to work from but it's not a perfect world and if you have to go into production with a crappy screenplay, that is life. happens all the time.
films have been completely rewritten during production because of the stregths and weaknesses of the actors that were discovered during production. you have the crew and the money, a great screenplay, shooting begins, you dicover the main actor sucks, you have to shift the focus of the film and the screenplay goes out the window. happens all the time because it's not a perfect world and sometimes things are not as they seem.
every film class in the world tells you that great films come from great screenplays, then they send you out into the real world and you read actual screenplays from films that you know, and you realize that school was ful of crap. they were just trying to teach you not to go into production till you have a great screenplay.
there is absulutely nothing in the touch of evil screenplay that are the things that we admire about the movie. touch of evil is visual, and there is absolutely nothing of the look of the picture in the screenplay. the touch of evil screenplay could have been an episode of manix in the hands of another director, but welles made it a masterpiece, because welles didn't need a screenplay to make a movie.
there actually are hundreds of exeptions to the rule, you just have to read screenplays to figure it out. and if harvey thinks touch of evil is a good screenplay, i'm in a discussion with the wrong guy.
you wanna read some great screenplays that great movies came from?
treasure of the sierra madre
night of the hunter
night at the opera
a have read about 30 screenplays and these stand out as great.
a great screenplay that an ok to bad movie came from, 8 million ways to die. how do you account for a great screenplay that is made into a bad movie? bad director. how do you account for a bad screenplay made into a masterpiece? a great director. there isn't one rule that can be applied to all the way across the board, it really is a crap shoot.
i would guess that as many lousy movies came from great screenplays as great movies that came from bad screenplays. it's not a cookie cutter world and there are no rules. the only rule a director knows it to get through it as best as you can regardless of what you have to work with, drunk actors, bad screenplays, a camera man that cries.