There is a reason, a director gets a lot of credit with a well-made movie and then a lot of flak when it doesn't meet people's expectations. It is the director's vision that translates words on a paper to the piece of art we see playing out on the screen. Directors like Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg and James Cameron actually pull people to the theatres just by the power of their names. The story, cast and music often don't matter because fans know they are in for a treat given the filmmakers' reputation.
Sadly, there are those who sat in the director's chair only once. The reasons could be as varied as an unsuccessful movie or a personal decision to quit. That one movie is definitely remembered and we would have definitely liked for them to stick around a little longer.
Charles Laughton – The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Charles Laughton gave up a career on stage to pursue movies and was even successful. His next choice was to try direction and the result was The Night of the Hunter. The movie is regarded as one of the best movies of 1950s, a far cry from what the critics thought of the movie when it was released. The negative reviews made Laughton stick to just acting in movies after that.
Marlon Brando – One-Eyed Jacks (1961)
Marlon Brando who has us in awe with all his performances and is considered one of the best actors of all time. He had donned the director's hat once and after shooting over five hours of extra footage (and destroying all of it) along with a grueling editing process, he decided he did not want any more of it. One-Eyed Jacks is considered a masterpiece but there weren't going to be more of Marlon Brando hits with him credited as the director.
Kerry Conran – Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)
It is very rare for the authors to direct movies based on their books. Also, it is unheard of that the authors invest their own money into the movie without support from any production house. The movie while might turn out well but there is a slim chance of it making the kind of money usually associated with well-known production houses. Kerry Conran who made an excellent movie based on his book of the same name is yet to direct another movie.
Dalton Trumbo – Johnny Got His Gun (1971)
One of the finest screenwriters who was awarded an Oscar posthumously also wrote a novel with the same name in 1938. He had to wait until 1971 before he could adapt his novel into a movie. The movie although grim was well-received and some parts of it even found its way into heavy metal band Metallica's 'One' music video. Although Dalton is remembered in cinema history, it is only for his screenwriting skills.
Walter Murch – Return to Oz (1985)
Known for his editing skills in movies like The Godfather series and THX 1138, Walter Murch directed twice; Once an episode of The Clone Wars TV series and then Return to Oz. Return to Oz remains a dark and gritty masterpiece, which was closer to the source material than all the other adaptations. The colors were gone and what remained were real monsters, which were haunting. The movie's failure probably discouraged Murch but we would have liked to see more of his work.
Bill Murray – Quick Change (1990)
There have been many actors who have chosen to try their hand at directing and Bill Murray features on this list. He co-directed this movie with his friend Howard Franklin. The movie is funny and the cast works well with Bill Murray.