MOVIEMAKING: His Chariot Flames Out

His Chariot Flames Out

When David Puttnam was forced to resign last week as head of Columbia Pictures, it marked the failure of a Hollywood experiment. The acclaimed British producer (The Killing Fields, Chariots of Fire) was a surprise choice when he was hired last year. A critic of inflated budgets and unimaginative scripts, Puttnam promised to devote an entire studio to the kind of original and inexpensive films he had made on his own.

But Puttnam, 46, had a fatal propensity for picking fights with powerful figures. He clashed with Bill Cosby over the comedian's forthcoming film, Leonard Part 6. Cosby was so enraged...