Thursday, July 10, 2008

Documentary Film Of The Day: Roman Polanski, Wanted And Desired


What hasn’t happened to Roman Polanski?

The extraordinarily gifted director (Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown) escaped the Nazis, married the ravishing young actress Sharon Tate — who at eight months pregnant was murdered by the Manson family in 1969 — and then almost a decade later was charged with having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old, after which he went into European exile (and won a libel suit against Vanity Fair).

The statutory-rape trial and the escalating media circus that followed are examined in the excellent new documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (airing on HBO 6/9; in theaters 7/11).

Filmmaker Marina Zenvich neatly stitches together amazing archival footage (oh, those 1970s L.A. fashions!) and interviews with nearly all the participants except Polanski — including the victim, Samantha Geimer (who publicly forgave Polanski in 1997), defense attorney Douglas Dalton (speaking about the case for the first time), and prosecutor Roger Gunson.

A fascinating portrait of a man emerges, as does the question of how justice is served when celebrity meets scandal.

See clips of this and other HBO docs HERE

Get info on theaters showing the film in your area HERE


  1. He was 45 when he had sex with a 13 y-o. I get that from the Nazis and his wife and child being murdered he was psychologically fucked up, but he was 45 when he had sex with a 13 y-o.

  2. I agree. His background might explain what he did, but it certainly does not excuse it. He's vile. Still, I'd like to see the film.

  3. I remember the media frenzy during the statutory-rape trial. It seemed like it went on forever.

  4. That's what SHE said.


    Yeah, I know. Bad. See you in Hell. Well, not you, Daisy, but some of you others.

  5. HA! HA! HA! Cary, you're incorrigible! (Don't ever change!) :D

    If you end up in Hell---and I don't think you will, at least the others around you will be entertained!

    Thought to ponder for the day---and if they are laughing and it makes you happy to make them laugh, then how can it be Hell?

  6. Whatever you think of his morals - not that there seems to be any present - the documentary is fascinating. Before the OJ trial, Menendez brothers, Lorena Bobbitt - there was Polanski. His ascent from nothing to everything is painful to watch when you know how the story ends.

  7. Agreed, Tracey -- I saw it and it's a really interesting story. I kept going back and forth, thinking "wow, he really got screwed over" in the situation and then remembering what he'd done (and admitted to) in order to get himself in that position. Regardless, though, the circus atmosphere of the proceedings and the way it was all drawn out was not about what punishment he deserved, but how the judge felt he would be publically perceived, and that was not cool. I think Polanski is icky, and I also can't really blame him for leaving the US and staying gone all these years.

  8. I will never watch a movie that Roman Polanski has directed because of what he has done. There were actually a--hole celebrities who felt he should be allowed back in the country when he was nominated for an Oscar for The Pianist. I wonder if they would have felt the same way if it was THEIR 13-year-old daughter.

    Ok-that's the first time I said something serious on your blog.

  9. I saw that the other day, and it was a great documentary. I especially like how the lawyers from both sides said the judge was a jerk and out to get Roman.

  10. Ummm....tried to watch it, but fell asleep.



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