Entertainment behind the scenes
Europeans celebrated and stunned U.S. officials vowed to try again to extradite director Roman Polanski if they ever find a “cooperative” jurisdiction in the future.
But where was Hollywood on Monday when Polanski finally won his freedom in Switzerland and avoided a showdown in California over the rape of a 13 year-old girl in 1977? Largely silent, despite having awarded Polanski a best director Oscar for his searing 2002 movie “The Pianist”, set in a World War Two ghetto.
For all the criticism in parts of the media of so-called Hollywood liberals, U.S. supporters of Polanski were hardly standing up to be counted on the day Switzerland rejected a U.S. bid to extradite the film director to face sentencing over having unlawful sex with a minor more than 30 years ago.
In Europe on the other hand, where Polanski has lived, made movies, and carried on as a living film legend, politicians and artists issued warm statements welcoming his return to the creative community and noting Polanski’s painful personal history as a man who escaped the Holocaust, only to see his pregnant wife murdered by followers of Charles Manson in 1969.
Jigsaw, step aside. “The Shining” featuring Jack Nicholson as an axe-wielding psycho has topped a list of the scariest horror movies of all time. With Halloween just days away, the writers at film website Totalscifionline.com compiled a list of the 100 greatest horror movies.
“Nearly 30 years after its initial release, The Shining remains an unparalled study in isolation, madness and paranoia,” said Matt McAllister, editor of Totalscifionline.com. “The expansive sets, surreal visuals, and an intense performance from Jack Nicholson add up to a film guaranteed to give viewers a sleepless night.”
A retired L.A. prosecutor has admitted that he lied when he said in a documentary film that he advised the judge in Roman Polanski’s 1977 case to send the director to prison.
The documentary in question, “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” is cited by Polanski’s defenders as evidence that he was the victim of judicial misconduct.
Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland more than 30 years since he fled the United States for France after pleading guilty to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl. At the time in 1978, Polanski agreed that he would be sentenced to 42 days that he already had served in jail, but he became convinced a judge would overrule that agreement and send him back to prison for as many as 50 years. You can read about his arrest here.
In 2008, a film documentary “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” made the rounds at theaters. It had interviews with lawyers involved in the original case and with the victim, Samantha Geimer, who is now a mother living in Hawaii. Geimer has said that what Polanski did to her was wrong, but that he has paid the price and should be spared any more jail time.