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Customer Review

25 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Persuasive arguments, November 2, 2008
This review is from: Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (DVD)
This is a crisp, well-structured documentary which brings together most of the principal facts and figures in Polanski's 1977-1978 unlawful sexual intercourse trial.

Two are missing from the scene -- Polanski himself and Judge Laurence Rittenband, who presided over the case -- and they're the most important and, among followers of the situation, the most divisive.

The filmmakers have a clear respect for Polanski the artist, but they make two points painfully clear: That, in 1977, he gave a 13-year-old girl Quaaludes and champagne before having sex with her; and that the case was poorly (in some cases illegally) handled by Rittenband, who was eventually removed from the case.

Rittenband is dead and Polanski fled to France rather than face his judge's increasingly sketchy demands but most of the principals are here, particularly defense attorney Douglas Dalton, former assistant D.A. Roger Gunson and the victim herself, Samantha Geimer, who's now in her mid-40s, a mother of three children and seems ready to put the whole matter to rest.

The account is fascinating, and artfully punctuated by scenes from Polanski's films, particularly those he appeared in including "Chinatown," "The Tenant" and "The Fat and the Lean," which was made a decade-and-a-half before the trouble but which features Polanski dancing on cue to a drum beaten by a man who, ironically, bears no small resemblance to Rittenband himself.

I never like to assume that I'm an expert on a situation simply after seeing one documentary about it, but it's a persuasive argument when a Mormon district attorney sides with a sex offender and his defense lawyer against a judge. That's pretty convincing evidence this movie is spouting something close to the truth.
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 13, 2008 9:11:46 AM PST
Lisa G. Bail says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2009 1:46:30 AM PST
A Customer says:
Add one of Roman's films to your order.

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 4:56:48 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 20, 2009 4:57:52 PM PDT
Karen Shaub says:
I agree with you completely. You would be very hard pressed to find 2 people wider apart than any defense lawyer and that district attorney and if seeing them agree doesn't make you question things you should take a good look in the mirror and ask why you're not questioning things.

For adding one of Polanski's films to your list I'd recommend THE TENANT. I'd also suggest reading THE PAINTED BIRD by Jerzy Kosinski. I've always heard that it was supposed to be based on Polanski's childhood. God, I hope its only fiction.

Posted on Sep 28, 2009 8:04:54 PM PDT
C. Gray says:
Just because the case was mishandled does not mean that Polanski did not rape the 13 year old girl who he drugged with champagne and Quaaludes. Come on, a man in his 40's having sexual intercourse with a 13 year old girl that he drugged is not rape?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 29, 2009 2:47:37 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 29, 2009 2:48:32 PM PDT
I have always heard that The Tenant is an excellent film. I plan to eventually purchase this documentary, The Tenant, and Chinatown too. Great review by the way. I have seen bits and pieces of the documentary and it's just as you say, very interesting insight into the case.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 29, 2009 10:18:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 29, 2009 10:19:17 PM PDT
Clare Quilty says:
Polanski wasn't even charged with rape, C.Gray, that wasn't the offense this trial was about. I realize the subject matter is controversial, but stop thinking in generalities and focus on the facts.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 29, 2009 11:11:50 PM PDT
C. Gray says:
Clare, I did not say that Polanski was charged with rape. I have read Samantha Geimer's account of what happened; she was scared and did not know what to do...she was 13 and drugged and he was in his 40's. Interspersing scenes from his films show that the filmmakers' documentary is subjective...what do they have to do with the charges?

Posted on May 28, 2011 9:10:42 PM PDT
E. Cyree says:
"in 1977, he gave a 13-year-old girl Quaaludes and champagne before having sex with her"

"having sex with"? The word you were looking for is "raping". I thought Polanski was human garbage before watching this misguided documentary and I think even less of him now. So... Mission not accomplished.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2011 9:14:28 PM PDT
E. Cyree says:
They are only generalities because it wasn't your child he did it to.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2011 10:03:25 PM PDT
Clare Quilty says:
Whatever. The rape of a child is the rape of a child, a terrible crime regardless of who the victim is -- how could you suggest otherwise? I'm simply not convinced this was rape. You're making assumptions you can't back up.
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