Polanski leaving the courthouse, 1977
A court in Los Angeles has denied a request from Roman Polanski to resolve the 1977 sex abuse case against him in his absence. Polanski wanted to know whether or not he'd go to prison if he returned to the United States.
When Polanski was arrested in 1977, I didn't know who he was and didn't follow the story at all. Most of what I knew about the case came from a comic strip in National Lampoon. It wasn't until recently that I learned the details and that was from the HBO documentary. I won't go into it, but it was rather appalling.
I can understand the people who still want Polanski put in prison forty years later. I can also understand the people who are fine with him continuing to walk around free. But I can't understand the people who are anxious for him to be able to return to the United States. Even if you think his crime was relatively innocuous as Whoopi Goldberg apparently does ("it wasn't rape rape") why would they want him back here? Do they think it's a gross injustice that Polanski is forced to live as a French millionaire and not a California millionaire?
I think he was a jerk for leaving Poland. They gave him his education at public expense, made him a director and paid for him to make his movies. How many people with his background, impoverished after barely surviving the war, would have gotten those opportunities in a capitalist country? You think Knife in the Water could have been made in Hollywood? He didn't come to the West because he was such an artiste. He came here to grub for money.
My impression was that any good director could have made Chinatown. Rosemary's Baby was more uniquely his, but I can't see how it or any other movie was such a boon to mankind that the director should be immune from prosecution.
I'm tired of U.S. cultural imperialism anyway. If he's a great director, let him be a great director in one of his own countries, France or Poland.