Sunday, 28 July 2013

Bigger Than Life! Part Two

Dennis Hopper

DENNIS HOPPER (1936-2010)

Like Timothy Carey whom I looked at in an earlier post, here’s another brilliant actor turned director who never obeyed his speed limits! Whether at his peak or at his worst, Dennis Hopper was high and horny most of the time, eventually becoming paranoid. At one point, he suffered from dementia and even found himself on a funny farm for a while.

Dennis Hopper comix

For my Sinemania! story on dear demented Dennis, I chose to recall his madhouse of a life by imagining a famous talk show host attempting to interview him. But just because Hopper’s wearing a straitjacket doesn’t mean that David Letterman’s any safer from Dennis’ crazy ramblings. And neither will you be when you read them in my book.

Dennis Hopper comix

Before I delve deeper into Dennis, you gotta look at this clip that features him as a real, not imaginary, guest on The Merv Griffin Show, trying to promote ‘Easy Rider’ and ‘The Last Movie’. I must admit that he was much more coherent on that program than as the cartoon character I depict, but what a character anyway! Way to go, Dennis!

Hopper saw his acting career take off in 1955 thanks to the small role he played next to his good pal, James Dean, in the Nicholas Ray classic, ‘Rebel Without a Cause’. Legend has it that during the filming of this movie, everyone was sleeping with everyone.  Apparently, Ray was shagging both Dean and co-star Sal Mineo (who subtly portrayed the first gay teenage character in an American film) and Natalie Wood, who was all of sweet sixteen at the time. (Nick Adams, who also appeared in ‘Rebel’, had been Jimmy Dean’s lover early on.) The eighteen year-old Hopper, meanwhile, was dating Natalie Wood, which resulted in tension on the set between him and Ray as they vied for Wood’s affections. Here’s Dennis recalling this funny anecdote in his own words:

“In the 50s, when me and Natalie Wood and James Dean and Nick Adams and Tony Perkins (Anthony Perkins) suddenly arrived… God, it was a whole group of us that sort of felt like that earlier group – the John Barrymores, Errol Flynns, Sinatras, Clifts – were a little farther out than we were… So we tried to emulate that lifestyle. For instance, once Natalie and I decided we`d have an orgy. And Natalie says ‘O.K., but we have to have a champagne bath.’  So we filled the bathtub full of champagne.  Natalie takes off her clothes, sits down in the champagne, starts screaming. We take her to the emergency hospital.  That was our orgy, you understand?” 

Fast forward to the early Seventies, by which time Ray and Hopper had become buddies. Dennis invited him to his Taos, New Mexico ranch for help in the cutting of Hopper's 1971 fiasco of a film, ‘The Last Movie’. Nick Ray sure made himself at home, staying for five months and, according to Hopper, running up a phone bill of $5000! The two pals shared wild acid trips with the drugs and alcohol fueling their shared paranoia. The ranch was full of guns, and the atmosphere there grew toxic with the short-tempered filmmakers having arguments that drove them even crazier. For more details, watch this clip as Hopper discusses Ray. 

The American Friend

This troubled twosome worked together for the last time in 1977, both acting in Wim Wenders’ movie, ‘The American Friend’. Another legendary filmmaker, Sam Fuller, (who had acted in ‘The Last Movie’, playing the director of the film within a film) also had a role in this slow-paced flick, which was a nostalgic reunion of sorts for Hopper, Fuller, and Ray.

And that’s that for Hopper! But wait until you read more of the juicy tidbits that I’ve soon got in store for you on Nicolas Ray. Now, if you don’t mind, I need to take a break, refill my bong, and sniff some glue before intoxicating you with the final post of my ‘Bigger Than Life’ trilogy. 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Bigger Than Life!

Bigger than life!

In Nicolas Ray’s 1956 masterpiece, ‘Bigger Than Life’, James Mason plays a family man who, under the influence of pills, mentally tortures his wife and son. Notice the monstrous shadow behind him in the above photo and see how it perfectly symbolizes how bonkers he’s become. That flick was way ahead of its time. In it, the tension is claustrophobic and the technicolor makes it surreal. You don’t need to come from a dysfunctional family to feel the full impact of mental illness and witness the devastation on the poor souls that come across Mason’s character.

‘Bigger Than Life’ was made by a director who enjoyed being under the influence himself. Please join me as I now open my case file on the first of three mythical Hollywood figures who loved to take any substance that they could put their hands on, paying an awfully high price both physically and mentally. 

Barbara Payton

BARBARA PAYTON (1927-1967)

On May 8, 1967, this 39-year-old former starlet was found on the bathroom floor - dead of heart and liver failure. She found fame, if not fortune, as a femme fatale type in the 1949 film noir, ‘Trapped’, and, to put it bluntly, attempted to screw her way to the top to make a name for herself in Tinseltown. A nymphomaniac on the loose, she slept with all her co-stars, whether or not they were married. Payton couldn’t help but burn bridges along the way, numbing herself with booze and drugs. Hollywood showed no mercy and turned its back on poor Barbara. She became destitute and had no choice but to turn tricks to survive. Barbara Payton’s rise and fall is a fascinating and compelling tragedy. 

I had no knowledge of her whatsoever until my husband showed me a story that appeared in ‘Filmfax’ magazine in 1999. My curiosity was piqued to say the least. How did this beautiful woman who showed such promise sink so low? It’s one thing to be temporarily successful on the Silver Screen and then fade away, but to end up as a prostitute on the Sunset Strip? It boggled my mind.

Later that year, we spent a week in San Francisco, a town well-known for its great second-hand bookstores. I had learned of Barbara Payton’s rare ghost-written 1963 autobiography, ‘I Am Not Ashamed’ and confidently figured that I’d be able to get my hands on it in that city. I inquired about it  in the first bookshop we hit. Well, lo and behold, one of its employees opened a door behind the counter and presto! There was the book in question, framed, plus a gorgeous cut-out display of the ‘Bad Blonde’ herself, originally used for advertising in the lobby of a movie theater! Needless to say, this Payton memorabilia wasn’t for sale, but one of the store’s other employees did sell me a spare copy of the book from his own collection. Mission accomplished!

Bad Blonde Display


With enough info on hand, I couldn’t wait to write and illustrate a story on her, custom-made for the zine we self-published at the time, Sweet Smell of Sick Sex. The drawings above are a few that I did at the time. Anyway, our move from Montreal to Toronto with the new job challenges that entailed put a stop to those plans. No further issue of Sweet Smell appeared and it wasn’t until several years later that I finally came up with my take on Barbara’s tragic tale, which will soon appear in Sinemania! Here’s a little sleazer, I mean, teaser…

Payton Comix

Seeing as how my book basically concerns itself with legendary movie directors and not obscure fallen starlets, I wanted my detour exploring the wild life of Barbara Payton to be fairly quick.. I just wanted to convey her decline into the depths of Hollywood hell in a nutshell. Really, her story should be made into a movie because if ever an actor personified the term ‘self-destruction’, it was her! Maybe Lindsay Lohan could star in it?

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye: The Barbara Payton Story

For the complete story on this real lady of the night, I absolutely recommend ‘Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye: The Barbara Payton Story’ by John O’Dowd. It’s a must-read! That fantastic writer is so in love with my favorite bad blonde that he also created a wonderful online shrine to her youthful beauty and glory. Click on it without regret!

John Gilmore's Books

Other absolutely essential reads on the sketchy underbelly of Hollywood which also discuss Payton are ‘Laid Bare’ and ‘L.A. Despair’ by John Gilmore. Trying to make it as an actor in the ‘50’s and ‘60s, Gilmore met her and many other Los Angeles lowlifes. His books are filled with one mind blowing recollection after another, including a story in ‘Laid Bare’ about the night that he was hanging out in a bar with a young struggling Dennis Hopper. When Hopper spotted Barbara soliciting, he managed to hustle her under a booth for a ‘sexcapade’. He was under the influence, too, and didn’t give a crap that she was no longer in her prime. Dennis just thought it’d be a blast to put his manhood into where bigger stars had previously entered.

Speaking of Hopper, brace yourself for my post on this hard-living, substance-abusing Hollywood screw-up who, like Barbara Payton, is also a perfect candidate for inclusion in Sinemania!, but unlike Barbara, managed to ultimately redeem himself. Coming soon to this blog!

Friday, 19 July 2013

The Power of Anger!

Kenneth Anger

We’re always being told that anger is a negative emotion. And yet, it can also be a powerful motivator for great irreverent creativity. Anger can inspire you to dig deep into a subject and settle some scores. Anger mixed with ambition can make you stand out from the crowd. Anger is also an irrational visceral demonic force, but beware: when it’s turned against yourself, you can hit rock bottom in agony.

Kenneth Anger is one filmmaker who’s lived the hellish roller coaster ride of the power of anger. I just had to include this ‘enfant terrible’ of cinema in my book, Sinemania!, illustrating the highs and lows of his career in an original manner. Now, I don’t wanna reveal too much here, but here’s a little glimpse…

Anger child

Despite his claims, Warner Bros. studio records state that the character Anger said he played in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ was actually portrayed by a girl named Sheila Brown. Anger also said that he made the experimental film ‘Fireworks’ when he was just seventeen. In fact, he was twenty at the time. Look, I’m not saying that anger necessarily makes you a bull-shitter, but it might stop you from getting your facts straight.

In any case, Anger’s avant-garde homo-erotic short films have been highly influential and should be seen by anyone who fancies himself a ‘sinemaniac’. Fabulator or not, Anger’s friendship with director Donald Cammell and The Rolling Stones was the real deal, and his influence on them is noticeable in their work. His juxtaposition of images and use of a rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack are now commonplace, but he was a true pioneer in his day. For proof, just watch Anger’s short 1964 tribute to motor-psycho leather boys, ‘Scorpio Rising.’

Far be it for me to describe or analyze his films here. Instead, I’d rather entertain you by looking at how anger fueled Anger and his peculiarly strange behavior.  After all, I do need to make my point on the power of ANGER, damn it!! Several points, to be exact.

Hollywood Babylon

“Lucifer is the patron saint of the visual arts. Color, form - all these are the work of Lucifer.So said our Kenneth, lover of black magic, and that almost sums it up except that he should have mentioned demented filmmaking and vitriolic writing, along with color and form. He was, you see, very gifted in both crafts. In particular, Anger’s love of digging up the dirt on the stars of Tinseltown made him a prolific, incendiary, and Machiavellian word-spewer, starting with his sordid 1959 book, ‘Hollywood Babylon’.

Hollywood Babylone

Anger was living in Paris at the time so the original printing was in French. It quickly became a best seller in France and was such a hit that he later wrote the sequel, ‘Hollywood Babylon II’. Some of the facts in these books are debatable, but fabrications or not, these trashy tomes are bloody hard to put down! I wish he would’ve written more since burning bridges in Hollywood and cursing everyone for the sake of it is Anger’s favorite hobby.

And so, here’s point number one: anger can make you stick to a project like glue and make you infamous. Okay, if you’ve got to invent some facts so be it! Satan lies all the time, right? And if you get sued, you can always put a evil spell on the folks taking you to court. 

Lucifer Tattoo

Anger can also make you do impulsively dumb things as this picture undoubtedly proves.

Point number two: anger can screw up your rational mind. (That tattoo could’ve been worse; instead of ‘Lucifer’, it could’ve said: ‘Shove it up my ass!’)


The relationship between these two mischievous fellows (and lovers) ended when Anger kicked Beausoleil out of his house because Bobby had hidden some dope at his place. (You’d think the drugs would’ve fit Anger’s satanic agenda.) Beausoleil got back at him by stealing the footage of Kenneth’s film, ‘Lucifer Rising’, and burying it somewhere in Death Valley, California. Anger in turn put the curse of the frog on Beausoleil’s soul by trapping a frog in a well.

Point number three: anger can make PETA put a curse right back atcha! After all, what goes around comes around.


In 1984, Anger was invited as a guest on some TV show. When he arrived at the studio, his demand that someone from the staff pay his cab fare was turned down. Anger hit the roof and tried to drag the talent coordinator into the taxi. After she was rescued, he escaped the scene, throwing a $100 bill at the cab driver.

Point number four: anger can make you screw up good opportunities.


Pop artist Andy Warhol wasn’t only a maketing genius, but a well known cheapskate. Using his ‘friends’ in the name of art for zero financial reward in return caused lots of friction. Like any good narcissist, Warhol was exploitative and didn’t give a damn about others, using everyone to promote himself. And he certainly made an enemy out of Kenneth Anger who was jealous of Warhol’s success. He went on a vendetta against the artist and in 1980, attacked him… by throwing a bucket of paint on his front door!  Alas, he got his timing wrong as Warhol was living somewhere else by then. Maybe Anger should’ve hired Valerie Solanas as a hitman instead?

My fifth and final point: anger makes you fight with Superstar Narcissists in a fruitless attempt to change their selfish behavior. 


So, yes, anger can literally possess you to embellish the truth, do stupid impulsive things, make enemies, engage in self-sabotage, and attempt the impossible. It can also make you a very good innovative storyteller and one sonovabitch hellraiser! All hail the power of ANGER!

For a taste of Anger, Satan commands you to watch this! 

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Sympathy for the devils: Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg


If you mix the gangster film genre with sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll, you get ‘Performance’. Made in 1968, but only released in 1970 by a hesitant Warner Bros. studio, this groundbreaking flick is a true underground cult classic.

‘Performance’ was considered to be so scandalous at the time that it catapulted its co-directors and cast to decadent cinematic legend. Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg, and James Fox portray London degenerates whose glamorous and libidinous drugged-up behavior in their funky Notting Hill flat actually makes you want to join in on their fun!

Notting Hill

The film was shot in a studio, but this is the lovely building on Powis Square where most of the insanely surreal action in ‘Performance’ is set. It sure looks spruced up compared to when the movie was shot. Back in the day, Notting Hill was a rundown part of London, as opposed to the posh neighborhood it’s become. Anyway, the more I read about the making of ‘Performance’ and all the funny business that went on behind the scenes, the more I felt like depicting that spicy story in pen and ink!  

Performance comix

I don’t want to delve all that deeply into the raunchy details behind the filming of ‘Performance’ here. After all, my intention is to tease you into getting ahold of my book, Sinemania!, and reading all about it in its pages. (I know, I’m cruel, ain’t I?) In the meantime, though, watch this trailer for the film.

But what I can do is give you a little ‘fix’ by introducing you to the two directors of this strange movie, a ‘folie a deux’ created by Donald Cammell and Nicholas Roeg. Fasten your seat belt because you’re now in for a hell-raising ride with these two rockin’ rollin’ shit disturbers!

The son of poet and writer Charles Richard Cammell, Donald was born near Edinburgh Castle. His amazing talent for painting made him move to Paris for a while. When London began to swing in ‘the ‘60s, Cammell decided he had to be where the action was. Quite the libertine dandy, he surrounded himself with the ‘in crowd’ of the ‘Chelsea Set’ which included those hedonistic bad boys The Rolling Stones. Cammell approached Mick Jagger with the sulfuric script for his first movie, ‘Performance’. Controversy being his middle name, Mick went for it, portraying the decadent rock star Turner, by far Jagger’s best role in what turned out to be a mediocre movie-acting career.

Nicholas Roeg co-directed the project, but disassociated himself from the heavy duty production and let Cammell finish the messy job of editing the sleazy results. Cammell certainly had his wicked side. He was fascinated by death and loved satanic rituals, interests shared with his good friend Kenneth Anger, another avant-garde filmmaker who I’ll get into at a later date. I suppose it was only too appropriate that Cammell met a rather gruesome end, a fate perhaps befitting an eccentric visionary who Hollywood had no place for.

But Cammell’s influence nevertheless lives on and he certainly rubbed off on director Paul McGuigan whose excellent and nasty 2000 film ‘Gangster No.1’, owes a lot to ‘Performance’. For more on the innovative, iconoclastic, and debonair Cammell and his tumultuous life, you should watch this excellent documentary, courtesy of YouTube.

Nicolas Roeg

Cammell’s sidekick on ‘Performance’, the better known but equally British Nicolas Roeg, started off his career as cinematographer. For me, he’s more of a painter whose canvas happens to be celluloid. Not all of his flicks are head-scratchers, but his narrative approach is pretty much of a mindfuck for which you either need acid or a high IQ to fully comprehend. Alas, I have neither, but I can still get off on the beauty of his images, not to mention the nude scenes. Let’s look at that rogue Roeg’s three major films of frustrated love which contain his most controversial scenes depicting people talking and talking and, uh, frolicking.

Don’t Look Now (1973)

Don't look now

'Don't Look Now' star Donald Sutherland warmed up for his 1976 role in ‘Fellini’s Casanova’ by munching on Julie Christie’s fur pie. To this day, the realism of that scene makes you wonder if they actually shared more than just phone numbers. Warren Beatty, Julie’s boyfriend at the time, wanted that bit cut from the film. Roeg tried to please the censors by juxtaposing the scene with other images from the day to day life of a couple in Venice mourning the death of their daughter. Still, ‘Don’t Look Now’ ended up with an X-rating and with a raunchy psycho-horror cult thriller under his belt, Roeg knew which direction he had to take. After all, nobody’s gonna walk out of a good sex scene, right?

The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

                              The Man Who Fell to Earth

‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’, David Bowie’s film acting debut, makes you feel you’re looking at a well-crafted music video. It’s about an alien (Bowie, natch) who arrives on Earth to accomplish some obscure mission. But the more you watch it, the more you feel alienated on planet Roeg, unsure of whether you should stay or just blast off out of there! Ultimately, Bowie’s beauty and, yes, the nudity, makes you stay put in this awkward world of mood versus plot. If you see it, keep in mind that the fast-forward button was invented for a purpose while keeping your other hand free if Bowie, ahem, inspires you…. 

Bad Timing (1980)

Bad Timing

Whoa, talk about Flashback City! In this sick flick, Roeg goes back and forth in time showing us the ultra-dysfunctional relationship between an ice-cold neurotic shrink played by Art Garfunkel and a hot histrionic /bi-polar young woman portrayed by Theresa Russell. A couple truly made for each other! Compared to these folks, any dramatic romantic entanglements you might be experiencing are positively Zen-calm. As a cop played by Harvey Keitel tries to get to the bottom of Russell’s suicide attempt, lucky viewers get to witness her and Garfunkel’s tango of destruction while often glancing at their watches. (This two hour long film just dra-a-a-a-a-gs on and on and on and…)

But if you stick around long enough, you do get to watch the disturbing scene of Artie sexually assaulting Theresa who’s passed out after swallowing too many sleeping pills. And while he’s raping her, he’s shouting out his love for her instead of trying to save her life! No wonder ‘Bad Timing’ got an X-rating. Garfunkel and the 21-year old Russell reportedly tried to quit just four days into the shoot and Roeg sometimes kept his drug and booze-fueled crew working for up to 24 hours at a time. (Theresa must have nevertheless had a masochistic side because she married Roeg two years later.) The movie was trashed on release both by critics and the film's own backers, one even calling it "a sick movie, made by sick people for sick people.”

Well, being sympathetic to the devil’s bad deeds does not automatically guarantee a great movie, but it can sure help to assure a cult film director’s mythical reputation. Hell, it worked for Cammell and Roeg, as it did for the director who’ll be the subject of my next post. So don’t slash your wrists or make a blood pact with the devil just yet, okay?

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Six Sick Degrees of Separation in Hollywood, Part Three!

Timothy Carey


He was known for stealing the spotlight from other actors, making up his own dialogue during the shooting of a scene, and being an all-round weirdo. Like John Cassavetes, Timothy Carey started out as an actor, making memorable appearances in the Stanley Kubrick classics, ‘Paths of Glory’ and ‘The Killing’, before eventually turning himself into an offbeat – and that’s putting it mildly - filmmaker. 

In 1962, Carey produced, directed, and starred in his own movie, the incredibly strange low-budget flick, ‘The World's Greatest Sinner’. For some, this is the worst picture ever made; for others, it’s a groundbreaking attempt at a personal statement. One thing for sure: it flopped big time! Too avant-garde for its era and totally misunderstood.

Timothy Carey comix

Check out these YouTube clips and judge for yourself.

The World's Greatest Sinner

The World's Greatest Sinner Scene

Cassavetes, to his credit, was a great supporter of Carey’s demented creative mind and always backed his delirious projects, sometimes at his own risk.

A true anecdote: John dropped in on his buddy Timothy who had decided to become a dog trainer!? (Go figure…) Let’s just say that Carey’s Rottweilers liked John a little too much, but Carey managed to put a leash on ‘em in the nick of time. Nobody ever got a leash on Carey, though!

Timothy Carey comix panel

I could go on and on about Carey’s endless and fascinating history of bizarre behavior, but I’ll stop here and suggest that you read all about him this September in my who’s who of mad moviemakers, Sinemania!

And thats a wrap on my Six Sick Degrees of Separations story.  Or in other words: ‘The Bad, the Good and the Ugly’!  I hope it whetted your appetite for more tales of the life and times of some of my favorite crazed creators of motion picture mayhem. Wait until you read what I’ve got in store for you soon, same Bat Time, same Bat Blog! (So to speak…)

Monday, 8 July 2013

Six Sick Degrees of Separation in Hollywood, Part Two!

Rosemary's baby


John Cassavetes starred in Roman Polanski’s 1968 satanic smash, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, in which he portrayed a struggling New York actor who sells his infant to the devil in exchange for a successful stage career. Now Cassavetes and Polanski didn’t have much in common besides being filmmakers, their morals and cinematic visions being at polar opposites. Their personality differences led to heated on-set arguments with the most notorious one involving Polanski boasting about his extramarital affairs to Cassavetes, who happened to be a faithful devoted husband. Instead of feeding Roman’s insecure narcissistic ego, John didn’t hesitate to put him back in his place.

Afterwards, passive aggressive behavior began to plague the film shoot. For instance, when Cassavetes tried to offer some advice on how to improve a scene, Polanski would brush him off, saying that Cassavetes wasn’t even a real filmmaker!

And yet, by ‘68 John Cassavetes had a few movies under his belt as a director, including the innovative ‘Shadows’. But because they were not to Polanski’s liking, he just didn’t consider him his equal despite John being an innovative filmmaker, not only starting a new cinematic movement (improvisational cinema vérité) but also fathering a kid who became a film director himself. Whoa! Hold that thought… Not just one kid, but two! Wait! Better make that three! All of whom make movies!!

Now try to beat that, Polanski!

Nick Cassavetes
Xan Cassavetes
zoe Cassavetes

Besides recreating versions of himself, Cassavetes was known for his passion for his wife, Gena Rowlands, as well as his constant boozing from dusk till dawn. Bizarrely, nobody knew he had a drinking problem because, sober or drunk, his personality never changed. He remained generous to his actors on film sets, trusting their improvisational skills and giving them carte blanche. Quite a contrast to that micro-managing control freak, Polanski.

Cassavetes’ best buddies and partners in crime were Ben Gazzara and Peter Falk. Just watch these guys give the Three Stooges a run for their money on The Dick Cavett Show!  Notice Dick’s discomfort as Cassavetes, Falk, and Gazzara ostensibly plug their new film, ‘Husbands’. The usually cool, calm, and collected Cavett, one of the best talk show hosts ever, was obviously way over his head with these jokers!

Cavett Show

Coming up:  the third and final piece of this six degrees of separation puzzle. One of Cassavetes’ favorite actors: a true eccentric, a one in a million maniac of a man whom I simply could not resist including in Sinemania!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Six Sick Degrees of Separation in Hollywood, Part One!

Hollywood Oscars

In Tinseltown, everybody who’s anybody knows one another, often intimately. And one thing’s for certain: they love or hate their peers with a passion that’s often plagued with jealousy, controversy, and even steamy scandal! Which leads me today to look at the first of three filmmakers hated by Hollywood, but who I’ve lovingly depicted in my upcoming book, Sinemania!

These three guys sure are (or were, as two of them are dead and gone) extremely different from one another. One is a decadent midget of a man who thinks he’s above the law. The second was an intellectual booze-swilling pioneer of the cinema vérité movement. And the third was an hulking iconoclastic buffoon who believed in the power of flatulence. For real! Now, in a weird way, there are actually six degrees of separation between them. Get ready for a head-scratcher of a story as I proceed to unravel the details of how these men’s lives and work intertwined!

Roman polanski


Oh God, spare us! Polanski’s in town and he’s on the loose! Lock up your daughters! All kidding aside, for my book, I was really itching to tell the story of naughty Roman. But I didn’t feel like going into the sordid details of his notorious ‘70s rape case, or trod the well-worn path of telling the same old tragic tale of how his wife, Sharon Tate, met her demise at the hands of Charles Manson’s followers in 1969.

Well then, what to do? How do I depict this wildly hedonistic movie-making midget? How do I give my readers an idea of what makes Polanski, well, Polanski?!  Hmm, this is a tough one… Wait a sec… Ah ha! I got it!! Why not imagine what Roman was like as a very little brat in kindergarten? Perfect! And after that flash of inspiration, the rest came easily. 

Polanski! In the corner! Now!!

For decades, Polanski has been living in France as a fugitive from the long arm of the American law while still enjoying being in the spotlight. But I’m not sure if, at his age and being a father and all, he’s finally kicked his libidinous habits and is able to keep it in his pants. When I saw the pictures of him and his wife at the most recent Cannes Film Festival, I couldn’t help but wonder… 

Polanski red carpet

Now don’t get me wrong, for all his excesses, Polanski’s a brilliant storyteller and most of his films are bloody masterpieces. For more on the tumultuous life of that legendary horny playboy, be sure to see the HBO documentary, ‘Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired’.

If you’re a film buff, you may already know that lusty Roman will always have a connection to a pioneering art house film director I referred to earlier: the one and the only John Cassavetes. I’ll get to that story in my next post so hang on to your hat! The plot thickens, my dear reader!