follow us in feedly
‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’: When Hugh Hefner and Roman Polanski made a movie

Roman Polanski’s first film after the horrific murder of his wife Sharon Tate and their friends at 10050 Cielo Drive, Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, in 1969 was a reworking of William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth. Polanski said the murders had traumatised him to such an extent that making movies seemed utterly pointless.

I couldn’t think of a subject that seemed worthwhile or dignified enough to spend a year or more on it, in view of what happened to me.

That may sound extremely pompous, but I couldn’t make another suspense story. And I certainly couldn’t make a comedy: I couldn’t make a casual film.

Polanski suffered a severe depression. He was deranged with grief and felt a terrible guilt for what had happened. He abandoned the film he had been working on, The Day of the Dolphin, but eventually he started to tentatively look for a subject of substance worthy of his attention. He had once had an ambition to make a film based on one of Shakespeare’s plays. Together with the writer and critic Kenneth Tynan he began adapting Macbeth for the screen.

This dark film of witchcraft and brutal, bloody murder was considered too close to the recent events in Polanski’s life for any Hollywood studio to produce. The director therefore approached a friend, Victor Lownes, who was a senior executive with Playboy. Lownes had been partying with Polanski the night of the Manson murders. He had also produced Monty Python’s first theatrical film And Now For Something Completely Different. Lownes secured $1,500,000 from Hugh Hefner to make Macbeth.

Polanski and Tynan refused to cast the expected middleaged Shakespearean actors in the lead roles opting instead for the relatively unknown Jon Finch as Macbeth and Francesca Annis as his wife, with Martin Shaw as Banquo and Terence Bayler as MacDuff. Polanski had met Finch on a plane journey and was mesmerized by the young actor’s charisma. Finch was then best known for his television work, while Annis had at one time been considered the next Elizabeth Taylor. In fact Taylor herself briefly took the actress “under her wing.” She had also modelled and was friends with a many of London’s music scene—including Jimi Hendrix.

Filming took place during some of the worst weather imaginable in Wales and the north of England. The weather along with Polanski’s perfectionism and his insistence on multiple takes caused a $600,000 overspend. On its release, the critics were overly harsh—either damning it with feint praise or like Pauline Kael, impolitely suggesting that the excessive violence in the film was Polanski’s way of exorcising his wife’s murder. The film was bleak, unrelentingly so, with an ambiguously downbeat ending. However, it was also far, far better than any critic gave it credit for, and Polanski was more in tune with a younger audience who were coming of age at the start of the 1970s against a background of Vietnam, the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and terrorism across Europe and the Middle East.
More ‘Macbeth’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Meet the mysterious ‘white witch’ who exorcised David Bowie’s cocaine palace

During the mid-1970s David Bowie entered his “Thin White Duke” phase, and this period has uniquely added to the Bowie mystique as well as become an object of special fascination to Bowie fans. (Among other things it produced my own favorite Bowie album, Station to Station.) It’s especially fascinating to us, I think, because Bowie seems to have lost track of himself a little bit in a way that was never true in any other period, in his phantastical ruminations about Nazis, Manson, cocaine, and his own bodily essences. Just a couple of weeks ago, DM featured a comic book about this period called “The Side Effects of the Cocaine,” the title of which comes from a line in Bowie’s song “Station to Station.”

When he arrived in 1975, Bowie was staying at the Los Feliz house of Glenn Hughes, bassist for Deep Purple, who lived just down the road from “the LaBianca house,” as Hughes recalls, being the site of one of the Manson murders in 1969, specifically the killing of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca two days after the murder of Sharon Tate and several other people in Benedict Canyon. As 1975 progressed and faded into 1976, Bowie would suffer from powerful forebodings right out of another connection to Roman Polanski, Rosemary’s Baby.

Bowie in his “Thin White Duke” phase, here during a 1976 concert in Toronto
The artistic and sensitive Bowie clearly perceived a malign influence from the Manson connection to Hughes’ home. He was using huge amounts of cocaine. According to Marc Spitz’s 2010 Bowie: A Biography, Bowie was “obsessed with using occult magic to attain success and protect himself from demonic forces.”

(A brief note on Spitz. Spitz is not a careful writer, and his book is riddled with annoying typos and mistaken facts. However, on the general subject of whether he is a reliable source, he does appear to have gotten his interviewees on the record. Peter Bebergal, author of the recent Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll, appears to regard him as a reliable source.)

According to Hughes, “David had a fear of heights and wouldn’t go into an elevator. ... He never used to go above the third floor. Ever. If I got him into an elevator, it was frightening. He was paranoid and so I became paranoid. We partied in private.” Bowie himself has stated the effect that the cocaine was having on his paranoia: “Cocaine severs any link you have with another human being. … Around late 1975 everything was starting to break up.”

Quoting Spitz again: “Bowie would sit in the house with a pile of high-quality cocaine atop the glass coffee table.” Bowie became obsessed with the book Psychic Self-Defense by Dion Fortune (Bebergal confirms this bit), which describes itself as a “safeguard for protecting yourself against paranormal malevolence.” Among other things, “Bowie began drawing protective pentagrams on every surface.”

As Hughes says, “He felt inclined to go on very bizarre tangents about Aleister Crowley or the Nazis or numerals a lot. … He was completely wired. Maniacally wired. I could not keep up with him. He was on the edge all the time of paranoia, and also going on about things I had no friggin’ idea of what he was talking about. He’d go into a rap on it and I wouldn’t know what he was talking about.” As Bowie himself remembered, “My other fascination was with the Nazis and their search for the Holy Grail. ... I paid with the worst manic depression of my life. … My psyche went through the roof, it just fractured into pieces. I was hallucinating twenty- four hours a day. ... I felt like I’d fallen into the bowels of the earth.”

At his wit’s end, Bowie reached out to Cherry Vanilla, a former employee of Bowie’s management company MainMan, who witnessed much of this paranoid, debauched phase. Cherry Vanilla verified the connection between Bowie and a “white witch”—racial connotations aside, and those are by no means absent from this story either, but the term is intended to distinguish witches whose effects are “good” and “evil”—who would purify his living premises. “He had this whole thing about these black girls who were trying to get him to impregnate them to make a devil baby,” says Vanilla. “He asked me to get him a white witch to take this curse off of him. He was serious, you know. And I actually knew somebody in New York who claimed she was a white witch. She was the only white witch I ever met. So I put him in touch with her. I don’t know what ever happened to her. And I don’t know if she removed the curse. I guess she did.”

This comic by Vaughn Bodē from July 1973 is one of the few surviving visual depictions of the self-professed “white witch” Walli Elmlark.
That “white witch” was one Walli Elmlark, who had taught some classes in magic at the New York School of Occult Arts and Sciences on Fourteenth Street in New York. She wrote a gossip column in the rock magazine Circus and had known Jimi Hendrix and was also friendly with Marc Bolan. A couple years earlier, Elmlark had recorded a spoken-word album with King Crimson’s Robert Fripp named The Cosmic Children; it has never been released. According to Sid Smith’s book In The Court Of King Crimson,

In June 1972, Fripp finished recording an album with a Wiccan journalist, called Walli Elmlark. The album was called The Cosmic Children. Side one consists of Fripp and Elmlark in conversation where she outlines her experiences and commitment to Wicca. On side two, she talks to DJ Jeff Dexter about cosmic children—spirits from other places who take physical forms such as Hendrix, Bolan, Bowie and Mike Gibbons, drummer with Badfinger. Talking to NME’s Simon Stable, Fripp stated: “The function of the album is to reach out to the children like the drummer from Badfinger, I want to say; ‘You’re not nutty, you’re not a freak because you can’t relate to what’s around you.’”

Elmlark had also published (per Spitz) “a cosmic paperback full of collages, poetry, personal confessions and observations,” which bore the title Rock Raps of the 70’s. It was co-written with occultist Timothy Green Beckley. According to that book, Elmlark was fond of wearing a “floor length clingy high necked long sleeved black jersey, and a floor length chiffon over dress that floats around me like a mysterious mist of motion.”

Summoned to Bowie’s residence, she quickly and apparently successfully exorcised the pool. This next bit is confirmed in Backstage Passes: Life on the Wild Side with David Bowie the memoir by Angie Bowie, David’s wife during this period who was also living there at the time: “At a certain point in the ritual, the pool began to bubble. It bubbled vigorously—perhaps ‘thrashed’ is a better term—in a manner inconsistent with any explanation involving filters and the like.” As Spitz wrote: “Elmlark wrote a series of spells and incantations out for Bowie, in case the demons return for a dip, and remained on call for Bowie as he continued to wrestle with the forces of darkness.”

Of all the people in this narrative, the one who knew Elmlark the best was Beckley, by far. Beckley was the director of the New York School of Occult Arts and Sciences where Elmlark taught and also co-wrote the Rock Raps book with her. In the Conspiracy Journal, issue #549, Beckley describes her as follows:

Wallie was known widely as the White Witch Of New York. Because of her contacts in the music industry, she had established quite an eclectic clientele for whom she would offer spiritual guidance, and occasional good luck or love spells, but always of a positive nature. She didn’t dabble in black magick or even gris gris (a New Orleans form of “gray magick” that incorporates poppets and the use of talismans kept in a personal mojo bag). Walli was lively, imaginative, energetic, well spoken, and quite attractive in her flowing white garments complete with fashionable silver moon adornments. Oh did I forget to mention long black hair, complete with dyed green streak highlights? Indeed, Walli made a very bold fashion and occult statement wherever she went.

There is surprisingly little about Walli on the Internet, for someone who “made a very bold fashion statement,” introduced Robert Fripp to the occult, and exorcised David Bowie’s house, you would think her name would be a staple in rock and roll lore—but it doesn’t appear to be the case. I couldn’t find a picture of her, aside from the Bodē cartoon above, and the main thing she is known for on the Internet is her authorship of the Rock Raps book. I was unable to find Walli’s obituary.

Spitz says that “Elmlark departed from this plane of existence in 1991.” Based on a few ramblings I saw on a message board I don’t take too seriously, it’s possible that she overdosed on barbiturates. Beckley, overly addicted to euphemism, says, “Several years went by and Walli met an untimely passing as she could not remove the demons in her own life, even though she had a dramatic impact on almost everyone she came in contact with,” before recounting a lot of incidents from the 1970s like the Fripp album and so on. His final words on Walli are, “Somehow I can’t exclude the fact that Walli looks down from time to time and perhaps sings along with David Bowie as he performs all over the world in concert.” 

I don’t know about you, but after all that, I could stand to hear “Station to Station”:

Vaughn Bodē comic copyright Mark Bode 2015

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Watch ‘Mia and Roman,’ an insufferable 1968 mini-doc on the making of ‘Rosemary’s Baby’
12:10 pm


Roman Polanski
Mia Farrow
Rosemary's Baby

My love for Rosemary’s Baby is a paradox I navigate deftly, considering how much I loathe both Mia Farrow and Roman Polanski as human beings. With Polanski, my complaints are predictable, but Farrow is a far less frequent object of scorn, so I’ll just say I find her support of Polanski hypocritical, her kid-collecting a tad excessive, and her acting often cloyingly twee. I’ve long suspected the canned ingenue thing is really just an extension of her own affected persona; the woman makes Godard’s female characters look like Sarah Conner. Still, I’d argue that Mia Farrow’s simpering sweetness and Roman Polanski’s predatory instincts are exactly what make Rosemary’s Baby work so well—who better to paint a nightmarish situation in which women are repeatedly victimized and never believed? The 1968 mini-documentary on the making of that masterpiece—Mia and Roman-pretty much confirms my instinctual distaste for both of them.

Polanski’s pretentious and macho, driving race cars and callously expounding on how Farrow was not his first choice for the lead—“I saw a more healthier, more stronger maybe a little more sexy girl in the beginning.” Farrow—just back from the infamous trip to India where she meditated with The Beatles—fawns breathily and paints her trailer with flower-power schmaltz. Even Polanski admits there is something contrived about her public face. Perhaps portending of her future child menagerie, Mia goes on about her extensive pet collection.

I think the worst part is the charts they both make—Mia for the crew, and Roman for Mia—that attempt to measure the “good behavior” of their subjects. I’m not sure exactly what made Mia Farrow think this was cute and not crazy diva bullshit (Obliviousness? Did she think her unintimidating haircut inoculated her from accusations of prima donna eccentricity?) and Polanski’s elaborate revision of her original design has the additional feel of a creepy paternalism. I cannot imagine working with two such insufferable people. I checked though—Rosemary’s Baby? Still an amazing movie.

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Behind the scenes of ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ with ‘Mia and Roman’
05:58 pm


Roman Polanski
Mia Farrow

There’s no denying that Rosemary’s Baby is one of the scariest and creepiest movies ever made. The first time I saw it, I was up “late” with my mother, who was waiting for my father to come home from a night shift, and it was on TV. I don’t know how old I was—young—but even if I didn’t exactly get what was going on, I certainly got the gist of it and that was enough for it to be, well, fucking frightening.

The whole friendly old people and Satan routine was a new one in screen horror and when you throw in those primordial maternal fears of a pregnant woman, holy shit is that film intense. Rosemary’s Baby is an evergreen movie masterpiece. It’s a film for the ages and will still be watched as long as the human race exists. It’s a perfectly cut cinematic diamond.

This fascinating time capsule piece “Mia and Roman” was made soon after the film had wrapped production—this isn’t a made for DVD extra produced decades later—and features tons of behind-the-scenes footage. Polanski discusses how supreme attention to the smallest details are of paramount importance to him as a director and describes how he likes to watch the actors block out their scenes without any suggestions from him before he decides where to place his camera.

We also see Polanski driving race cars and fencing. Farrow lists all of the animals she has in her menagerie and spouts some “love and peace” stuff that she’d learned hanging out at the ashram with the Maharishi and the Beatles. Farrow says that she and Polanski just “groove together” and he (very sincerely) praises he professionalism as an actress to the hilt.

Krzysztof Komeda’s haunting score for the film is used throughout. Komeda would die from a head injury not long after completing work on Rosemary’s Baby.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Sad footage of Sharon Tate’s funeral, 1969
11:21 am


Roman Polanski
Sharon Tate
Manson Family

One of the most somber scenes you’ll ever see, the raw film footage from the NBC News archives of Sharon Tate’s funeral. John and Michelle Phillips, Warren Beatty, Yul Brynner, Doris Tate and a visibly distraught Roman Polanski—he looks like he can barely stand and who could blame him—are seen.

Sharon Tate was interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California, with her unborn son, Paul Richard Polanski, cradled in her arms, on Wednesday, August 13, 1969. I can hardly imagine anything sadder than such an occasion.

The news report as it ran on NBC News can be seen here.

Thank you, Chris Campion

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Rosemary’s Baby, the White Album and the Manson Murders: Conspiracy Coincidence Syndrome Overload

Save for the Kennedy assassination, coincidence has perhaps never coagulated with the same deeply improbable intensity as it did around the Manson killings.

Stranger still is the manner in which coincidence seems to knit the Tate/LaBianca murders together with both Rosemary’s Baby (a great film) and “the White Album” (a great record), as if all three were somehow of a piece—and in a sense that goes beyond the former’s being directed by Polanski, or the latter’s inspiring Manson’s derided “Helter Skelter” scenario.

Take, as a mere appetizer, the possibility that the Beatles may have stayed (and dropped acid) at 10050 Cielo Drive in the mid-sixties, something (apparently unwittingly) implied by John Lennon during a 1974 Rolling Stone interview.

And then, well, we just decided to take LSD again in California…We were on tour, in one of those houses, like Doris Day’s house or wherever it was we used to stay. And the three of us took it. Ringo, George and I… And a couple of the Byrds… Crosby and the other guy, who used to be the leader… McGuinn. I think they came round, I’m not sure, on a few trips.

Terry Melcher, of course, was Doris Day’s son, the Byrds’ producer, Manson’s almost-producer, and Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski’s predecessor at 10050 Cielo Drive.

In normal circumstances, Mother Superior could very well be accused of having jumped the gun were we to therefore conclude that the Beatles probably had sat turning their minds inside-out within the very walls that would—a few years later—have their as-yet unwritten song-titles scrawled upon them in blood (as if the killers were tracing indentations made by psychic shrapnel). Circumstances, however, are anything but normal…

In the spring of 1968—a handful of years after those mooted sojourns at Cielo Drive—the Beatles made their pilgrimage to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Valley of the Saints in Rishikesh, part of a sparkling celebrity coterie that included Mia Farrow and Mike Love. For the next couple of months, the days were mostly spent in epic bouts of Transcendental Meditation, as the Maharishi attempted to guide the most famous men in the world—who he himself described as “angels”—towards “total consciousness.” The Beatles, though, would spend much of their spare time writing songs – particularly Lennon, who found they were veritably “pouring out.”

Many of these new tunes would find their way onto the Beatles’ next LP, “the White Album.” One such was Lennon’s “Dear Prudence,” which playfully chided Prudence Farrow, Mia Farrow’s sister, for excessive metaphysical studiousness.

Mia Farrow herself had only recently completed filming Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby. Her exquisite performance as Rosemary—a resident of New York’s Dakota building, impregnated with an anti-Christ by a coven of neighboring witches—surely meant she arrived in the Valley of the Saints carrying some very interesting inner baggage. Certainly her stay would leave its mark on history—most chroniclers ascribing some rumored sexual impropriety (or worse) on the part of the Maharishi towards Farrow as being the principal reason for Lennon and Harrison’s (the last remaining Beatles) acrimonious departure that August.
Lennon later claimed that, while packing his bags, he came up with the rudiments of another tune destined for “the White Album,” “Sexy Sadie,” four syllables that supplanted the original—and extremely libelous—“Maharishi.” The same four syllables would also find themselves supplanting the name of Manson Family Tate/LaBianca murderess Susan Atkins—known in the Family as “Sadie Mae Glutz” prior to Manson’s fateful encounter with “the White Album.” Before falling in with Manson, Atkins was an associate of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan. LaVey is said to have served as an unaccredited technical adviser on Rosemary’s Baby.

Incidentally, Lennon and Harrison’s jaded view of the Maharishi was such that, when their protracted flight from Rishikesh was impeded by a series of disruptions—they were abandoned in a broken-down taxi, and Harrison soon thought he was coming down with dysentery— our ruffled angels feared they had been cursed by their unceremoniously discharged guru. (Echoes, here, of Bobby Beausoleil’s attempted escape from Kenneth Anger, legendarily curtailed by Anger’s magickal locket.)

Around the very time the Beatles were arriving in Rishikesh, meanwhile, Mike Love’s cousin and fellow Beach Boy Dennis Wilson would reportedly pick up hitchhikers (and Manson Family members) Patricia Krenwinkel and Ella Jo Bailey in Malibu.

Whether or not this actually happened (Charles Manson, for one, would later contradict this account, saying he first met Wilson at the house of a mutual friend’s) Wilson would definitely spend the following months as a sponsor and de facto member of the Family—footing the bill for their VD treatments (and much more besides), introducing Manson to industry figures like Neil Young and Terry Melcher, and so on.

Although Death Valley—in apparent contradistinction to the Valley of the Saints—sounded like an overtly hedonistic and nihilistic environment, Manson arguably presided over a commune no less spiritually preoccupied than the Maharishi’s, and Mike Love and Dennis Wilson seemed similarly as well as simultaneously attracted to their Ying/Yang gurus. But it appears positively miraculous that Wilson would be fraternizing with Manson while his cousin, on the other side of the world, would be fraternizing with the Beatles at the very time the songs were “pouring out” for “the White Album,” some of which would find themselves daubed on the walls at Cielo Drive in Sharon Tate’s blood, and two of which concerned Prudence and Mia Farrow, the latter having only just starred in a role once earmarked for Tate herself…

And that, as aficionados know only too well, ain’t even the half of it. (A little more to come from me on the topic though, shortly.)

Mark Reeve’s superb essay on the Beatles and the occult is a clear predecessor to the above piece, and can be read in the Headpress collection Gathering of the Tribe

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Leave a comment
Halloween treat: Roman Polanski’s ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’
02:03 am


Roman Polanski
The Fearless Vampire Killers

Here’s a Halloween treat for Dangerous Minds readers: one of my all-time favorite Roman Polanski movies, The Fearless Vampire Killers.

Polanski directed and stars in this delightfully warped horror/comedy which features his stunningly beautiful wife Sharon Tate and the very funny Jack MacGowran. When it was released in the USA in 1967 (in a version butchered by MGM Studios),The Fearless Vampire Killers was ignored by audiences and trashed by film critics. But over the years, the film has developed a cult following and has been subject to critical revision that has shifted in Polanski’s favor. FVK may not be in the same league as Polanski’s masterpieces, but it is highly entertaining and beautifully crafted.

Anyone who is a fan of the lushly produced and oftentimes sexy vampire movies that came out of Hammer Studios in the Sixties will appreciate Polanski’s highly-stylized Technicolor take on Transylvania with its elegantly decadent vampires flitting through gorgeously gothic boudoirs and ballrooms.

The Fearless Vampire Killers presented in its uncut European version:

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Polanski’s new film ‘Carnage’ to open the 2011 NY Film Festival
03:53 am


Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski’s new film, Carnage, looks like a juicy combination of Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Wolf, Knife In Water and Repulsion.

Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, and John C. Reilly appear to be bringing some very edgy performances to the project.  Roman is a great director of actors and he has a knack for bringing out their dark side. Love the Winslet freak out in the clip.

Carnage, based on a play by Yasmina Reza, opens the 2011 New York Film Festival which runs from September 30 until October 16. It opens in select theaters in December in order to qualify for Oscar nominations. I predict it will receive noms in the acting categories, screenplay and director. I’ll put money on it.

This is at the top of my “must see” list.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Director cameos in their own and others’ films

Alfred Hitchcock made a habit of appearing in his own films, it became such a distraction that the great director ensured his trade-mark profile appeared soon after the opening titles, so audiences could concentrate on the intricacies of the plot rather than play Where’s Alfie?.

Over the years, other directors have adopted the Hitchcockian cameo (M Night Shyamalan being the most irritating), or turned it into a memorable scene - Martin Scorsese’s creepy cameo as a cuckolded husband in Taxi Driver is a small film all of its own. There have also been the directors who give cameos to the film-makers who influenced or inspired their careers - Jean-Luc Goddard’s homage to the genius Sam Fuller in Pierre le Fou, where the legendary director of The Steel Helmet, Underworld USA, The Naked Kiss and Shock Corridor expounds on cinema:

“Film is like a battleground. Love. Hate. Action. Violence. Death. In one word . . . emotion.”

Here is just a small selection of some notable cameos by directors in their own and in other director’s films.

Legendary director Sam Fuller appears in this party scene from Jean-Luc Goddard’s ‘Pierrot le Fou’ (1965)
More directors in front of the camera, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Incredible recordings of Roman Polanski’s interview with the LAPD, 1969

Backporch Tapes have just uploaded these two incredible recordings purported to be of Roman Polanski’s lie detector interview with the LAPD August 16 1969, just one week after the murder of his wife, after Sharon Tate.

The overall sound quality is poor, and Polanski sounds confused and upset, but certain questions and answers can be heard clearly - Polanski’s psychological state, his medication, his knowledge of the Polish army, and on the second clip, Polanski’s thoughts about the killer’s motives, and his suggestion of looking for something much more “far out.”

Lie Detector Test: LAPD interview Roman Polanski August 16 1969

Lie Detector Test: LAPD interview Roman Polanski August 16 1969, in which he discusses possible motive.
Previously on DM

Uncanny resemblance to Charles Manson appears in Sharon Tate’s last film

With thanks to Simon Wells

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
A luminous beauty: The short life and tragic death of actress Françoise Dorleac

Françoise Dorleac made her first film when she just 15. “A photographer asked if I would model for some fashion pictures and I said fine. A producer saw my pictures in the press and hired me for a small role for a film during the school holidays.” Acting was in her blood. Her father, Maurice Dorleac, was a veteran character actor of stage and screen; her mother, Renee Simonot, was an actress who revoiced Hollywood films, including Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz; her younger sister is Catherine Deneuve.

Françoise was as beautiful, as talented, and as big an international star as her younger sister. However, Françoise wasn’t as ambitious or as wild as Catherine.

“I see myself as a girl who is always dreaming of romance, and the man she wants to marry, a girl who dances when she is happy.”

Françoise made sixteen films during her short career, including Roman Polanski’s classic film Cul de Sac, in which she brilliantly captured the self-obsessed Teresa against the weak and dominated, Donald Pleasance, as George. Françoise gave substance to Francois Truffaut’s tale of adultery La Peau Douce (aka The Soft Skin), and was almost a match for Michael Caine’s Harry Palmer in Ken Russell’s greatly under-rated The Billion Dollar Brain .

On 26 June 1967, Françoise died in an horrific accident when she lost control of her rented car on the Esterel-Côte d’Azur freeway. She was traveling to Nice airport to fly to London, where she was to finish filming on The Billion Dollar Brain . The car flipped over and burst into flames. Witnesses saw the actress struggle to escape the vehicle, but she was unable to open the door. Police identified Dorleac from a stub of her check book, her diary and her driving license.

Her early death at the age 25, has often over-shadowed the quality of her work - both as actress and singer - and it robbed cinema of “a tried and true talent and incomparably beautiful mademoiselle who showed every sign of taking Hollywood by storm.”

Here is something to remember her by: the beautiful and wonderful Françoise singing, Mario J’ai Mal. Plus a bonus clip of Françoise with her sister Catherine Deneuve in the candy-colored musical Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (aka The Young Girls of Rochefort), in which they co-starred with Gene Kelly.

Bonus clip of Françoise Dorleac and Catherine Deneuve, after the jump…
With thanks to Tony Vermillion 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Bunnies in the cockpit: Hugh Hefner and Roman Polanski aboard the Playboy ‘Big Bunny’ Jet

I could fake it and pretend I have some culturally significant insight about this video, but I don’t. It’s mod and sexy, it’s black and white and Barbi Benton is in it. Shot in 1970. Dig?


Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Roman Polanski birthday card
06:26 pm


Roman Polanski

“You’ll always be a little girl in my eyes.”
Apparently, champagne and Quaaludes are not included. Purchase from Heeb Magazine for $5 each or 10 for $30.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Roman Polanski: No Matter How You Slice It, He Raped a Child



I’m shocked—I shouldn’t be, but I am—shocked at all the Hollywood celebs who are standing up for Roman Polanski. I think Polanski is a truly great film artist, a genius, I really do and I have sympathy for a man who went through what he went through with the Manson murders, but this does not excuse what he did. Towering cinematic great, yes, but he’s also a man who drugged and anally raped a 13-year old child! Time doesn’t really erase a crime like that—or shouldn’t.

I thought it was poor taste when everyone suddenly had amnesia about Michael Jackson, too. Musical genius, sure, but it was the first time I ever found myself 100% in agreement with Bill O’Reilly, I just could not stomach the sight of people lauding this kiddly fiddler like he was fucking Gandhi!!!  It stank to high heaven and so does this Polanski episode. Once again, I find myself in agreement with O’Reilly and even with his guest, the utterly insufferable, Dennis Miller. I don’t like it any more than you do, but they ARE right:

[An old friend of mine, Michael Kurcfeld, introduced Polanski and Miller in Paris. Miller refers to this in the clip.]

Not long after I watched the above segment, I then read an article on the Daily Beast titled Polanski’s Victim And Me by the celebrated novelist Robert Goolrick. It’s a horrifying, eyes wide-open confessional so skillfully written it breaks your heart. Trust me, you won’t be on the fence about Roman Polanski’s fate after you read it. Bravo to Goolrick for the essay. I think it will set a lot of people straight on this one.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Hold It There, Kitty-Cat!  The Polanski Doll (With Shiv)
05:20 pm


Roman Polanski

After getting nabbed in Switzerland over the weekend, film director Roman Polanski is now “wanted and desired” back in the States.  Judging, though, by the picture above, extraditing Polanski won’t be easy.  As the Huffington Post corroborates, he still looks “very determined to defend himself!”

In the Huffington Post: Polanski To FIGHT Extradition

(Spotted via TrendHunter)

Posted by Bradley Novicoff | Leave a comment
Page 1 of 2  1 2 >