Monday, May 26, 2008
Sydney Pollack, 1935-2008
Sydney Pollack, movie director, dead at the age of 73. I was surprised to read in Pollack's New York Times obit that he had directed ony one comedy, but it sure was a good one: Tootsie. Of course, when you get Bill Murray to be in your movie, you have to work pretty hard to make it not funny, and Pollack surrounded Murray with a dream cast: Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Dustin Hoffman, and the very young Geena Davis in her skivvies.
Plus Pollack himself was in that, playing Dustin Hoffman's exasperated agent, which happened at Hoffman's insistence. Pollack also acted in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, and was one of the reasons for that film's failure; where the character was supposed to be shadowy and threatening, Pollack came across like the guy you got seated next to at a wedding where you didn't know either the bride or the groom all that well. Pollack had actually started out as an actor, studying with Sanford Meisner at thre Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City in the late 1950s.
Among Pollack's other directing credits are The Firm, unseen by me, Out of Africa, unseen by me, and They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, which I'd really like to see.