Monday, May 26, 2008
Sydney Pollack Dies: The Artist Will be Sorely Missed!
I just found out that producer, actor, director Sydney Pollack died today in his home in California. I truly enjoyed his work.
Benjamin and I just talked about him today when discussing the film Michael Clayton which he also helped produce and finding out a few minutes later that he died this very day was a shock.
His Tootsie is a film I enjoyed from day one. My folks thought I'd enjoy the premise and ever since that point in time, it's been a high-frequency film for me. Pollack's own acting in the film was one of the things I enjoyed about it.
But I truly developed an appreciation for Pollack's artistic abilities when I saw Kubrick's last oeuvre Eyes Wide Shut. Pollack's portrayal of the uber-powerful New Yorker is, according to me, one of the most believable 'texts' I have seen on film. Pollack's ever so adequate taming of the main character is a piece of incomparable skill. They simply don't come like Pollack any more.
Whether he directed, acted, or produced, Pollack left an indelible mark of excellence and adequacy.
He was a man who truly got the art form of film.
And I will miss him. A great loss, indeed. Thank you Sydney Pollack for all you gave us.
This is what the Times says about him:
"Self-critical and never quite at ease with Hollywood, Mr. Pollack voiced a constant yearning for creative prerogatives more common on the stage. Yet he dived into the fray. In 1970, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?,” his bleak fable of love and death among marathon dancers in the Great Depression, based on a Horace McCoy novel, received nine Oscar nominations, including the one for directing. (Gig Young won the best supporting actor award for his performance.)
Two years later, Mr. Pollack made the mountain-man saga “Jeremiah Johnson,” one of three closely spaced pictures in which he directed Mr. Redford.
The second of those films, “The Way We Were,” about a pair of ill-fated lovers who meet up later in life, also starred Ms. Streisand and was an enormous hit despite critical hostility.
The next, “Three Days of the Condor,” another hit, about a bookish C.I.A. worker thrust into a mystery, did somewhat better with the critics. “Tense and involving,” said Roger Ebert in The Chicago Sun-Times.
With “Absence of Malice” in 1981, Mr. Pollack entered the realm of public debate. The film’s story of a newspaper reporter (Sally Field) who is fed a false story by federal officials trying to squeeze information from a businessman (Paul Newman) was widely viewed as a corrective to the adulation of investigative reporters that followed Alan J. Pakula’s hit movie “All the President’s Men,” with its portrayal of the Watergate scandal.
But only with “Tootsie,” in 1982, did Mr. Pollack become a fully realized Hollywood player."
Full feature here.
graphs per ny times