Roman Polanski’s hot tub of doom

In March of 1977, about 14 months before shooting began on The Shining, Jack Nicholson took a vacation to Colorado, apparently leaving his palace on Mulholland Drive in the care of Anjelica Huston, Marlon Brando's maid, and Chinatown director Roman Polanski. Polanski, 44, owed the French edition of Vogue a photo story and had decided that the best place for a second sitting with subject Samantha Geimer, who was from the Valley and who was 13, would be Nicholson's hot tub. The photographer and the model shared drinks and chemical treats. They retired early, and the rest is infamy.

The unprecedented carnival of Polanski's trial—it seems quaint, almost alien, in our post-O.J. universe—led to his conviction of charges of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, his flight from justice to Paris via LAX, and the peculiar spectacle of his 2002 Academy Award, which he won for The Pianist. Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, HBO's artfully tawdry documentary about this affair, features a nice Oscar-clip moment near its end: The other four nominees sit electrified in their evening suits. Polanski stands behind a bullhorn in a still photo. Hazy Harrison Ford manages to get his name out. Martin Scorsese forces a big smile. This is what professional redemption looks like in Hollywood.


Directors, Documentary, TV

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