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1969: Polanski vs. censors

From The Army Archerd Archive

Jan. 15, 1969

GOOD MORNING: Roman Polanski, on the longhorn from London where “Rosemary’s Baby” was scissored, sadly told us, “This is the first country where I had a censor problem.” (They cut the dream sequence where Mia Farrow’s legs are tied to the bed — and also snipped dilog preceding) … Polanski said he’ll show the original version at the London premiere, Jan. 23, but afterwards “What can I do besides protest?”… He said censor John Trevelyan also objected to black magic in the film. “I was very upset,” Roman lamented. “I didn’t contemplate any problem like this in England. We’ve had none in Italy or even in South America. I told them I didn’t see anything pornographic (as claimed) in the film.” … Polanski and wife Sharon Tate remain in England until the furor subsides then return here (to L.A). to prep “Donner Pass”… 2009 Update: The 40 years that have followed Polanski have been filled with more drama than any of his fims. On Aug. 8, 1969, Tate, eight months pregnant with Polanski’s first child, was one of several gory murder victims. Friends surrounded him and set him to work to help bury his grief. Then in 1977 he had a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl during a photo shoot at pal Jack Nicholson’s house. The charge grew and the judge was overheard, in the men’s room at Hillcrest Country Club, threatenng to “put Polanski away for good.” Howard Koch tipped off Polanski’s attorney who ordered him to flee the country immediately. He did. All attempts failed to get Polanski another venue for a retrial — or a hearing. The latest failed attempt for Polanski to return to appear at the case away from L.A. was denied as recently as this month. During all this period, Polanski made a successful and loving life in Paris, married to Emmanuelle Seigner with whom he has a son and daughter. I have visited and dined with them in Paris and they are a warm, loving, close-knit family. Roman has fimed in Europe and Africa and won the Oscar for “The Pianist” in 2002. Unable to safely return to the U.S. he accepted his award via remote TV screen. He accepted the Golden Palme in person at Cannes. He has been in preparations for several months in Germany to start filming next month on “The Ghost,” based on the international thriller novel by Robert Harris. There are important story sites in the U.S. and England — where Polanski would face arrest on arrival. Replicas of New England and London have been under construction at Studio Babelsberg, awaiting the arrivals of its inhabitants Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Ewan McGregor, Olivia Williams, Tom Wilkinson, Jim Belushi and cameras with — Roman Polanski.

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