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cjrogan2003

Sydney Pollack's liberal bias

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Last Sunday when Sydney Pollack was introducing the Essentials for Force of Evil, he complained how director Abraham Polonsky, who was a hardcore Communist, was a very good talent and one of Hollywood's best. He then complained about how the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings were a very shameful time period in American history and made you ashamed to be an American and that Polonsky was robbed of his creative talent because of this. I'm hardly surprised that Pollack would say this, because he has publicly stated that Fidel Castro's regime is excellent. But I don't want to hear his liberal bias on my favorite network. What do you think?

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I don't wish to hear it either. It should be interesting when Pollack introduces the essential film "On the Waterfront" directed by Elia Kazan since Kazan ratted out

Polonsky during the witch hunt trials and it was differcult for him to find work and support his family.

When Kazan got his special Oscar Polonsky was hoping that someone would shoot him. Both men are now dead.

I just wonder if Pollack has the balls to rip into Kazan during the introduction of the film?

 

Mongo

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Yeah, introducing an "Essential" just isn't the place for that sort of thing.

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[edited for grammer]

 

Yeah, the introduction of an Essential just isn't the place for that sort of thing.

 

Thank you

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I agree with Antar that an introduction spot of any kind is not the place for someone to express his personal political viewpoints. I also disagree that these Forums are the place to express political viewpoints, because it always seems clear to me that it's not what has been said by someone nearly as much as it's the political orientation that it's said from that it was even mentioned in our Forums to being with.

 

So, I'll ask you cjrogan, did you object to what Pollack said, or was it really because he is a Liberal, while you are a Conservative and you won't be open to the viewpoint of anyone outside of Conservatism?

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Robert Osborne is pretty politically neutral in his commentaries on TCM, they should require that of their new hosts.

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I am not criticizing Sydney Pollack for being liberal, I was criticizing him overemphasizing on Abraham Polonsky. When I said Polonsky was a hardcore Communist I meant it, and he remained one until his dying day. During a 1996 interview for AMC with Edward Dmytryk, he said that the Party was merely a "social club" and Dmytryk responded by saying that he was still being misled. Polonsky talked very demeaning about Elia Kazan, and said that he wanted to shoot him on more than one occasion.

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Can you really blame Polonsky for wanting to shoot Kazan since he ratted him out to save his own ****. I understand that Dymtryk also ratted out his comrades.

Understand I'm not in defense of Commies I just don't like rats.

Shameful.

 

Mongo

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Nor will I ever defend Communism or Communists. The title of the original post was "Sydney Pollack's liberal bias", and I was merely attempting to point out that by posting such a message on our Boards, his wasn't the only "bias" that was showing, and that such biases don't have a place in our Forums any more than Pollack's views had a place in his introduction spot.

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I don't mind politics creeping into these discussions (or Sydney Pollack's intros and outros) as long as it is balanced with history. So let me clear up a few misconceptions in this thread:

 

First of all, Elia Kazan did not "rat on" Abraham Polonsky. When Kazan voluntarily testified before HUAC the second time in 1952 (he was subpeonaed the first time, and refused to testify), he confined his testimony to the people he knew in the Group Theatre back in the 1930s. With only three exceptions, the people he named were either dead or had been out of the entertainment industry for years, and their unapologetic Stalinist stands were well-known to the general public before Kazan testified. One of the people he named, playwright Clifford Odets, felt emboldened enough by Kazan that he voluntarily testified as well, discussing his testimony with Kazan before his appearance.

 

Kazan's decision was not an easy one. If he didn't testify, he aided the Communists, whom he hated. If he did testify, he risked alienating his fellow "liberals." It was basically keep quiet and save his ****, or speak up and save his soul. Kazan made his decision, and never looked back.

 

Polonsky's name never came up during Kazan's testimony. Polonsky, in effect, outed himself when he was called before HUAC and pleaded the Fifth, but his Stalinist sympathies were well-known before then. And by his own admission, Polonsky made more money writing teleplays and the occasional screenplay AFTER he was blacklisted than before.

 

Nowadays, it's unthinkable to defend Stalin, especially when his crimes against his own people have been well documented. But Polonsky defended Stalin till his dying day in 1999. The biggest reason that he wanted to shoot Kazan was that he felt that Kazan, an ex-Communist, was a traitor to "the cause."

 

With the publication of the Venona papers (the KGB's secret archive) in recent years, which document the Communist infiltration of Hollywood back in the late '40s and '50s, it's easy to see that Kazan was a hero and a patriot, rather than the pariah that the new Left tries to make him into today.

 

I don't like rats, either. But as Kazan showed in ON THE WATERFRONT, sometimes it's necessary to endure a lesser evil to defeat a greater evil -- and the two are always defeated together.

 

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Coffeedan, I truly appreciate your well-thought-out contribution to this thread. During a time in History, Communism had definitely found it's way into Hollywood. The careers, of those associated with Communistic idealogy and activity were destroyed, and in some cases the movie industry suffered the losses of some very talented people. I've also read that there were totally innocent people whose careers suffered because of being wrongly accused of being Communists.

 

I would support a discussion about this particular political issue (as it related to Hollywood and it's people at the time), but only if it doesn't in any way lead directly into the political bias of anyone here that gets foisted on the rest of us and very quickly becomes the true reason for why the discussion was begun.

 

We all have our own political orientations and random biases concerning them, but I honestly do not think that getting up on a soapbox to express our biases, or to take shots at the biases of others, on our boards is acceptable, and that too often the subject title is a very thinly disquised ruse to just that, and that alone. Rogan didn't even make an attempt to disguise his bias, and I found that offensive, just as I found Pollack's remarks in his intro. to be offensive.

 

 

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I guess I better stop reading the newspaper since it appears I'm all screwed up. When Kazan died it read that he DID rat out Polonsky among others.

It further fueled my speculatation when Kazan was awarded his special Oscar and many in the film colony was against it. Why?

In any event I will always appreciate Kazan as a fine film director while I will doubt his integrity as a human being.

 

Mongo

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First of all I myself have heard different stories concerning this issue myself. It's just another example of how history can be twisted about because many people believe what they want to believe and they pass on this disinformation to others and it ends up being like a game of "telephone".

 

Now, on to rogan's main point about Sydney Pollack's liberal bias--I tend to agree with coffeedan in that I also don't mind politics showing up here or there as long as knowledge and history are involved. Hell, in this country we live in every which way you swing a cat you are going to hit someone with an opinion or a bias. The news, the press....even at holiday get togethers with the family. Why should TCM be any different?? I'm a little surprised you are not used to this by now rogan. I watch TCM for the wonderful movies they air, and if they keep it up I'll keep on watchin'. If I may make a suggestion, rogan, why don't you quit searching for the negative in EVERYTHING, make yourself a big bowl of popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show.

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Coffeedan, I don't know if it was good thing or not when Kazan testified, but by doing so he SAVED his career. The people who REFUSED to testify had their careers ruined. If he had kept quiet his liberal friends would have admired him, but I don't think any studio would hire him.

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If he had "ratted" out some Nazi sympathizers, would he be so demeaned? Stalin and Hitler were the same. Those fellow travelers followed evil. They were wrong.

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My only problem with Pollack on this show is that he tends to ramble frequently, going on and on about the movie of note without really saying anything insightful. And at this point, many of the Essentials are being repeated. Dump him and program something new on Sundays at 6.

 

Still, liberalism aside, Pollack has a handful of truly great films to his credit (They Shoot Horses, Don't They?; The Way We Were; Tootsie).

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What bothers me is that Pollack implies that Abraham Polonsky was not even a Communist, just an innocent victim of McCarthyism! It seems to me that Sidney Pollack likes the Communist ideology.

 

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Classicfan1119, you are just as guilty as me and Sydney Pollack by bringing YOUR political bias out into the open. If you are liberal, fine, keep it to yourself. I'll try to keep my views off this forum, and you keep yours off.

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Here's one to take to mind: "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."--Voltaire

 

If possible, let that be your guiding tenet when approaching a movie discussion relevant to politics.

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