185 Great Directors: Sydney Pollack

“I don’t value a film I’ve enjoyed making. If it’s good, it’s damned hard work.”


What Got This Director Here?
: Tootsie, mostly.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Tootsie.

What Did I Watch: They Shoot Horses Don’t They.

Where Does He Fit: The initial derby in this movie is a fucking horror show. I have no idea what Sydney Pollack did to the actors to make them look so genuinely pained and agonized as they ran around in circles, but the music and the whirling camera and the faces all just made me want to vomit. It repeats itself, just like everything does in this hellhole. The ideas conveyed are deeply unsubtle, but oh god, who cares, this is formal brilliance and it feels like I’m being dragged by the hair, with Pollack and Fonda and Young and York and Buttons and Bedelia and Fields all screaming at me as we go. Maybe I should be grateful that the viewing was on a poor quality DVD? Get this a Blu Ray and I’ll probably feel like dying.

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Most Valuable Asset: Intense skill with performers.
Most Excited For: Three Days of the Condor.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Fuck yeah. Why is his reputation so…faint? (Yes, I know he made a lot of crap and won an undeserved BP.)

Coming Up Next: British biographer Terence Davies.

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