The fugitive

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Topping all other Hollywood scandals of its era was the 1977 arrest of Rosemary's Baby director Roman Polanski for allegedly having sex with a 13-year-old girl (in Jack Nicholson's house, no less). As Marina Zenovich confirms in the documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, he's guilty - they did have sex, her plied with champagne and Quaaludes. But the girl (now a married mother) and many others believe that Polanski wasn't the only adult male in the situation to go too far.

The filmmaker interviews many principals and delves into news archives, laying out a fresh, clear record of the incident up to Polanski's flight to Paris before a last court date, from which he'd never return to the U.S. Included are an introduction to his social-butterfly persona, the extraordinary tragedies in his life (parents killed in the Holocaust, pregnant wife Sharon Tate murdered by the Manson family) and his films, through a clever infusion of clips and soundtrack music.

Backed by the words of the defense attorney and the former D.A., Zenovich also contends that Polanski and his victim suffered a miscarriage of justice at the hands of a capricious, publicity-hungry judge who basically directed the trial from his chambers. Once or twice, the filmmaker veers uncomfortably close to becoming Polanski's apologist, but she rights herself and refocuses on the big picture, that this was a sad story for everyone involved.