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November 23, 2014

TCM schedules Sydney Pollack film retrospective

by Allison Waldman, posted May 28th 2008 3:39PM
Sydney PollackRecently, I wrote about why I respect, admire, and -- yes -- love Turner Classic Movies. Well, today they've done something else to reinforce my feelings. On June 2, TCM will air a salute to director Sydney Pollack, showing four of his films. The Oscar-winning director, who was also an actor and producer, passed away on Monday following a short bout with cancer. It was only a few months ago that the word spread in Hollywood that he was seriously ill. Film critic Joseph Morgenstern wrote a salute to him on February 2 in the Wall Street Journal, honoring the man before his death.

Sadly, the cancer that fell Sydney Pollack was one that didn't respond to treatment.

On Monday, TCM will show Sydney Pollack's directorial debut in features, 1965's The Slender Thread starring Sidney Poitier and Anne Bancroft. In the same year, he won an Emmy for directing The Game, part of the Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater anthology series. On TV, he'd also done Ben Casey and The Fugitive episodes, learning his craft.



Two of Sydney's collaborations with Robert Redford are scheduled for TCM's salute: Jeremiah Johnson, a western, and Three Days of the Condor, a superb spy thriller. Both films are fascinating and show how Pollack was adept in different genre.

I wish TCM could show The Way We Were, my favorite Sydney Pollack picture, starring Redford and Barbra Streisand. As a major Streisand fan -- I wrote The Barbra Streisand Scrapbook -- I can honestly say that Pollack brought out the best in Barbra.

The same could be said of his direction of Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie, which TCM is including in their retrospective. Sydney's performance in the film as Michael/Dorothy's agent is brilliant. He has some of the best lines in the picture.

In an interesting twist, TCM is running this Sydney Pollack in place of a schedule salute to William Holden. Holden received an Oscar for starring in Stalag 17; before being made into a film, Sydney Pollack originated Holden's role, Sefton, on Broadway.

TCM's connection to Sydney Pollack, which included his participation in The Essentials with Robert Osborne in 2004, won't end with this June 2 tribute. On the new TCM Presents Elvis Mitchell: Under the Influence series, there's an episode with Sydney that will be followed by another broadcast of Tootsie, as well as Vincente Minnelli's An American in Paris, a film that had a strong influence on Sydney Pollack.

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