Take a 13-year-old American girl, a randy (albeit brilliant) movie director decades her senior, and a nude private photo shoot in Hollywood’s hottest hottub (Jack Nicholson unknowingly donated his to the cause), and you’ve got the ingredients for a monster scandal — even without the champagne and Quaaludes.
After churning out some of Hollywood’s most memorable movies (Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown), Polish director Roman Polanski was charged with rape, sodomy, child molestation and giving drugs to a minor. The ensuing trial dragged on throughout 1977, and public opinion around the world was split as to his guilt, with the European media blaming victim Samantha Gailey (now Geimer) and American media gunning for pervy perp Polanski.
The 44-year-old director Polanski ultimately pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, and was sentenced to 90 days in state prison for psychiatric evaluation. But as the 2008 documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired revealed, the director found out the judge was plotting a much harsher punishment and he skedaddled to France, where he remains a fugitive.
In a brand new twist, Wanted and Desired uncovered possible prosecutorial misconduct that could overturn the 30-year-old case. Too bad for Polanski that the film wasn’t made earlier — he might have been able to pick up his 2002 Best Director Oscar for The Pianist in person.