In Polanski's 'The Ghost Writer,' Echoes of Hitchcock

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Summit Entertainment


This is a good old spy story that we haven't seen the likes of for many years. Because it involves mostly English characters, my mind wandered back to Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 film, The 39 Steps.

The Ghost Writer was directed by Roman Polanski who is now rotting away in his chalet under house arrest in Switzerland where he lives. He awaits a decision from a Swiss court on whether or not he will be extradited back to the United States to be punished for his admitted rape of a child so many years ago before he fled to France. The film, which includes beautiful and expensive sets on Martha's Vineyard and in London, does not suffer from arthritis. It moves at a riveting pace, and the performances of all the principal characters are excellent.

The Ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor) becomes a detective while hunting down the facts that will permit him to edit a manuscript and, hopefully, turn it into a bestseller. The book is based on the life of a fictitious former Prime Minister, Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan), modeled on the life of Tony Blair. The script is an attack on Blair because of his closeness to George W. Bush and America. Blair is hated by the more radical left in Britain, and he was recently called to testify by a Parliamentary commission investigating Britain's support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His enemies referred to him—unfairly, I believe—as Bush's lapdog.

Amelia Bly (Kim Cattrall) is Lang's assistant. Regrettably, her role does not include her famed sensuality portrayed in Sex and the City. The brainy and sexy character in the film is Lang's wife, Ruth (Olivia Williams), and Paul (Tom Wilkinson) is one of his classmates from their university days.

The dialogue and suspense created by director Polanski are first rate. You will enjoy this film.

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Ed Koch was mayor of NYC from 1978 to 1989. He's credited with restoring fiscal stability to the city and creating affordable housing. He's also a film buff. More

Mayor Koch saved New York City from bankruptcy and restored the pride of New Yorkers during his three terms as mayor from 1978-1989. He restored fiscal stability by placing the city on a GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practices) balanced budget. He created a housing program that provided more than 150,000 units of affordable housing and created New York City's first merit judicial selection system. Prior to being mayor, Mr. Koch served for nine years as a congressman and two years as a member of the New York City Council. He attended City College of New York from 1941 to 1943. He was drafted into the Army his last year of college and served with the 104th Infantry Division. He received two battle stars and was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant in 1946. He received his LL.B. degree from the New York University School of Law in 1948 and began to practice law immediately thereafter. He is currently a partner in the law firm of Bryan Cave LLP and hosts a call-in radio program on Bloomberg AM 1130 (WBBR). Mr. Koch appears weekly on NY1 television and is the author of ten autobiographical books.
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