Golden Era

Culture That Created Polanski

Hollywood produced not only amazing films in the '70s, but also an amazing hedonistic excess. The Independent examines the culture of the era in which Roman Polanski thrived and Mamas and Papas musician John Phillips carried on an incestuous relationship with his daughter Mackenzie. Before AIDS came along and spoiled all the fun, drug-fueled orgies were the norm—at least according to wild and perhaps exaggerated accounts of the era. The old studio system had crumbled away, allowing more creative freedom for directors, but one tradition remained: the casting couch. Older men were as much Svengalis as exploiters—sleeping with young women, and then turning them into huge stars. Writer Geoffrey Macnab says that the "combination of profligate spending and profligate living" sabotaged many great careers. "Their hubris was self-evident, whether it was the belief that they could do what they liked on screen, whatever the expense, or behave how they liked off-screen, whatever the cost in broken lives."