Harvey Weinstein is reading up on another legendary filmmaker who fell hard

Image: Reuters/Lucas Jackson
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This morning, Harvey Weinstein arrived at the 1st precinct police station in New York City to turn himself in to face charges of rape and sex abuse. As he left his car and entered a throng of flashing camera lights, the former movie mogul clutched three books under his arm, like a shield.

Scores of women have come forward to say Weinstein sexually abused and harassed them over the last three decades. The initial investigations into Weinstein have created massive ripple effects in the film industry and many other industries, and across the world. Today the former producer surrendered for two of the allegations against him, and was released on $1 million cash bail.

The books he was holding appeared to be: Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution, by Todd S. Purdum (2018), Elia Kazan: A biography (2005), by Richard Schickel, and a notebook.

The Kazan biography is particularly on-the-nose for the voracious reader. The legendary and divisive filmmaker born in 1909 made A Streetcar Named Desire and East of Eden. In 1952, Kazan caved to pressure from the House Un-American Activities Committee, a US government group that investigated people with possible ties to Communism. While others took principled stands not to name names, he named eight members of the American Communist Party, a decision that would irreparably damage his legacy.

“You will feel his agony, you will hear of the old friends who never spoke to him again, and you realise how Kazan was haunted by the incident as long as he lived,” the Guardian writes of Kazan’s 1988 autobiography, A Life.

Kazan, who died in 2003, was also an unabashed womanizer, and was posthumously accused of sexual misconduct. Even though Kazan’s legacy of critically acclaimed work is inextricably linked to his personal behavior, history seems to have forgiven him, and he’s remembered mostly as a genius filmmaker. Perhaps Weinstein is hoping for similar absolution.