Abraham Polonsky

Abraham Lincoln Polonsky (December 5, 1910 – October 26, 1999) was an American novelist, screenwriter and film director. In the late 1930s he joined the American Communist Party, and was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses in the 1950s.


  • First of all, directing is an idea that you have of a total flow of images that are going on, which are incidentally actors, words, and objects in space. It's an idea you have of yourself, like the idea you have of your own personality which finds its best representation in the world in terms of specific flows of imaginary images. That's what directing is.
    • as quoted in Directing the Film, Ed Sherman, 1976.

  • What are you gonna do? Kill me? Everybody dies.
    • Body and Soul (1947)

  • What do you mean "gangsters"? It's business.
    • Force of Evil (1948)

  • Yeah, yeah, I know I got rid of the headache. Now I got cancer.
    • Odds Against Tomorrow (1959)

  • "What you doin' with such a big ol' dog in New York?" "Never had a wife."
    • Odds Against Tomorrow (1959)

  • Indians don't last in prison. They weren't born for it like the whites.
    • Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969)


  • I went out and got a book on reproductions of Hopper's paintings — Third Avenue, cafeterias, all that back-lighting, and those empty streets. Even when people are there, you don't see them; somehow the environments dominate the people... I said 'This is kind of what I want.' 'Oh that!' He knew right away what 'that' was, and we had it all through the film.
    • on working with cameraman George Barnes for the film Force of Evil


  • Twenty-one years between first and second films is longer than any director should have to wait. The case of Polonsky is one of the most dismal hangovers from the McCarthy period.
    • David Thomson, The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2003, ISBN 0-375-41128-3
  • Polonsky, along with Chaplin and Losey, remains one of the great casualties of the anti-Communist hysteria of the fifties.
    • Andrew Sarris, The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1968, ISBN 0-525-47227-4

See also

  • Force of Evil
  • Mommie Dearest (to which Polonsky made uncredited contributions)
SilverdaleInteractive.com © 2019. All rights reserved.