The Significance of Sydney Pollack's Character

#1
There has been some small discussion of Sydney Pollack's character in the show - Dr. Warren Feldman. He played a doctor who murdered his wife, her aunt and the mailman. SP is a great director and actor and has been in some very big movies. He directed Tootsie and had a producer credit and an acting part too.

There may well be some non-obvious significance to the character he plays in this episode. On the surface, he plays a doctor who murdered his wife and was now in prison working as an orderly. Kind of a big co-incidence that he happened to specialize in exactly the kind of disease that JS had. He told Johnny that he probably had a year or so to live but was proven wrong.

OK. But is that all there is to the significance of this character? It hardly seems like a good reason to use such a distinguished professional to play this part. DC doesn't usually have characters appear to play "throwaway" parts and it seems like a waste to use such a distinguished pro to play such a small part in a "throwaway role". If this is all there is to SP's role, I'm left thinking there must be something more to it, other than what appeared on the surface.

Anyone have any ideas?

One possibility is that DC might just be a big fan and wanted to have SP appear in the show - perhaps as a matter of prestige. Or perhaps it was just an issue of one professional wanting to have another professional associated with his work. Still, I get the feeling that there must be something more to this than meets the eye and that this doctor character will either appear again or that he will somehow impact future events.

There is nothing in IMDB about David Chase and Pollack ever having previously worked together. Still, it seems to me there must be more to this than meets the eye.

IMDB:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001628/

Re: The Significance of Sydney Pollack

#2
Johnny Sac seemed to be talking about mob business a whole lot more openly when he was sure he was dying. Then, that wife killer even brought up the recent hit on the NY guy to Johnny as if he was probing for more information. It made me a bit uncomfortable to see Sac flappin' his mouth off. Who knows what else he told this guy... and if it was anything important, I would expect to see that character resurface again soon.

Re: The Significance of Sydney Pollack

#4
Who is more evil? A Doctor who saved lives with his skill and is well acclaimed but killed his family members and the postman for his status' demise or a man who runs a crime family whose murdering people kept him successful with criminal and leadership skills / expertise whose focus is saving his immediate family, financial arrangement, love of wife and children.

Re: The Significance of Sydney Pollack

#6
I think Rike's theory about the character resurfacing later on would make for a great storyline, and Sydney Pollack is a very skilled actor. However, I'm not sure Johnny Sac really gave him that much information, or at least any that could be used against anyone later on. We only saw him tell the "And that was Carmine Lupertazzi" story, but the only reason he probably felt comfortable sharing that one was that Carmine is already dead. I doubt he shared too much else, especially dealing with anyone currently alive and susceptible to legal implications.

Plus, when the question of this character's significance was brought up earlier in another thread, my initial thought was that Sydney Pollack was simply playing in a "throwaway" role here. I think since this was Johnny Sac's last episode, David Chase wanted to give Vincent Curatola a lot of screen time - and felt the need to introduce a new, interesting (but ultimately inconsequential) character for him to interact with in the process.

I could be wrong, but I have a feeling this character won't be coming back.

Re: The Significance of Sydney Pollack

#7
Universal Polymath wrote:I could be wrong, but I have a feeling this character won't be coming back.


I agree. I don't see Pollack's role here being much different than Hal Holbrook's or Ben Kingsley's or that actor who played Dr. Pfeffler (sp). They've never been shy about having some big-name guest stars. The interesting thing is, I thought Pollack's acting, like Bogdonavich's, was very good. Maybe these directors are on the wrong side of the camera.

Re: The Significance of Sydney Pollack

#8
I doubt he shared too much else, especially dealing with anyone currently alive and susceptible to legal implications.


Well, if he is willing to smoke and says that he don't give a shit about that because, "what have I got to lose?", I think the same attitude might apply towards his oath of Omerta.

I could be wrong, but it seems to fit with that attitude.

Re: The Significance of Sydney Pollack

#9
"I've been wanting to meet you."

Didn't his character say something like that? It struck me as weird at the time and with all this speculation that he could be more important to the story, maybe he IS an FBI agent. I don't think he is, but his character seemed to be really needy of John. Possibly he made a deal with the FBI to shorten his time in the can.

Re: The Significance of Sydney Pollack

#10
I think since this was Johnny Sac's last episode, David Chase wanted to give Vincent Curatola a lot of screen time - and felt the need to introduce a new, interesting (but ultimately inconsequential) character for him to interact with in the process.

I like your theory.

It would have been disappointing if Johnny Sack's last ep didn't have much meat in it for him. He needed more than just scenes with his family. And the character, Warren, had an interesting little story himself and was a rather macabre character, so that was good. The irony of the guy's life (a life-giver who became a life-taker) was a nice note.

He gave Johnny false hope -- and the viewers, as well. Was there anyone else besides me who hoped he was right and Johnny would last another year or so?
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