He was no Spielberg, Hitchcock, Wilder, Welles or Scorsese when it came to making movies that were trendsetters or genre-benders, but he did make movies that made a distinct mark of their own. Sydney Pollack – the director, producer and actor died today at the age of 73.

I have seen some of the movies that he directed, which include his famous pairing with Robert Redford – Out of Africa (for which he received his only Academy award out of the three nominations), The Way we Were and Three Days of the Condor.

Out of Africa remains my personal favorite amongst the movies he directed. The movie had all the right ingredients of a classic – stellar actors in Redford and Streep, an epic tale, sweeping cinematography of the lush African landscape, a soul-stirring score and a great script . This movie is about a story of a married Danish Baroness, Karen(played with aching honesty by Meryl Streep) falling in love with a lonely, dashing and free-spirited hunter, Denys (who else but Redford could have played him) . If you have seen the movie you will realize the intensity of the following dialogue:

Denys:You’ve ruined it for me, you know.
Karen: Ruined what?
Denys: Being alone.

If you haven’t seen it yet, go rent a copy today and experience it.

Sydney Pollack also appeared as an actor in movies such as Eyes Wide Shut , more recently in Michael Clayton (which he also co-produced) and had repeat appearances as Will Truman’s dad on Will and Grace. He also formed the production house Mirage along with Anthony Minghella who passed away earlier this year. Together they produced movies such as Cold Mountain, The Talented Mr Ripley and Michael Clayton. Both of them will be missed.