The ill-tempered Henry G. Saperstein is lost at sea when he attempts to defend the role of his kind of producer versus the real auteur in creating a great motion picture (Calendar Letters, June 7).
He would not have stood a chance in the era of producers like Selznick, whose "Rebecca" is a classic for several reasons, not least of which is that Hitchcock had the good judgment to shoot it in black-and-white, working in creative tandem with the producer.
Selznick understood these things; Saperstein does not. Would he claim that Hitchcock was not the auteur of "Psycho," nor James Whale of "The Invisible Man," Michael Curtiz of "Casablanca," John Ford of "Stagecoach" or "The Informer"?
Not every subject finds its best rendering in color, witness Universal's distressingly lurid remake of "The Phantom of the Opera," whose horror cries for black-and-white. Monument Valley becomes a picture post card in color; only in black-and-white does the full impact of its sinister landscape emerge.
I suppose it wouldn't make any noticeable difference if you colorized a Saperstein production, nor could you possibly ruin a Woody Allen movie in black-and-white by coloring it.
But until Mr. S. learns to distinguish between subjects that demand color and those that just as peremptorily require the gradations of black-and-white for their best artistic rendering, he will remain a small talent in terms of film art.
JAMES L. WILKINSON