Looking at the Relationship Between Women and Hollywood : A World Where Only Blockbusters Count

I want to commend Elaine Dutka and Sharon Bernstein for their thoughtful articles (cover stories, Nov. 11).

As they noted, Hollywood is so blockbuster-driven that a critical success and modest commercial hit such as "Postcards From the Edge" (the only real "women's" movie of 45 films over the last four months) will probably not get the credit it deserves.

In the Dutka article, producer Mark Johnson says more people will go to see Jack Nicholson than Meryl Streep. Generally, that may be true; but the box-office grosses of their recent pictures raise some questions.

Nicholson and Streep appeared together in "Heartburn" (1986) and "Ironweed" (1987), and neither was commercially successful. This year Nicholson directed and starred in "The Two Jakes," a commercial bomb. Streep was the star of "Postcards From the Edge," which has earned nearly four times as much as "Jakes." (I know Nicholson was in the phenomenon "Batman," but this was an "event" movie that is difficult to compare to other films.) My point is that there is a definite double standard in Hollywood when it comes to the major male and female stars.

FRED SAMPSON, Alexandria, Va.

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