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A Gross Situation

I found your article on summer movies, “When Hollywood Feels the Heat” (May 24), truly sickening, and I don’t blame writer David J. Fox. He was just doing what’s expected.

But the article is all money--what grosses are expected and whose career may be in jeopardy. Grosses were also important in the old studio days but they weren’t all there was! It wasn’t grosses alone that impelled Metro to do “Fury,” Warners to do “Disraeli” and “The Life of Emile Zola,” Frank Capra to give us Mr. Deeds, Mr. Smith and John Doe, or Zanuck to take profits from the Faye-Grable musicals and put them into “The Grapes of Wrath,” “Gentleman’s Agreement,” “The Snake Pit” and “Pinky.”

Our country is coming apart, wounded and increasingly unhappy, because it’s more than a mere moneymaking machine: It’s an idea. And that idea has taken some terrible blows: The assassinations of the ‘60s, Vietnam, Watergate and the Rodney King beating and its aftermath, which focused a merciless light (again!) on the racism that has poisoned us since the first black slaves arrived in Virginia, a legacy we have finessed and passed on from generation to generation.

Where are the films that will celebrate (and not in any phony “land of the free and home of the brave” or “Buy American!” fashion) the American idea of a free, multiracial, multicultural people living in peace with justice? Certainly, be brutally honest about the dispirited place we now find ourselves in--but point the way to healing resolutions and the final achievement of that America which still illumines the best dreams of all our hearts.

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DICK SHEPPARD

Los Angeles


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