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Grazer vs. Kramer

What was the point of Larry Kramer’s assault on “Philadelphia” and the creative team behind it? (“Why I Hated Philadephia,’ ” Jan. 9). This bitter diatribe supports the time-honored adage: “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Kramer’s myopic perspective suffers from the worst kind of arrogance born of ignorance. As a onetime studio executive, Kramer ought to at least understand that Tom Hanks (whose previous two movies each grossed in excess of $100 million) is not obligated to pick risky acting parts. He chose to do “Philadelphia” because he cares about the issue of AIDS.

As a top director who walked off with a handful of Oscars for “The Silence of the Lambs,” Jonathan Demme did not have to spend two years of his life taking on a project whose commercial prospects never appeared great on paper.

If Kramer’s attempt was to motivate movie-makers to take on riskier subjects, his angry essay only works to sabotage his very agenda. Demme may not have made the exact movie Kramer had been waiting for--whatever that is--but he did tackle a subject the vast majority of our business would never have touched. And he made a movie that will help to inform, educate and, yes, even entertain millions of Americans.

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This kind of verbal assault does not stimulate risk; it stifles the creative process and pushes talented filmmakers closer to the much safer middle ground of the formula movie.

Instead of attacking the film, Kramer--of all people--ought to applaud the spirit and initiative of the movie-makers who were brave enough to use their collective creative powers to get this movie made. Unlike Kramer, the “Philadelphia” team had their hearts in the right place.

BRIAN GRAZER

Co-CEO, Imagine Entertainment

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Los Angeles


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