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.


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.


Co-CEO, Imagine Entertainment


Los Angeles