Animal Images Matter

I recently took out the videotape of "Crimson Tide" and have this to say: I immensely appreciate the sensitivity with which the relationship between Gene Hackman's character in "Crimson Tide" and his Jack Russell terrier is portrayed. It is unusual. In most films where an animal has been introduced as a character, that animal is dropped and forgotten by the end of the film. Such was the case, for example, in "Outbreak," where Dustin Hoffman's character's two dogs were shown to be very important to him and were completely dropped from the script by the end of the film. Most of the time, animals are treated cruelly or are the butt of jokes.

You have no idea how many people there are out there who are much concerned with animals and their escalating abuse in society. We are also film-goers and are disgusted and turned off by the industry's usual callousness in portraying them (when they are not the "stars" of the show).

Showing Gene Hackman's captain return to his cabin after a terrible blow to his world-view as well as his ego, and not kick or abuse his dog but, on the contrary, draw solace from his company, was a joyous surprise, as was the last shot of him after resigning from the Navy, going off into the sunset, so to speak, with his little Jack Russell by his side. Images such as these are very powerful and send a strong message.

RACHEL ROSENTHAL, Los Angeles

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