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Misguided Colonel

October 20, 1985

Michael Wilmington rightly recognizes "Colonel Redl" as a brilliant film but he seems unaware of its narrow view of history (" 'Colonel Redl': Idealism Sells Out to Evil," Oct. 10).

Alfred Redl was, as the film suggests, a victim of the rigid Viennese class structure but far more to the point was the damage that he did in his seven years as a Russian spy. As the head of Austrian military intelligence, his treachery greatly aided the Russians in their attempts to stir up revolt in the eastern provinces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a situation that led directly to the first World War. This is rather a major point for a film about Redl to overlook.

The poetic license to which film writers and directors feel they are entitled becomes problematic when dealing with history. I shall not be at all surprised if one day we get a film about Adolf Hitler presenting him as a misguided idealist whose problems stemmed from his thwarted affections for his niece Geli.

TONY THOMAS

Burbank

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