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Otto & The Code

May 04, 1986

Otto Preminger was, of course, a distinguished motion picture director. He was not, however, a distinguished arbiter of morality or community standards ("Preminger's Assault on Hays Code," by Charles Champlin, April 26).

His so-called breakthroughs with respect to the then-existing motion picture codes were, in my judgment, breakdowns, designed more to suit his personal beliefs than to mark any universal demand on the part of the public.

The dike that he effectively helped to breach was never in real danger from him because he was a responsible motion picture director, nor from other responsible writers and directors who supported him.

The problem was that the demise of the Hays Code and its successors paved the way for a horde of non-discriminating, tasteless Philistines to impose their feeble and immoral aesthetics on the rest of us. Now our "protection" must rely on an alphabetized ranking that is all but meaningless.

I'll trade one "Gone With the Wind" for a dozen "Midnight Cowboys."

DAVID LEVY

Beverly Hills

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