The film-ratings travesty, which has recently made a victim of Alan Parker's "Angel Heart," has many villains. Not only is the Motion Picture Assn. of America at fault, but also Tri-Star Pictures, theater chains, television stations and newspapers in general. Each has a simple solution at its fingertips and refuses to employ it.
The MPAA could adopt an A or AO rating. They have that power. Jack Valenti's excuse for not doing so is, to say the least, insufficient (Saturday Letters, Feb. 28). They must realize that the ratings system is a form of censorship and that the A rating would alleviate the problem somewhat.
Valenti's contention that the A rating would become the kind of stigma that X has come to be is highly unlikely. Pornographers have a financial interest in remaining distinct from the mainstream. They would, therefore, be quite likely to retain the X rating, which is universally understood.
While there is some validity to the argument that the MPAA doesn't force newspapers, theater chains or TV stations to treat the X rating as a scarlet letter, the fact is that they do. The MPAA's resolute refusal to face that fact hurts films and, by extension, their audiences.