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Robert Rules

April 17, 1988

Regarding the transparently jealous and vicious remarks made by letter-writer Peter Masters about Robert Redford's talents as an actor, director and founder of the Sundance Institute (Calendar Letters, April 3).

A "minor talent" as an actor? Go back to "The Way We Were" and watch the memories drift across his face as he and Bradford Dillman play the "best year" game on that sailing ship.

My personal favorite is his interpretation of one single word in "Barefoot in the Park." He takes his first look at the apartment his new wife has selected, and his face conveys:

this-hell-hole-but-if-I-say-the-wrong-thing-the-marriage-is-over-and-it's- only-been-six-days-but-good-god- what-has-she-done?" But he says exactly one word: "Wow. . . ." This is also the major talent who made "Jeremiah Johnson" a cult film and "Out of Africa" a romantic classic.

As for his talents as the director of "Ordinary People," what other director enabled Mary Tyler Moore to break the mold of Mary Richards forever? What other director took the inexperienced Timothy Hutton and turned him into an actor?

In "The Milagro Beanfield War" he has done the impossible: totally submerged the ego of the director into the value of the film. Redford has given audiences something they don't often get these days: enchantment.

As for Masters' comment that the Sundance Institute "hasn't produced diddly squat over all these years," he's obviously missed the point of the Institute--it isn't a production company!

I've heard film makers say it changed their lives with its educational and experience opportunities.

Masters can take his sour grapes and go stand in the corner. The rest of us can hardly wait to see what Redford does next with his many major talents.


Palos Verdes

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