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The Errors Of Their Ways

November 20, 1988

USC's David H. Shepard is characterized by inaccuracy in his letter criticizing Gary Nash (Book Review, Nov. 13). His criticism revealed in his exclaiming on behalf of the "The" in the "Birth of a Nation" enjoinment is exceeded by his scintilla errata anent the film itself.

First scintilla : Author of "The Clansman" is Thomas Dixon Jr . Further, Shepard's unsupported statement that "historians have known better for years"--that the film was based on the 1906 melodrama is much mistaken. The New York Times review of March 3, 1915, emphasized that the film was based on the book , that the play "had a brief run." Moreoever, Shepard's assertion that the film used "The Leopard's Spots" as source material is nonsense; cameraman Billy Bitzer doesn't mention it in his autobiography. Yes, Lillian Gish did play Elsie Stoneman and Mae Marsh, Flora Cameron. Big deal.

ALFRED L. GINEPRA JR.

SANTA MONICA

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