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Skewed Messages in 'The Accused'

November 20, 1988

The "message" was totally missed in the examination of the movie "The Accused."

Allen's claim that for the audience the appeal of "Accused" is being able to watch the rape scene is ridiculous. The young men without dates whom Allen claimed were present in numbers in the theater could have easily rented any X-rated movie at their local video store to see some gratuitous sex, without the expense and bother of going to a movie house.

But I also think the writer and producer of "Accused" missed the point of their own message entirely. The tag to the film--"In the United States a rape is reported every six minutes," is an ominous warning that, although true, does not go to the heart of the issues in this movie.

I would have rewritten it to say, "Cases like Sarah Tobias' have set the legal precedent in America that being an encouraging voice in an angry crowd can result in the accusation and conviction of people who are accessories to rape."

Perhaps this is not such a tidy message, but if I'm one of the good old boys of a gang, it's important that I leave the theater realizing that compliance in a rape can bring the same consequences as actual participation in it.

BRUCE TENNANT

Long Beach

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