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Bellah Lettres

January 20, 1991

In Josh Greenfield's review of Wendy Smith's "Real Life Drama" (Dec. 9), Clifford Odets was acknowledged as the writer of "Waiting for Lefty," but the line "Print the legend" was quoted from the film "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," with nary an author in sight.

Film dialogue is not created by immaculate conception. "Liberty Valance" (directed by John Ford) was an original screenplay by the late James Warner Bellah and Willis Goldbeck.

I met Mr. Bellah at Warner Bros. when he was writing Westerns for television. I remember him as an elegant man with a historian's knowledge of the American West. In addition to his work for film and television, he wrote the short stories on which three other films directed by John Ford were based: "Rio Grande," "Fort Apache" and "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon."

CHARLES S. SWARTZ, SHERMAN OAKS

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