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Film Responsibility

June 15, 1992

Motion picture production, in the new Hollywood, has become more craft than art ("Violence: Merely Entertaining or Mainly Evil?," May 25). The "look" of a picture is more important than content. The rule Conflict Is Drama was always part of the old Hollywood, but there's a more important rule the new Hollywood has forgotten: Create Interesting Characters.

Many will remember a time looking up at the screen and dreaming of being wherever the locale was, or becoming the hero or heroine. When we look up at the screen today, we see ourselves pitted against society's swollen, bumbling, even evil, institutions looking down at us from the screen. There is no life in these movies, only existence. There is no room for imagination. No poetry. No humor. There is only nihilism. We used to go to a movie to escape from the reality of our daily lives. Now we only see more reality.

The old studio heads had a social contract in mind when they made their movies. Samuel Goldwyn formulated a mythical Midwestern small-town waitress, Lizzie, who represented the mainstream movie audience. On the Goldwyn lot, the reply to any new or novel idea would be: "Will Lizzie like it?"

"Why so much violence?" is not the right question to ask the Wassermans and Medavoys of today's studios. The question to ask is: "Who is your Lizzie?"

ROBERT McCORMAC

San Marino

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