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Movie Musicals

May 22, 1994

With journalists such as Chris Willman ("What a Fantastick Concept," Film Clips, May 1) misrepresenting the facts about the artistic and financial success of live-action movie musicals in recent decades, it is no wonder that Hollywood is reluctant to release them.

While it is true that the last blockbuster live-action musical was "Grease," both "Annie" and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" brought in considerable sums to the box office, not to mention dance musicals such as "Footloose," "Flashdance" and the recent "Strictly Ballroom."

Also, to state that there hasn't been a great movie musical since "West Side Story" in 1961 is preposterous. What about best picture Oscar winners "My Fair Lady," "The Sound of Music" and "Oliver!" not to mention best picture nominees such as "Mary Poppins," "Funny Girl," "The Music Man" and "Cabaret"?

The heyday of the movie musical may have long passed, but its recent history has not been as bleak as Willman suggests.

ROBERT WARGO

West Hollywood

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