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The 'Shawshank' Reality

October 15, 1994

Regarding " 'Shawshank': Solid Portrayals but a Dubious Treatment" (Sept. 23): The picture I saw was gripping, taut and crisp. The photography was a stark tapestry, and the art direction and costumes were flawless. The performances of Morgan Freeman, Tim Robbins and ensemble were heartfelt and wrenching. So, where does Kenneth Turan come up with the words "cotton candy" and "rosy glow" in looking at prison life in the '40s-'60s? Where was the "warm and cuddly fantasy" of survival in prison that I saw?

The fact that a felon can adjust to the horrors of incarceration, with hopes of self-betterment, is not a "rosy glow," it is a base sense of survival--adaptation.

The fact that some long-term prisoners fear freedom more than jail isn't "cotton candy"--freedom is sometimes scarier than we care to admit!

The "pre-mixed . . . dollop of . . . violence" that Turan writes about was not put in the film to shock or titillate the viewer but to remind us that violence is always there, all the time, just waiting--especially for a prisoner who won't "play nice."

MONA S. EDWARDS

Los Angeles

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