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Confidentially . . .

September 21, 1997

Re James Ellroy's concern that "noir" pieces like "Mulholland Falls" and "Devil in a Blue Dress" were the commercial failures that might doom "L.A. Confidential" ("L.A. Beyond Your Wildest Nightmare," by John Milward, Sept. 7).

"Mulholland Falls" failed from lack of creative marketing, plain and simple. But the failure of "Devil in a Blue Dress" stemmed from two issues, both unrelated to "L.A. Confidential." First, it was an African American-themed film the studio did not know how to market. Secondly, Denzel Washington is black America's No. 1 male romantic lead. Have you ever seen a detective story in which the romantic lead didn't get the girl, if only for a little while?

For Washington and co-star Jennifer Beals to act like brother and sister instead of the lovers Walter Mosley portrayed so magnificently in his novel was an insult to the African American moviegoing audience.

I haven't seen "L.A. Confidential," but I'll bet you dime to a dollar the detective gets the girl.

ROLAND S. JEFFERSON

Los Angeles

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