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The Script's the Thing

June 13, 1998

Robert W. Welkos quotes John Frankenheimer as saying, "I want [the possessory credit] because I'm the first one there and the last one to leave. I'm the guy who is responsible for the movie. . . . I'm the point man out there" ("A Film By [Your Name Here]," June 6).

Right, Frankie, the script just materialized after you got there.

It was this same John "Point Man" Frankenheimer who some years ago, having fallen out of favor after a string of movie misses, decried in a Times interview that no one any longer offered him first-rate scripts--consequently, it was no longer possible for him to make first-rate movies.

Some of Frankenheimer's earlier endeavors were written by Paddy Chayefsky, Rod Serling, Dalton Trumbo, Alvin Sargent, George Axelrod, Elmore Leonard and Eugene O'Neill, among others.

It seems that what Frankenheimer possesses is a short memory and a swollen ego.

ANDREW J. FENADY

Andrew J. Fenady Productions

Los Angeles

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The real issue here is what's appropriate and fair. While Frankenheimer has a neat little litmus test--"I'm the first one there and the last one to leave"--I can't help but fear that will only lead to a possessory credit for the person who runs craft services.

Maybe the directors are right. Perhaps I should just embrace the cold, hard reality of this business and toss ethics and honesty out the window. From now on I'm going to demand that my credit read: "Written by a guy who thinks the director is an egomaniacal jerk." Hey, it's a free country and anyone can negotiate for anything they want.

RICK GITELSON

Studio City

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