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'Dog Day,' by the Script

March 25, 2000

Film editor Dede Allen has style and grace, for which generations of directors and writers have admired her. But the title sequence of "Dog Day Afternoon" was not her idea ("It Took Determination, Talent to Keep Careers a Cut Above," by Susan King, March 18). It was described in detail in my screenplay, long before Dede or even Sidney Lumet read it.

The screenplay began with a montage of images to evoke the desperate heat and gritty reality of an August (dog day) afternoon in New York City. It mingled random shots of street and city scenes with shots of the principals (although the audience would not yet know they were actors in the body of the dramatic action). The accompanying soundtrack (as scripted) mingled street sounds, radios, source music, TV news bulletins, ending with "Amoreena's" crazed romantic yearnings to make an ironic comment on the disparity between the hopes and dreams of our characters and the reality in which they lived.

Her inspiration was to strip away the randomness of the audio track as scripted and organize the visuals simply to "Amoreena's" rhythm. That was terrific. But it wasn't just put on and "Sidney fell in love with it." It was in the screenplay.

FRANK PIERSON

Pacific Palisades

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