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Hats Off to the Silent Era

April 22, 2001

In exploring the issue of respect and the Hollywood screenwriter ("Lip Service," March 25), Sean Mitchell neglects to mention the role of writers in film's silent period. Novelists, playwrights and scenarists played a crucial role in the early years of Hollywood. Many of the most powerful and highly paid screenwriters were women (Frances Marion, June Mathis and others), it was an era of bold experimentation in translating plays and novels to the screen (Erich von Stroheim's "Greed" and Mathis' "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse"), and issues involving respect and creative control appear in the years before the box-office success of "The Jazz Singer" in 1927.

Joseph Puterbaugh

Santa Monica

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