Mail from our readers
Your article on Cinema Literacy (May 10) was fantastic! Thanks to Ty Burr and Owen Gleiberman for including such films as Behind the Green Door, Jaws, and Dirty Harry on their list of essential films. Most magazines won’t even recognize these classic movies! Again, thanks!
James A. Hall
I scored 189 on your Cinema Literacy quiz, which qualifies me to teach a film studies course, according to you. Well yes, but maybe at a very small junior college. After all, what institution of higher learning would hire an instructor who couldn’t answer that Sandra Dee’s real name was Alexandra Zuck, or that Veronica Lake’s last movie was Flesh Feast? I hang my head. But hey, I think I deserve some credit for being a film buff who has reached the sage old age of 44 without ever having sat all the way through Mary Poppins (one look at ”Spoonful of Sugar” and it was all over for me), who never saw The Sound of Music, and who has a copy of The Giant Claw on tape. I demand a recount.
Travis Michael Holder
Toluca Lake, Calif.
I have hosted the showing of old movies on the local PBS station for the past 14 years. I was therefore chagrined when I scored a paltry 193 on your movie quiz. My pride aside, I want to tell you that I consider this the fairest and most comprehensive quiz of this type that I have encountered, and I have had plenty of these things shoved under my nose. Thank you for a challenging and entertaining movie quiz.
Okay, so I can’t tell Tim Curry’s legs from Steve Martin’s nose. But I do know that the photo on page 23 of your Cinema Literacy story is not of Clint Eastwood playing Dirty Harry. Harry Callahan never wore cowboy boots! That photo was from Eastwood’s Coogan’s Bluff. And how come there was nothing in your quiz about probably the greatest movie of 1966, What’s Up, Tiger Lily? No wonder I’m Cin-illiterate.
Chino Hills, Calif.
Ed. Note: Mr. Garrett, you and all the other readers who wrote in to ”make our day” by spotting our picture faux pas may hereby give yourselves 10 bonus points on our quiz.
Owen Gleiberman’s open letter to me (April 26) requesting that I permit public exhibition of Todd Haynes’ movie Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story misses the point. The issue is not, as Gleiberman suggests, the content of the movie, but rather Haynes’ behavior. When Haynes requested permission in 1987 to use several Carpenters songs in the movie, his request was denied. His request was also denied by others who own and control all of the recordings and much greater portions of the songs than the Carpenters do. Despite having been denied permission, Haynes chose to proceed with his production, and to include the material for which he had been denied permission. He then distributed the movie to dozens of theaters, for which he was paid. His decision to make his movie using this material amounted to a deliberate attack on the rights of those who Gleiberman now suggests ought to give their blessing to Haynes’ exhibition of the movie.