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Readers sound off on "The Talented Mr. Ripley," the late Madeline Kahn, newcomer Charlize Theron

What was really incredible about our Talented Mr. Ripley cover story (#517, Dec. 17) was the number of questions it raised among readers. Shirley Klass of Pittsburgh wondered why we didn’t mention the 1960 French movie also based on Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley novel: ”Purple Noon was enjoying a re-release just around the time that director Anthony Minghella started writing his adaptation.” Peter McGarty from Ann Arbor, Mich., asked why we ”overlooked the cast’s most talented actor, Jude Law.” Maybe because he was unrecognizable? Says Frank Todarello Jr. of Oakdale, N.Y.: ”Did Gavin Rossdale of Bush quit the band to star as Dickie Greenleaf in The Talented Mr. Ripley?” Now that would be talent.

‘Talent’ Show

Hats off to your superb article on The Talented Mr. Ripley (”Ripley — Believe It or Not”). It was insightful about the stars and the decision of the two movie studios to bankroll this dark and possibly controversial tale. I applaud Matt Damon for courageously throwing a monkey wrench into his ”good ol’ American boy” image. I hope my family forgave me for wanting to be at the opening of Ripley on Christmas Day rather than eating another turkey dinner. CRAIG PINEO brian.craig@ns.sympatico.ca Halifax, Nova Scotia

From what I’ve seen so far, The Talented Mr. Ripley promises to throw a number of intriguing — and very welcome — twists into this holiday movie season. But the twist I least expected was how your article failed to mention that the film Anthony Minghella offers us is essentially a remake. Patricia Highsmith’s novel first hit the silver screen as Purple Noon (Plein Soleil), a masterwork by French director Rene Clement that so impressed Martin Scorsese that he reintroduced it to American audiences four years ago. MARC GILLER paninaro@marco.net St. Petersburg, Fla.

Mad Love

George Hodgman’s tribute to Madeline Kahn was beautiful (”Farewell, Funny Lady”). It really came across that he loved Madeline as much as we all did. Hodgman said it all very succinctly, gracefully, and with much due reverence. Madeline Kahn always was a scene-stealer, squeezing all the humor and life out of every role she took. Even when in a critical failure (such as Mixed Nuts), she was phenomenal. Many of us will continue to mourn this loss. THOMAS NEILL Buffalo

Thanks so much to George Hodgman for his wonderful tribute to the great Madeline Kahn. She was certainly one of the funniest ladies in film history. I doubt you can think of a sidesplitting Mel Brooks picture without giving half the credit to Madeline Kahn. She was a classic scene-stealer for sure, a true comic genius, and will be missed by us all. Thankfully we have her hilarious performances on film to enjoy over and over. CHRIS SMITH ILoveMyBoxer@aol.com Chicago

Brion’s Den

EW rocks for dedicating so much space to an artist like Jon Brion (”Brion’s Song”). It’s good to see that there’s an entertainment magazine out there with a clue. I had the opportunity to attend one of Brion’s shows when I was in L.A. and I would highly recommend it for any pop-music fan. Your article may even help him get some Oscar votes for the Magnolia score. TONY LANDA humbert62@aol.com Hialeah, Fla.

Hot ‘House’

Lisa Schwarzbaum’s excellent review of Lasse Hallstrom’s great adaptation of The Cider House Rules was dead-on (”Wild Orchard”). This film showcases the best John Irving and director Hallstrom have to offer. The performances by Michael Caine, Tobey Maguire, and Delroy Lindo were truly great, but why leave out the wonderful Charlize Theron? She exhibited real warmth and beauty in the movie and gave an amazing performance. JEFF ANDERSON Philadelphia

Seeing the Light

Please give credit where credit is due (Flashes). Audio Description, the brainchild of Margaret and Cody Pfanstiehl, started at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. The idea was picked up by WGBH in Boston, and when used in film, television, or video it is called DVS (Descriptive Video Service). DVS has a library of over 200 films that it has described for people who are blind or visually impaired. Theatre Vision is a relative newcomer to the scene. In fact, DVS produced three of the described tapes you mentioned: Ghost, Psycho, and Basic Instinct. BETTY SIEGEL access@kennedy-center.org Washington, D.C.