I am writing to thank writers Judith Lewis and Ben Ehrenreich for their exceptional cover package on the pro-life movement [“Still the Battleground,” April 5–11]. Presently, the pro-life movement offers few realistic answers to the problem of unwanted pregnancy. Until there are adequate resources to provide for the many children who are already sitting unwanted in foster homes, adoption is not the answer. Until the social-welfare system can support unwed mothers and developmentally disabled children, keeping unwanted children is not the answer. Fundamentalists need to wake up and see the real picture, that there are children out there who cannot be cared for and women out there who are not ready to be mothers.

—Brandi Hugo Los Angeles

"Operation Miscue" by Ben Ehrenreich was an interesting mixture of fact, bias and opinion. Mr. Ehrenreich set out to establish his hope that the pro-life movement is moribund, as if that were already obvious. He cleverly weaves his facts and opinions together in order to produce the desired impression. He delights in highlighting the problems of pro-lifers, apparently unaware that his obvious bias undoes his credibility.

Michael Grumbine Whittier

Re: Judith Lewis’ "Fetal Frenzy." Social policy should endeavor to teach both males and females, from early childhood throughout their lifetimes, to accept full responsibility for all their behavior, as well as the consequences of their behavior, with special emphases on sexual behavior, which implements the process of procreation. The construction of any social policy based on emphasizing individual responsibility throughout our life cycle would surely help to bring about Ms. Lewis’ vision "in which no mother, whatever her economic circumstances, attitude or marital status, lacks the resources to feed her children."

H.M.Lewis Sr. Ocoee, Florida



Isn’t it interesting to note that in the same issue where the L.A. Weekly chronicles the decline of the pro-life movement in the U.S., Bill Bradley acutely observes Gray Davis’ insurmountable gubernatorial-campaign lead in California — driven by his exploitation of issues such as abortion [“Boxing Simon,” April 5–11]? We need to pull our heads out from under the ground and look at the real political scandal: Why does Gray Davis spend $10 million on ads accusing Richard Riordan of being too liberal and soft on abortion? In order to squash a viable Republican challenger, it would seem.

—Roger Nieves Long Beach


Re: F.X. Feeney’s review of Darkness at High Noon [Film Special Events, April 5–11]. Stanley Kramer never took away Carl Foreman’s associate-producer credit for High Noon. The studio did that. Stanley Kramer used film as a weapon against inhumanity, bigotry and abuse of power. He constantly risked his reputation and livelihood for the social causes he believed in. At the height of the McCarthy hysteria, he hired blacklisted actors, directors and writers. And when the American Legion came down hard, Kramer stood up, fought back hard, and won his right to hire anyone he damned well pleased.

Why wasn’t Foreman given the same consideration? Because he misled the entire Kramer company about his political affiliations. Still, Foreman walked away with a quarter of a million dollars from the Kramer Company, a lot of money in 1951.

—Karen Kramer Valley Village


After reading “Home Security,” Manohla Dargis’ excellent review of Panic Room [March 29–April 4], it is clear to me that she is not only one of our nation’s best film critics, but also overly enamored of David Fincher. She gets right to the heart of the issue with Fincher’s work but then wimps out, blaming someone other than Fincher for his inability to pick stronger material — as if he is somehow smart enough to know, and just doesn’t care, that his obsession with prurient and usually implausible criminal behavior bores many of us to yawns. His whole filmography is a shining example of all swagger and little substance. As Dargis and a few others have observed, Fincher’s work doesn’t seem to many of us to have the emotional or intellectual authenticity that makes great films great.

—Michael Eaton Los Angeles

Although it was wonderful to see someone share my lofty views on the work of genius filmmaker David Fincher, I couldn’t help but feel some distress at Manohla’s reference to David Koepp (the screenwriter) as being a "rotten" writer whose profitable career is a "mystery."

Such comments are downright abusive, hostile and insulting. What Dargis fails to take into account is that Koepp often writes under assignment from the studios for major tent-pole projects, on which he works under the most restrictive and controlling circumstances in an environment where the very idea of trying something new, different or complex is practically forbidden. The makers of these films want formula and simple execution. Writers in David Koepp’s position are, more often than not, deeply unhappy with the end result of their labor. Being forced to write scenes that they know don’t work or fit, or make changes that they know compromise the story or characters, are routine.

If Manohla tracked down, for example, a copy of David Koepp’s original screenplay for Carlito’s Way, she would discover that he is actually a highly skilled, highly talented screenwriter with a natural flare for pace, character development and story structure —the very reasons that Koepp is so sought-after.

Shaun O’Sullivan Los Angeles



Erin Aubry Kaplan’s “And the Oscar Goes to . . .” [March 29–April 4] was terribly insightful and, unfortunately, right on target. Call me a cynic, but Halle Berry’s performance in Monster’s Ball was only a step above Hattie McDaniel’s in Gone With the Wind. Perhaps the award should have been “for a not-so-bad actress in a somewhat marginal role, who just happened to be in the right place at the right time.” And how about Denzel? Can you imagine playing the eloquent Don Pedro in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing or the conflicted “Easy” Rawlins in Devil in a Blue Dress, only to win an Oscar for your role as a one-dimensional “Yo MTV Raps” homeboy? Still, I hope both Halle and Denzel run like the wind with these awards, because I’m sure there won’t be another affirmative-action night at the Oscars for years to come.

—L.J. Smith Los Angeles


Last week’s profile of City Garage artistic director Frederique Michel (“Frederique the Great”) implied that Michel teaches acting classes; in fact, these are production workshops restricted to members of her theater company.


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