CORRESPONDENCErnLetter From SouthrnCarolinarnby William P. BaldwinrnFamily, Films,rnand FallacyrnThere’s something about a book sale.rnThe blood quickens, the nostrils flare,rnthe eyes narrow. Anyway, it’s for a goodrncause. The “Friends of the Library” arernputting it on, and somewhere amongrnthose one hundred thousand used booksrnis at least one of value. The doors openrnand in wc rush. Almost at once, I’verngot my hands on an 1891 edition of Menrnof Iron, written and illustrated bvrnHoward Pylc. I flip through it and deliberaterna solid minute before decidingrnnot to spend two whole dollars. Thernbook dealer coming behind me snatchesrnit up.rn”You know that’s a hundred-dollarrnbook?” he asks with just a tiny hint ofrntriumph.rn”Sure,” I answer. “I always throw arnfew scraps to you dealers.”rn”What else have you got?” he asks.rn”One of Kael’s early commentaries.”rnI press mv remaining book to m chest,rnshielding it with both arms. “Only fourrnwere printed, and the Vatican has thernother three.”rnEasy come. Easy go. I passed up arnvaluable classic by my beloved HowardrnPylc and went home with a paperbackrnedition of Deeper into Movies by PaulinernKael. The loss wasn’t total. Once uponrna time, 1 admired Pauline Kael. I evenrnsubscribed to the New Yorker just to readrnher movie reviews. And she resignedrnfrom the magazine immediately afterrnthat and worked for director Robert Altmanrnuntil my subscription ran out. Irnforgave her that. Deeper into Movies wasrna collection of slightly earlier reviewsrn(1969-1972) and I was curious. Whatrnhad been running through her mind, notrnto mention my own?rnNot much, it turns out. She mentionsrn”honest cynicism” and “genuinernsophistication” and accuses us of lettingrnunhappy people make our movies. Irnflipped over a few thousand pages andrnfound this: “But since crime is causedrnby deprivation, misery, psychopathology,rnand social injustice, Dirty Harry is arndeeply immoral movie.” She doesn’trnsay whether director-star Clint Eastwoodrnis happy or not.rnSo much for memory lane. Years ago,rn1 stopped relying on what Pauline Kaelrnthought, and, after a piece on the moviernWitness, I stopped reading her NewrnYorker reviews altogether. For the uninitiated,rnthat one had Harrison Fordrnand Kelly McGillis. He was a toughrnPhiladelphia detective, she was a beautifulrnAmish widow, and they found arnfew moments of true happiness togetherrnin the bucolic farmlands of Pennsylvania.rnThere was more, of course. Herrnson was the innocent witness of a violentrncrime committed bv some corruptrnPhiladelphia policemen who come outrnto the farm to kill the deteetie and thernboy and the entire Amish community ifrnneed be. But in the end Harrison getsrnthe villains and leaes the peace-lovingrnAmish because at heart he’s a violentrnman who wants action.rnPauline Kael hated Witness. She announcedrnthat the movie was a thinly disguisedrnattack on urban America.rn(Though the few minutes of city scenesrnoccur in Philadelphia, I assumed she wasrndefending New York.) If memory serves,rnshe also claimed that the barn-raisingrnscene was stolen straight out of SevenrnBrides for Seven Brothers. The Amishrnwere just as corrupt as the rest of thernhuman race, and, what was worse, thernmovie even showed them praying. Canrnyou believe that? Amish praying?rnPauline couldn’t and said Witness was arnthinly disguised attack on all that shernheld near and dear.rnDid any of you see the movie FailrnSafe, in which the United States accidentlyrnshoots a nuclear missile atrnMoscow and to make up for it PresidentrnHenry Fonda has to drop a hydrogenrnbomb on New York City? Well, that’srnwhat I call a thinly veiled attack on New-rnYork City. But, I’m wandering. I wantrnto draw attention to the movie Paradise,rnwhich was released last )’ear on video. Arnsmall part of it was shot here in Mc-rnClellanville, and the rest was done inrnthe nearby and similar fishing communityrnof Rock’ille. Don’t expect me tornsay I didn’t like it. My friends and relativesrnwere extras, and half of them werernsitting in the theater with my wife andrnmc. Having a real live movie crew inrntown was exciting for a lot of people, especiallyrnthe children, who were drawnrnto it daily. The biggest thing since therncarnival passed through in 1938, and thernonly down side was that main street trafficrnwas halted for what seemed likernhours on end for da}S on end. Actually,rnthe final shot was never completed, becausernone killjoy locked her ear doorsrnand blew her horn until the tents werernfolded and McClellanville abandoned.rnAnd in return for this inconvenience werngot about four minutes of film immortality.rnWas it worth it? Sure. You bet.rnIf nothing else, it reminded us that wernare living in and taking for granted whatrnmany people would consider a beautifullyrnserene paradise. You bet. You bet.rnYou bet.rnParadise is what’s now called arn”weepy, feel-gooder” that concerns arncouple coming to terms with the loss ofrna child. A young city boy comes to visitrnthem for the summer. He makes friendsrnwith a young local girl, and everythingrnworks out all right. The movie got goodrnreviews from the respectable “feel-good”rncritics. The “don’t feel-good” criticsrnhated it. They said it’s plodding andrnmanipulative. It is. The writer-directorrnborrowed the plot from the Frenchrnfilm Le Grand Chemin, and after aboutrnten minutes vou start wishing for somernsubtitles to read or maybe even thernDow-Jones averages. Anything. Thernoriginal was certainly better—richer,rnrawer, even believable—but curiously,rnthe few places the American movie deviatesrn(the local girl’s relationship to herrnwaitress mother, roller-skating father,rnand aristocratic neighbor) are the fewrnplaces the film comes alive.rnThat’s not so important, though.rnWhat really matters about Paradise isrnthat it stars Don Johnson and his reallifernwife Mclanie Griffith. Why doesrnthis matter, you ask? Well, Don got famousrnplaying the flashy nonacting narcoticsrndetective on the television .showrnMiami Vice. Mclanie was in a badrnslump then, but she got back on toprnwith Working Girl, Bonfire of the Vanities,rnetc. (Don’t ask me why I know allrn38/CHRONICLESrnrnrn