rivative, they often mask it with infightingndesigned to show how littlenother critics know. Simon is a master atnthis. A sampling of some of his sallies:nThe writing, directing and acting arenas amateurish as they are tendentious.n.. . Yet a number of critics, includingnPauline Kael, have given this sorrynmess their more or less guarded approval.nNor will the objection made by AndrewnSards hold . . .nThe auteur critics are, of course, foolsnto have made Siegel and most of theirnother favorites auteurs . . .nSuch comments are typically reciprocatednin kind. It’s cockfighting in tuxedosnand evening gowns. “When a child is uncertainnand anxious, he tends to becomenpetulant and lash out, kicking over hisntwo-wheeled bicycle because he hasn’tnmastered the technique of riding it.nMany film critics are at this stage of development.nIt’s not because they are unseasoned,nbut because a vocabulary ofnthe film has yet to be fiilly established.nThey’re frustrated, groping in the darknfor something to say and a way to say it.nIt’s sometimes hard to keep in mindnthat movies are made by many people.nFilms like Day for Night (Tmffaut) andnThe French Lieutenant’s Woman (Reisz)nhelp, but as the names in parenthesis indicate,nit’s common to attribute a film tonone person even if, as Simon asserts, thenauteur critics are fools. Most only knownthe big names and only a little aboutnthem: Edith Head made costumes;n”Cubby” Broccoli produces James Bondnfilms. The most intimate details in thenlives of actors and actresses, once knownnonly to readers of Photoplay, are commonnknowledge. We all know who isnabusing whom and how in personal andnintimate liaisons. Samuel Johnson recommendednthat people read biographiesnso that lessons from other lives could benlearned. He would be appalled at thengarbage being turned out by or aboutnthose associated with Hollywood.nReaders of such dross learn nothingn3()inChronicles of Culturenabout human beings; instead, they arenpresented with inconsequential itemsnabout ideaUzed or denigrated images.nA work that is efficacious in the sensenof the Cham’s dictum, a rarity in thenmidst of current HoUywoodiana, is ThenLetters of Nunnally Johnson. NunnallynJohnson was primarily a screenwriter. Onnoccasion he worked as a director and/ornproducer. For example, he wrote (adapted,nactually), directed and produced ThenThree Faces of Eve. Other films Johnsonnwas involved with include The Grapes ofnWrath, How to Marry a Millionaire, ThenMan in the Gray Flannel Suit, and thosenlight-hearted films that fit James Stewartnso well, Mr. Hobbes Takes a Vacation,nTake Her, She’s Mine and DearBrigitte.nJohnson was born in Georgia in 1897nand, like many of his contemporariesnwho became writers, he established himselfnwith pieces in Smart Set and the SaturdaynEvening Post before going west tonthat mecca for writers in the 20’s, Hollywood.nThe connections with the east arenseen in letters to people like James Thurbernand Harold Ross. In Hollywood,nJohnson could count Humphrey Bogartnand Groucho Marx among his friends.nGroupies and other gleaners of trivia cannhave a field day with Johnson’s letters.nWhat is laudable about the collection isnthat it provides a portrait of a man—an”Oyez, Oyez, Oyez—Moo”nThe National Law Journal, a prestigiousnpublication for attorneys, has recentlynbrought to its fomm a debate raging innthe halls of Congress and academe. Itnbrings to mind the observation that althoughnsoon will mark the title of Mr.nGeorge Orwell’s most famous work, hisnearlier piece, Animal Farm, is beingnrealized today. Jht Journal Kpons thatnanimal liberationists are working tonamend the Animal Welfare Act. Theirnobjective: to grant animals the “right tonsue.” McDonald’s had better stop adver­nreal man, not the aeation of a PR flack—nwho had both wit and charm, things thatnare sorely lacking in Hollywood today,nwhere sensibility exists only as somethingnto be dulled with cocaine. Johnson isnshown dealing with the problems andndelights of family and friends, of childrenngrowing up, of friends thriving andndying. His Hollywood is terra firma, notnXanadu. Some have trouble teaching anclass of college freshmen or with selling anpackage of insurance; Johnson had tonstruggle with obstinate performers andnCinemaScope. Circumstances are differentnbut the lessons are the same. This isnnot to say that Johnson’s letters are eloquentlyncrafted meditations: most arenbanter. To use a term from the partialnvocabulary of film, they are cinemanverite. But not kiss-and-tell.nINunnally Johnson had class. One ofnthe best expressions of that is found in anletter he wrote to a man who was presumablyncollecting biographical informationnabout William Faulkner. Wrote Johnson:n”The legends about Faulkner innHollywood are many and are fine for recountingnacross a table but I don’t believenthat they need to be transcribed fornposterity.” Much of today’s Hollywoodntable talk belongs in the gutter, yet it’snoften the mainstay of best-seller lists. DnLIBERAL CULTURE~|nnntising the number of burgers it has sold:nimagine the class-action suit that can benbrought by all of those bereaved spousesnmooing in meadows—and the quality ofndialogue in the courtroom! Dn