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Movie Answer Man (06/18/1995)

Q. Wow. I thought you might like to know that I (of all people) think that "The Little Princess" is the best film of the year. Just blown away by it. (Roger Avary, Los Angeles)

A. As the co-writer of "Pulp Fiction" and director of "Killing Zoe," you are the obvious choice for the position of Family Film Adviser to Sen. Robert Dole.

Q. On the "True Lies" laserdisc, after the credits, are two theatrical trailers with scenes not seen in the theater version. A couple look quite interesting (Arnold Schwarzenegger bedding Tia Carrere for example). Any word of a director's cut version coming out? (R.M. Vivas, Brooklyn, N.Y.)

A. No, but given the nature of the movie--an action epic with expensive special effects--it's likely that a collector's edition will eventually be released. Previews are often cut from work prints long before the final form of the movie is set, which explains why they often have shots from "missing scenes."

Q. In the ads for "Braveheart," the following quote is used: "Every man dies, not every man really lives." Since this ad will be exposed to millions, was it really necessary to make an error in punctuation? (Charlie Smith, Chicago)..

A. Good point. After the word "dies," it would have been acceptable to use a period, a semi-colon, or even a dash. It wasn't easy to single out an incorrect punctuation mark and use it, but the ad succeeds.

Q. I loved the movie "Crimson Tide" and enjoyed your review. Just a note about your reference to the character of "Cob." This is not a name. COB stands for "Chief of the Boat." The COB is the most senior enlisted man aboard, and he is a Chief Petty Officer. Also, submarines are called "boats" by tradition even if they are ships. Best regards from an ex-submariner. (Bob Dreier, San Jose, Calif.)

A. That explains it: If they were called "ships," he would have been called COS, saving all this confusion.

Q. Why do actors in movies not wear seat belts ? (Wayne R. Wilken, Fairbanks, Alaska)

A. For the same reason they smoke.

Q. Is the Cannes Film Festival open to the public? I hope to attend one of these days but do not know whether I should wait until I'm actually showing a film there. If one has to be a bona fide member of the film industry (as opposed to a member in training), it'll probably be a while before I'll see the light of day there. (Michael Hidalgo, New York University)

A. Technically, it's a trade convention and not open to the public. But a limited number of seats are made available every day to the official screenings. It is sometimes possible to talk your way into the "market" screenings in the local cinemas. And sometimes you can talk people out of their tickets, or obtain invitations to special events.

Q. While watching the "thriller" "Trespass" (what can I say?--it was on free TV), one thing caught my eye. Why do modern movie directors think that if a character is using a video camera, we need to be reminded of this by the putting the word "REC" in one corner of the screen? Are we all this dumb? (Thomas A. Heald, Rapid City, S.D.)

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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