Frederic Raphael

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Movie Answer Man

Movie Answer Man (08/29/1999)

Q. There was an article in Entertainment Weekly about your feud with Jack Valenti over the MPAA rating system. Discussing your call for a new A rating, Valenti said if a film got rated NC-17 under your system, the producer could sue for punitive damages. He added: "If Mr. Ebert's employers would legally indemnify the ratings system, then I'd serious consider the A rating in a week." Any comment? (Casey Anderson, Schaumberg)A. Now I understand. Valenti agrees with me that the A rating is worthy of serious consideration, but it prevented from implementing it because he fears pornographers would sue him if the MPAA said their movies were dirty. Jack's argument is pure horsefeathers because porn movies are never submitted for ratings, and the A rating would cover all adult movies that were not hard-core pornography.Q. Just finished reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, by John LeCarre. On page 97: "The Dutch set him a honey trap, my dear, and he barged in with his eyes wide shut." Do you know the origin of the expression? (Michael Marren, Chicago)