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Mail from our readers — Check out letters from those who agreed with us, and those who didn’t, on Marilyn Monroe, ”East of Eden,” and more

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Top Stars
The thing that most impressed me about your list of the top 30 cinematic ”Oeuvre Achievers” (No. 183, Aug. 13) was the quality of the descriptions of these legends. To those of us too young to have had that much exposure to Bogart, Bergman, and Tracy, Ty Burr and his fellow writers showed what the big deal is all about. Owen Gleiberman’s equation of Marilyn Monroe with sex is possibly the best explanation I’ve ever read of the woman who has come to stand for the magic of Hollywood. Brad Barton Chagrin Falls, Ohio . Thank you so much for an issue that was long overdue! Sometimes my generation needs to be reminded that it was not Arnold Schwarzenegger who defined the term legend. I’ll keep this issue as I wait for your next long overdue one: Top 30 Directors! Amber Crews Burbank, Calif.

Jodie Foster is a terrific actress, but is she a greater star than Audrey Hepburn, Robert Redford, Gregory Peck, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Jack Lemmon, Sidney Poitier, or Grace Kelly? Robert Ryder Savannah, Ga.

Ihaven’t even opened issue No. 183 and I already want to know why Barbra Streisand is not included. Paul Harris Katz Chicago

What about Jean Harlow? Terri Ulrich Kent, Ohio

Your Ode to White Cinema made me sick. Haven’t you heard of Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Sidney Poitier, and Wesley Snipes? Next time you Do the White Thing, do me a favor and burn my copy to save me the trouble. Jay Barr Decatur, Ill.

Get it right, guys. Splintering a window with his ”cackling head” in East of Eden may sound like a wild and wonderful James Dean moment, but it was actually costar Richard Davalos who did that shockingly effective bit. Dean did bump his drunken but noncackling head against the side of a house in one scene, if that gains any points. Richard Hadley New York City

NO CLIP JOINT

In her review of Hollywood On Hollywood, Lisa Schwarzbaum blithely implies that such programs are rather casually slapped together: ”Give me a film archive big enough and I can make a clip-filled documentary about anything.” No you can’t. Because no single archive can fulfill the needs. Our show drew from the libraries of every major studio and countless smaller distributors. Tracing the current ownership of films is often nightmarishly complex. Deciding what you want to use, after you’ve located it, is also difficult. We looked at some 150 movies and had 1,125 minutes of material from which to winnow a 52-minute show. I’m glad the effort was not apparent to Ms. Schwarzbaum. But I’d like her (and your readers) to know that something like this (editing) level is expended on all compilation programs. Richard Schickel Producer, Hollywood On Hollywood Los Angeles