Letter: Dumb screens

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Sir: I wonder what makes me think that Andreas Whittam Smith lives in London ("It's dumb to say that culture is just plumbing the depths", 8 March).

Of the four films he mentioned, only one has been available to us - and no,we don't live in the Outer Hebrides, but 40 miles from Marble Arch, with three multiplexes within half an hour's travel.

True, they will probably have one showing each, in a few months' time, on a Monday evening at 7.30, (in a slot pretentiously entitled "Director's Chair".)

Mr Whittam Smith has fallen for the line that "more" means more choice and a better service for the consumer. We first learned that it doesn't in the1970s, with the introduction of multi-screen cinemas. "Oh good," we thought, "six screens to choose from, so we'll get the Woody Allen films as well." But no - six screens meant that the blockbusters were shown on three of them, the sex epics on two, and kidstuff on the other.

Try seeing Bulworth or Affliction this week outside London. It's A Bug's Life and You've Got Mail at two screens each for the third week running.


Thame, Oxfordshi