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Your article about Kent Moore and Prince George’s County Library’s superb collection of films on 16 mm (“Screen Test,” 3/8) brought back a lot of fond memories, notably seeing a copy of Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress that, while preserving its widescreen images, was more than 30 minutes longer than the version then in release.
But a later mention of a copy of Yukio Mishima’s The Rite of Love and Death at Baltimore’s Pratt Library set off the alarm bells. This may indeed be the only copy anywhere, including Japan, since his family has reportedly been pulling in all copies from around the world. (Pratt, owning its copy outright, should be safe.)
The description, however, was incorrect. Mishima does not “stage a fight which includes his own beheading,” but rather commits seppuku (harakiri) and thus disembowels himself, as in his story on which the film is based, and as he did in real life five years later.
Falls Church, Va.