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DOES HOLLYWOOD BIAS DEPRIVE UTAH OF CREDIT?

Some observant moviegoers have asked why Utah doesn't get a credit at the end of "Tall Tale," since the sequence with John Henry challenging a machine in a spike-driving contest was so obviously shot in the Moab area.

Good question. But there's no good answer.Why does Utah go uncredited for "Maverick" when so much of it was shot on the Utah side of Lake Powell? Arizona does get a credit on that film - and is also credited in "Tall Tale."

Members of the Utah Film Commission were surprised to hear that the end credits of "Tall Tale" mention Arizona but not Utah and seemed genuinely disappointed.

Call it Hollywood discrimination.

- WITH THE BROAD discussion these days about whether movies are in a "dumbing down" process - and not just comedies - it was certainly a pleasure to sit through "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle" (now playing at the Tower Theater), which is, in part, a glorious celebration of the English language.

While not a comedy - and in fact, something of a downbeat tragedy - "Mrs. Parker" nonetheless has some of the wittiest, most sparkling and glorious wordplay since the inspired dialogue of classic '30s and '40s pictures. Take a look at "The Philadelphia Story," "Ball of Fire," "Double Indemnity," "The Maltese Falcon," just to name a few.

It's bad enough to realize that crass humor has replaced anything approaching sophistication in current comedy, but when you listen to the speeches in just about any modern movies, even those that are as inventive as the dialogue exchanges in "Pulp Fiction," it's sad and disturbing to note that even the verbiage is peppered with vulgarities, profanities and other four-letter outrages, repeated ad nauseum.

The joke that's going around is that Quentin Tarantino and his ilk should be issued a good thesaurus so that their use of adjectives, adverbs, nouns, prepositions, etc., won't be quite so limited.

But it goes beyond that. Few movies today seem to make any effort at all at displaying graceful language skills.

Not that movie characters should sound stuffy or artificial or incessantly intellectual, but personal experience tells me that not everyone speaks in flat, quick phrases laced with obscenities. In fact, most people I know swear in anger but not in normal conversation, and many of my friends and colleagues enjoy working up a well-turned phrase, whether or not it is intended as comic.

Listening to the language of "Mrs. Parker" made me realize how much I miss clever dialogue that leaves out the four-letter words.

And, of course, we have to acknowledge that much of the dialogue in "Mrs. Parker" comes from the writings of Dorothy Parker and her cronies - most of it penned and spoken in the 1920s.

- A COUPLE OF NEW movie books on the market are enjoyable quick-reads, one an inventive spoof of movie cliches and the other a sarcastic yet affectionate look at the movie debuts of some of our favorite stars.

Roger Ebert has pulled all those comic "glossary" terms out of his "Moviegoers Companion," an annual paperback collection of the Pulitzer Prize-winning critic's Chicago Sun-Times reviews, essays and interviews. Now these explanations are in a book all their own - "Ebert's Little Movie Glossary," a small 116-page hardback from Andrews and McMeel (a bit pricey at $12.95).

Some of the entries - many sent to Ebert by readers - are truly hilarious and will be appreciated by both the casual moviegoer and the film buff.

Examples:

- Die Three Times Law. In modern movies it has become a law that the villain must die three times. First he gets killed - but isn't really dead! Then he gets killed - but he's still alive. Then he gets killed.

- Vinny Rule. In every movie with Italian-American characters, one must be named Vinny.

- One-at-a-Time Attack Rule. In any situation where the hero is alone, surrounded by dozens of bad guys, they will always obligingly attack one at a time. (See any Schwarzenegger movie.)

Another enjoyable effort is Damien Bona's "Opening Shots" (Workman Publishing, trade paper, 395 pages, $11.95), with brief biographical sketches of a wide array of stars and detailed reviews of the first movies in which they appeared, from Rock Hudson to Goldie Hawn, from River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke to the Three Stooges.

Amusing and observant - and decidedly irreverent - the book contains plenty of trivia tidbits, such as the fact that real-life companions Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn both appeared in Hawn's first movie, a Disney comedy called "The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band" (1967).

And "inauspicious" hardly tells the story for such film debuts as those by Kevin Costner in the cheapo sex farce "Sizzle Beach, USA," Tom Hanks in the slasher flick "He Knows You're Alone" and John Travolta in the turkey horror yarn "The Devil's Rain."

The book also includes critics' quotes and even commments by some of the stars themselves, who, in hindsight, obviously regret the video reincarnation of many of these early efforts.

- QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Patrick Swayze, currently playing Pecos Bill in Disney's "Tall Tale":

"The way to destroy someone in this business is to give them what they want. I dreamed my whole life to get to this point, and then all of a sudden I got the dream. It was the worst thing that could have happened."