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People: Burton's 'Hamlet' finally makes it to the screen

THREE rusty cans found in Switzerland four years after the actor's death have yielded a treasure for fans of Richard Burton. Lodged amid old trunks and broken china in the cellar of Burton's chalet in Celigny, the cans contained 35mm film of his 1964 Broadway stage performance of Hamlet. Sally Burton, widow of the favourite son of Pontrhydyfen in West Glamorgan who died 10 years ago, said she found the film while 'rummaging around the cellar' as she packed up the contents of the house.

The film is to be shown in limited release in cinemas later this year, said Paul Brownstein, a producer whose company obtained rights to the film from Mrs Burton. Directed by John Gielgud, the play ran for 17 weeks at the Lunt Fontane Theatre in New York beginning on 9 April, 1964.

'This is a professionally filmed Hamlet,' said Mr Brownstein. 'Five cameras were placed round the theatre to capture one of the greatest actors in one of the greatest roles at the peak of his career.'

(Photograph omitted)

AT THE peak of her career, Nancy Kerrigan got some kind words from two unlikely sources on Wednesday night. Shane Stant, the man who clubbed the skater on the knee, broke into a big smile when reporters in Portland, Oregon, told him that Kerrigan had finished first in the opening round of the Olympic figure-skating competition.

'That's good. That's great,' said Stant, who also wished Kerrigan's chief rival, Tonya Harding, well. 'I was hoping for a gold and silver medal for the United States. It didn't matter to me as long as everyone was trying their best.'

Stant's uncle, Derrick Smith, who drove the getaway car after the attack on Kerrigan in Detroit last month, said he was pleased that the skater had recovered from the assault and was performing well. 'I'm glad,' he said. 'I hope everyone does well and has a good time.'

Smith and Stant were recruited by Harding's former husband, Jeff Gillooly, and her bodyguard, Shawn Eckardt, to knock Kerrigan out of competition and thereby improve Harding's chances. All four have pleaded guilty to various charges and are free on bail pending sentencing.

UNDER investigation for a Kerrigan-like attack on a man's car, Jack Nicholson faces a charge of vandalism. Robert Blank has sued the actor, contending that Nicholson smashed the windscreen of his Mercedes with a 'pipe-like object', showering him with glass.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles City Attorney said police investigators submitted paper work on the case, but it was sent back 'for additional work'. Mr Blank has alleged that on 8 February, while his car was stopped at a traffic light, Nicholson got out of his own Mercedes carrying a 'large metal pipe-type object' with which he hit Mr Blank's car before shattering the windscreen.

Mr Blank says he was injured by the glass and that the attack has caused him to fear for his life. He claims general, medical and punitive damages, and alleges assault and battery, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment.

Nicholson's agent was not available for comment and no date has been set for the hearing. If convicted, the actor could be sentenced to up to six months in jail or fined dollars 1,000 ( pounds 685) or both.

TRAVELLING more discreetly than Nicholson, Deng Xiaoping left Shanghai by rail, in a style befitting his status as China's paramount leader. After a two-month stay in Shanghai, Deng departed for Peking aboard an exclusive railway carriage after schedules at the city's chaotic train station were rearranged.

Deng's inconvenienced fellow travellers, eager to return home after their holiday break, were told that the disruption was caused by the transporting of a Long March rocket to a space centre in Sichuan province, the pro-Peking newspaper Ta Kung Pao reported.

Deng's daughters, page 15