Independent Plus

Rise of the Planet of the Apes: Story Featurette

A behind the scenes look at the new film.

Happy birthday Ms Monroe

Had she lived to see it, today would have been Marilyn Monroe's 85th birthday. To celebrate the life of one of the most photographed women of last century, we've put together a selection of images of her life.

Album: Katia and Marielle Labeque, Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue; Bernstein: West Side Story (KML)

One misses the opening clarinet glissando to "Rhapsody in Blue", of course, but thereafter they furnish enough dextrous drama to satisfy, with delightful little jazzy touches, while the re-statement of the theme as a cakewalk is entirely in keeping with the mood and momentum of the piece.

Ironclad (15)

The Magnificent Seven, in chainmail. Jonathan English's action movie takes history as its base metal – the siege of Rochester Castle by King John in 1215 – and forges it into the cold steel of Medieval derring-do. Once you get past sniggering at Paul Giamatti as John, it's a pretty enjoyable face-off between the king's mercenary army and a rag-tag band of patriots led by James Purefoy's self-denying Templar knight and Brian Cox's lusty Baron. The trimmings are standard-issue: full-throated Middle Ages cackling, gnarled peasant faces straight out of Brueghel and lots of ferocious hand-to-hand combat with pluming fountains of blood. But it's a persuasive portrayal of a violent era and its harsh privations.

To Kill a Mockingbird, Theatre Royal, York

It is 51 years since Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird was first published. Launched in the midst of the US Civil Rights protests, where young black men and women campaigned for the right to sit in the same public spaces as white citizens, the book captured brilliantly the simmering injustice of the time.

Album: Herrmann, Psycho Suite – Tippett Quartet/Julian Bliss (Signum)

Pigeon-holed by his fame as a film composer, Bernard Herrmann would have heaved a weary sigh at the shower on the cover. But the "Psycho Suite" is only the coda to a disc that otherwise focuses on the lyrical abstractions of Herrmann's European-influenced "Echoes", and the extended "Souvenirs de Voyage".

The Graduate, By Charles Webb

I'd unfairly dismissed Charles Webb's The Graduate, first published in 1963, as one of those novels outdone by the movie it inspired. But, as Hanif Kureishi remarks in his introduction to this new edition, the book is more than a match for the film, carried along on light and limber prose.

The real Steve McQueen

Hollywood's king of cool is being celebrated in a new season at the BFI. Geoffrey Macnab uncovers the reality behind the action man

Hollywood’s greatest theme tunes

Good movie music enhances the storytelling – and lingers long after the credits have rolled. Geoffrey Macnab picks some of his favourite soundtracks

Story of the scene: Bullitt (1968)

Steve McQueen is in his 1968 GT Ford Mustang. The hit men are in their black 1968 Dodge Charger 440 R/T. What follows, through the streets of San Francisco, is the greatest car chase ever filmed.

Keith Waterhouse

The obituary of Keith Waterhouse (8 September) reminded me of an interview I once did with Albert Finney, who told me a lovely story about his West End debut as a leading man, in Waterhouse's famous play Billy Liar, writes Brian Viner.

Spellbound by Beauty, By Donald Spoto

An innocent female in a Hitchcock film is handcuffed. The actress was obliged to do many takes, "crying out for her manacles to be removed".

Return of Ryan's daughter

Sarah Miles, star of David Lean's 1970 classic drama set in Ireland, is planning a sequel

Once Upon a Time in the West(R/I)

Sergio Leone's frontier parable is a landmark in Westerns, and features not only one of the greatest opening sequences ever made, but also the best use of a harmonica in cinema.

As history it's quite possibly trash, but Leone instinctively grasps the romance of the West, and he uses actors' faces – Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson – almost as landscapes in themselves. Memory, desire, ruthlessness, revenge are all here, treated in the only way this director knew – incandescently.

Ulysses and Us, By Declan Kiberd

Next Tuesday marks the 105th anniversary of Bloomsday – the eventful day of 16 June 1904, on which a young aspiring writer called Stephen Dedalus, a Jewish advertising canvasser called Leopold Bloom and his adulterous songbird wife, Molly, played out a bonsai version of Homer's Odyssey in the streets of Dublin. Hundreds of Dubliners throng the streets each year, recreating the characters in costume, on stilts and in carnival floats, breakfasting near Bloom's (now demolished) home in Eccles Street, lunching on cheese sandwiches and Burgundy at Davy Byrne's pub, making the pilgrimage through the day to the cabman's shelter where Bloom and Dedalus converged after midnight.

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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas