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Fame, but no grouses

THE GUN SELLER by Hugh Laurie Heinemann pounds 12.99

'Casablanca' comes to life

MARIANNE MACDONALD

What if... Jeff Bridges had got the part in Taxi Driver, if Ronald Reagan had smouldered in Casablanca, and Indiana Jones had worn a Magnum 'tache? Well, that was the original idea.

As great screen moments go, Frank Sinatra in the back of the taxi with Rod Steiger doing the "I coulda been a contender" speech in On the Waterfront vies with Jeff Bridges looking into a mirror repeating "You talkin' to me?" in Taxi Driver.

THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS

Have you ever wondered what happened to John Travolta's character in 'Saturday Night Fever' after the disco closed down? Or how things turned out for Jessica Rabbit? In the first of two extracts from the forthcoming sequel to his cult 1985 novel 'Suspects',

White Xmas

Rather than see a small fortune in the best brut fizz disappear down the family hatch, it is legitimate to go for something less ambitious

The red hot Chilean

For almost a decade, the New World wine boom passed Chile by - 'wine was for getting drunk'. Now, Chile has won the hearts of British wine drinkers, and the inspiraton can be attributed to Ignacio Recabarren

Losing the plot by the yard

THE USUAL SUSPECTS Bryan Singer (18) The Usual Suspects is a stylish thriller with an opening that evokes classic Hitchcock. But, says Adam Mars-Jones, the story soon snags on its own intricacies

OBITUARY : Howard Koch

Howard Koch has a secure place in movie lore for having written the apogee of modern romanticism, Casablanca (1942). Many have seen it countless times, enthralled by Bogey, Bergman, Dooley Wilson playing "As Time Goes By", "all the usual suspects": its dialogue is as familiar as any in Hamlet, but who wrote what is a matter of dispute. Among the first of several screenplays was one written by the twins Julius and Philip Epstein, under contract to Warner Bros; that was passed on to another contract writer, Howard Koch, and then yet another, Casey Robinson (who received no credit), did some polishing.

Flavours of summer

WINE

Leading Article: Some other happy ending

Thousands of people must have yearned for some sort of happy ending to the John McCarthy and Jill Morrell story. Their book, Some other Rainbow, published after McCarthy's release from five years in captivity, was a bestseller. Although neither of them was cut out for the role of media Royal Couple, neither did they wholly discourage the idea that this most modern of relationships might survive the tribulations to which it was so publicly subjected. As in Nevil Shute's A Town Like Alice, we were persuaded that their love might just survive imprisonment, war and distance.

ANOTHER VIEW : Giving up isn't hard to do

Bryan Appleyard is right that pressuring smokers to stop by telling them what they know already - that the habit is killing them, costing them a fortune etc - does not help. The experience at our clinics is that for most self-respecting smokers No Smoking Day is the one day they will refuse to stop. Many smoke twice as many twice as blatantly that day. I used to. Contrary to popular belief, smokers are not stupid, weak- willed people. They are as intelligent and strong-willed as the rest of us, and they do not like being told what to do.

The anti-smoking fundamentalists

On No Smoking Day, Bryan Appleyard calls on healthists to let us fume in peace

LETTERS : Briefly :

A SMALL error crept into your review of Casablanca magazine (Books, Sunday Review, 22 January). My pocket calendar/ almanac foretold there would be potato galas all over Herefordshire, not Hertfordshire. Please print this correction, or my toweri ng reputation as a seer and prophet may be in jeopardy.

Little Magazines: Casablanca and Outposts

CASABLANCA is "a political magazine that's true, clean and fearless", and its winter issue is a folder supposedly containing "ten desirable things". Where, where? These turn out to be the assorted colour stickers and bumf that cascaded out of the envelope.

BBC editor steve jenkins explains that selection process in full

It should have been easy. Choose 100 films to show on BBC2 during 1995, to celebrate 100 years of cinema. Simple. Start with Citizen Kane, that's obvious, and then...what? Back through Stagecoach, Renoir, Astaire and Rogers, British Hitchcock, W C Fields, and into the silents. Chaplin, Eisenstein, Griffith, German Expressionism, Melies. And forward to take in film noir, The Best Years of our Lives, Bicycle Thieves, Italian neo-realism and David Lean. Plus Bergman, Bunuel, Fellini, Satyajit Ray, that wholeflowering of art cinema in the Fifties and early Sixties. And then all those auteurs discovered and championed by "Cahiers du Cinema" - Anthony Mann, Nicholas Ray, Samuel Fuller... Which brings us neatly to the French New Wave - Godard, Truffaut, Rohmer, Chabrol. And it's still only 1965.
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