RETURN TO THE CLONE ZONE

It's not difficult to see why people make sequels, or indeed, why audiences are drawn towards these second-rate cinematic sirens like dumb sailors offered a bit of mermaid thigh. But wouldn't it be wonderful if some Hollywood law could be introduced to put a stop to them once and for all?

Fantasy book winner

Hobbits to you, Waterstone's. In contrast to your much-hyped Books of the Century chart, less than one per cent of entrants to our own Fantasy Book League put The Lord of the Rings among their top ten titles for the past 50 years. What a peerlessly sophisticated bunch you are.

Taste: Fantasy book league

The winner of the pounds 150-worth of books from The Folio Society will be announced next weekend. The challenge: to name the best books of the last fifty years. Is this the line up which will coincide closest to the top ten nominated by literary editor Boyd Tonkin?

Geordievision - in glorious black and white

Sport on TV

Starlog boldly blazes a trail

THERE seems to be no limit to the ingenuity of the franchise sector. Just when you thought that the potential list of business formats to be exploited had been exhausted, along comes another.

Director's cut / Ray Harryhausen was never the same again after he saw King Kong

Fantasy films have always attracted me the most. I remember seeing things like Metropolis and The Lost World at a very early age, back in the silent days, because my parents were avid cinema-goers. It was the imagination that goes into fantasy films that really drew me to cinema in the first place. And then, in 1933, when I was 13, I saw King Kong. And I haven't been the same since. It was the greatest excursion into fantasy I had ever seen, and it just struck a chord in me - that was when I knew I wanted to pursue that as a career.

COMPETITION: WIN TIM BURTON VIDEOS

WITH festive frivolity fast approaching, what better antidote than Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, described as a "deliciously warped vision of the holiday season" by one cinema critic last year. Bored with the endless ghoulish trickery of Halloween Town, its Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington, accidentally stumbles across Christmastown, kidnaps "Sandy Claws" and attempts to recreate Christmas himself. The results are both humorous and macabre, but the real delight, for adults and children alike, lies in Burton's inimitable imaginative vision. Available in the shops from 13 Nov, we have 20 copies to give away, courtesy of Touchstone Home Video. To enter, simply answer the following question:

On cinema

The Hudsucker Proxy (right) is one of those films you go along to and watch - stare at, actually - and then stagger out knowing that you couldn't possibly have seen the same film as the reviewers. You know, the reviewers who couldn't understand why this 'witty' film with its multifarious references to Capra, Hawks and Katie Hepburn had done the brick stroke at the US box-office.

Centrefold / Just for the hell of it: Fantasy film lovers in first British convention shock

It's a Starburst reader's dream: Britain's first Fantasy Film Festival, headed by an interview with director John Carpenter. He'll be discussing his latest film, In the Mouth of Madness, which will precede the interview, and although the screening has been sold out for some time, the movie is scheduled to open here later this year. A browse through its credentials suggests a return to form after Carpenter's recent lacklustre turn-out. Jurgen Prochnow plays horror writer Sutter Cane, whose latest novel In the Mouth of Madness promises to send its readers crazy with terror. But the manuscript never arrives, and its author vanishes. His editor (Julie Carmen) is assisted by a grubby detective (Sam Neill) in pursuit of her ward, but their search leads them headlong into a hellish world apparently of Cane's own creating.

Obituary: Michael Carreras (CORRECTED)

CORRECTION (PUBLISHED 22 APRIL 1994) INCORPORATED INTO THIS ARTICLE

RADIO / Vowel, vowel, vowel, vowel]: John Gielgud, 90 this week, sounded as good as ever in the role of King Lear. But the Renaissance production was not the tribute it might have been, says Robert Hanks

Hammy, according to Sir Ian McKellen, interviewed by Sue MacGregor for Conversation Piece (Thursday R4), is what we call actors who are a little bit old-fashioned. He was talking about Laurence Olivier, and Olivier's conviction that his great achievement was to bring naturalism into Shakespeare acting: as Sir Ian pointed out, if you look at Olivier's performances now, with their concentration on disguise and their (by modern standards) declamatory style, it's hard to feel that naturalism is their outstanding quality.

FILM / Production Notes: By Stephen Herek, the director of the latest film version of The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers are still doing the rounds, as they have done many times before. Stephen Herek explains his attempt to avoid the biggest pitfall of the remake: repetition.

FILM / Box Office Charts

----------------------------------------------------------------- TOP 10 LONDON ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 (-) Schindler's List. . . . . . . . .US 2 ( 3) The Age Of Innocence. . . . . . US 3 ( 1) Mrs Doubtfire . . . . . . . . . US 4 ( 2) In The Name Of The Father. .US/Ire 5 ( 4) The Three Musketeers. . . . . . US 6 (-) A Bronx Tale. . . . . . . . . . .US 7 ( 5) Wayne's World 2. . . . . . . . .US 8 ( 7) The Remains Of The Day. . . . . UK 9 ( 6) Manhattan Murder Mystery. . . . US 10 ( 8) Free Willy. . . . . . . . . . . US ----------------------------------------------------------------- TOP 10 UK ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 ( 1) Mrs Doubtfire. . . . . . . . . .US 2 ( 4) Free Willy. . . . . . . . . . . US 3 ( 2) Wayne's World 2. . . . . . . . .US 4 ( 3) The Three Musketeers. . . . . . US 5 ( 5) In The Name Of The Father . US/Ire 6 (10) The Age Of Innocence. . . . . . US 7 ( 6) Aladdin. . . . . . . . . . . . .US 8 ( 7) The Remains Of The Day. . . . . UK 9 (-) A Bronx Tale. . . . . . . . . . .US 10 (-) Schindler's List. . . . . . . . .US ----------------------------------------------------------------- Charts compiled by Screen International -----------------------------------------------------------------

Letter: The walk out that never was

IRVING Wardle's anecdote about Ralph Richardson walking out on Basil Dean ('Art of luvvie flouncing makes a comeback', 13 February), appeared in print in 1966 in Letters From an Actor by William Redford. I am sorry to spoil a good story but my 1967 English edition has a sticker which reads, 'Author's note. Since publication of Letters From an Actor, Mr Basil Dean and Sir Ralph Richardson have strongly denied that there is any truth in the anecdote concerning them which appears on pages 51 and 52 of this book. I told it in good faith but I am now quite certain that it has no foundation in fact'.
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