News

More than eight years after his death, he’s still making headlines. This time? Because he apparently auditioned for the role of a Jedi Master

Hellfire and hyperdrive: the Gospel according to Star Wars

"I AM trying to bring up my children with Jedi values." So wrote an earnest Christian recently in a discussion on an internet site devoted to modern culture. The combination of Christianity with Star Wars may seem one of the more bizarre bits of merchandising in the hype around The Phantom Menace, but now a Methodist university chaplain in Liverpool has written an entire book on the subject.

Network: The end of the silver screen?

Digital technology is poised to revolutionise the film industry. Audiences will benefit with scratch free images, sharper soundtracks and the quicker distribution of films. But, after a century of the projector, is the industry ready to change? By Chris Lakeman Fraser

Film: The phantom menace

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is here. The story so far: pounds 360million of US business to date, 24hr screenings, endless merchandising, wall-to-wall press coverage. And it's all in aid of George Lucas's first feature directing credit since the original Star Wars. And, boy, is he rusty. Never the best handler of actors, Lucas ensures that the computer- generated spectacles and a waffly story-line keep Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson (right) well in the background. Which isn't even to mention the allegations of racial stereotyping that have been levelled at characters like Jar Jar Binks. Persuaded you to see The Third Man instead? No? Didn't think so.

Words: flavescent, adj.

ALEC GUINNESS'S delightful A Positively Final Appearance (1998) has a passion for words: he hefts the OED to verify Peter Ackroyd's claim that Sir Thomas More first used many unexpected phrases, and notes of his own garden, "trees are still remarkably green: I had half hoped to show off a newly discovered word - flavescent - but that will have to wait for another couple of weeks".

Arts: Retouching Orson's evil

The `Director's Cut' is a recent phenomenon, so why is a restored version of Welles's last masterpiece, Touch of Evil, being released 40 years after it was made? The answer lies with film-editor Walter Murch.

`Star Wars' missile tested

FORMER PRESIDENT Ronald Reagan's vision of a national missile defence system that could knock enemy missiles out of the sky came a stage closer yesterday after the US military successfully tested a crucial part of the "star wars" technology.

Star Wars accused of race stereotypes

IS THE NEW Star Wars movie racist? Two weeks after the hotly awaited US release of Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, die-hard fans of George Lucas's space opera are beginning to wonder about the wholesomeness of noseless baddies who speak in high-pitched Japanese accents, a filthy insect who sounds Greek or Arabic, and a computer-generated idiot alien who talks like a Caribbean galley-slave.

Words: gussy, v., n. and adj.

KINGSLEY AMIS often urged the dictionary habit, never let a word slip by. Chances are that many a trainbound reader of Robert Hughes's recent elegant demolition in these pages of The Phantom Menace forgot to look up what he meant by George Lucas's being "able to gussy it up with special effects that didn't exist 75 years ago".

Film Studies: I've been to `Star Wars' and I've got the stub to prove it

About two weeks before 19 May, you could feel the air going out of the balloon called Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace. The mounting hype was impatient for that Wednesday, no matter that George Lucas likes to think of himself as someone who doesn't do things the old, manipulative, Hollywood way. Two weeks ago, the papers and the television news were agog with stories of people camping out on the streets to get in to the very first screening. Every magazine had Lucas on its cover.

Books: Losing sight of a man who knew best

Hitchcock's Secret Notebooks by Dan Auiler Bloomsbury pounds 20

Bestsellers: Hardbacks

1 Star Wars: Episode One - The Screenplay Century pounds 15.99

Letter: 'Star Wars' snobs

Sir: Your assorted film critics have missed the point of Star Wars in general and The Phantom Menace in particular. Of course they are bad "films" - but they are excellent "movies".

May the farce be with you

"Loud, vulgar, manipulative, careless and pretentious, `The Phantom Menace' is one of the worst movies ever made"

Notebook: Hey, it's only a movie, says Lucas - but who's listening to him?

After years of idle longing, and months of frenzied anticipation, the final release of the new `Star Wars' saga could prove an anti-climax

Shower the screen with popcorn

VERY SENSIBLY, the American film industry has decided not to submit its new products to the Cannes Film Festival. Last year, the most awful thing happened to some movie or other about Bruce Willis in a vest with ten minutes to save the world; the Cannes audience laughed at it. The resulting bad publicity has made the American studios so nervous that they aren't prepared to give Cannes the opportunity to ridicule their summer blockbusters.
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy
tvCall the Midwife Christmas Special
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Sport
sport
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there