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She shone in ‘The Sting’ as a weather-beaten brothel-keeper and confidante to Paul Newman

ROCK & JAZZ / That's why the lady sings the dues

'NOT ONLY is this guy a great musician with an incredible voice, he also invented penicillin, rode the winner of the 1982 Kentucky Derby, and saved Eudora, my highland terrier, from certain death in a horrendous tumble-drier accident.' Nanci Griffith's introductions of her guests and accompanists at the Royal Albert Hall are a little on the fulsome side, given their contributions. Tanita Tikaram, for one, gets about three big, gruff notes in 'It's Too Late' before she's off back to her dressing-room, looking rather embarrassed.

Before they start thinking about tomorrow: Limo-lock grips the city, Streisand achieves Sinatra status, the new Amazonia is ready for business. A week of celebration in Washington. Does it make you laugh or cry? Reggie Nadelson reports

It is Sunday on the Mall in Washington DC and, under a fresh sky, America has arrived at the Big Party. On the ceremonial boulevard between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol, on soggy lawns, a tent city has arisen, dedicated to the pursuit of fun on this first day of Bill Clinton's inaugural journey.

Clinton bruises Hollywood egos

AT LAST, Hollywood is beginning to get the idea. The inauguration of Bill Clinton was not organised purely to allow the glitterati to strut around centre stage, soaking up the world's applause for helping elect the president. It was not like the Oscars. Ordinary people were there.

This is the kind of violence violence-lovers hate

IT TAKES just three seconds for Cindy's expression to change, and she's not just making a horrified face; she's actually horrified. She twists round, saying: 'Oh no, oh no, God, God,' looking really sick, which is how I feel. Time, every second, is dragging disgustingly; this doesn't look like it's going to end. It's just not normal. Violence happens quickly, and then it's over, and then you move on to the next thing. That's right, isn't it?

INEMA / Some giggles, but no guts: Death Becomes Her (PG); Slacker (15)

HOW MUCH fun is Meryl Streep? In Plenty and Sophie's Choice she was no more approachable than liquid nitrogen, but recently there have been signs that the ice-queen might care to melt. And so it proves in Death Becomes Her, directed by Robert Zemeckis. Streep plays Madeline Ashton, a star beginning to lose her glare. We first see her slinking down a stairway under purple lights, in a Broadway version of Sweet Bird of Youth. Zemeckis pitches this just where it belongs, right at the bottom of the heap: a fake Streisand warble, lyrics based almost solely on the phrase 'That's me]', and feathers moulting off Madeline's boa. What's more, the year is 1978, which means that half-way through the rhythm accelerates to disco and everyone starts to behave like a train - random whoop-whistles and mad signals at the ceiling. This is fast work: a whole decade damned to hell, and we still haven't got past the credits.

FILM / The dead zone

BOGGLING EYES are a bad sign on a film poster, and the advertisement for Death Becomes Her (PG) shows three sets - the shocked orbs of Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis and Meryl Streep. There hasn't been so much eye-white on a poster for a good long time.

FILM / The Last Detail: The incredible adventures of morph

HOW strange, in a way, that Robert Zemeckis's new movie, a movie of a rare euphoric grossness, of a positively glutinous bad taste, should bear as elegant and tragic a title as Death Becomes Her - reminiscent as it is of the title which has always seemed to me the most beautiful in the entire history of the language, O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra.

FILM / Throwing sand in your eyes

Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (15). . . .Leos Carax (Fr)
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