BOOK REVIEW / Drudges in nice dresses: A woman's view: How Hollywood Spoke to Women 1930-1960 by Jeanine Basinger: Chatto, pounds 14.99

HOW Hollywood spoke to women in its heyday, according to American film historian Jeanine Basinger, is through a muddled discourse which covertly subverted conventional female roles while appearing to reinforce them. This is a beguiling but ultimately unprovable proposition, for virtually every Hollywood movie that Basinger discusses is open to several contradictory interpretations.

Captain Moonlight: New voice for an old Miss

JUNE WHITFIELD has encouraging, bright blue eyes, a smile that achieves sauce and innocence simultaneously and any manner of voices. All these gifts have, in their time, rescued and prompted the talents of Arthur Askey, Tony Hancock, Benny Hill, Frankie Howerd, Terry Scott, Roy Hudd and Jennifer Saunders. Roy Hudd describes her, she tells you with the smile, as a comic's tart.

Arts: I Confess: A cheap affair with Anne Diamond and Nick Owen? Paul Morley on his sordid passion for Good Morning

There's not much I'm really ashamed of. Guilty is another matter. I feel guilty about Good Morning. . . with Anne and Nick (BBC 1), because I always used to watch This Morning (ITV). I feel I'm being unfaithful to Richard and Judy. Like I'm having a cheap affair with Anne Diamond and Nick Owen.

The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold: Lord Priscilla's secret

THOSE of us in the swim of things were, of course, only too aware of Lord Reith's little secret. In retrospect, I suppose my suspicions were aroused during our first meeting at his office in Broadcasting House when he fixed me with his stern eyes, leant forward in his chair and insisted on being called Priscilla. Young and mustard-keen to make my way in the exciting new world of the wireless, I thought little of it at the time. It was only some years later, after I had risen to chairman of Gardeners' Question Time, that it struck me that 'Priscilla' was, in fact, a lady's name.

ARTS / Lives of the great songs: When the pink bubble bursts: Over the Rainbow: On the surface it's pure innocence. But there's more to Judy Garland's theme tune than lemon drops. In the eighth part of our series, Mary Harron tells its story

TEN YEARS ago, Jerry Lee Lewis played the Wembley Country Music Festival. He flew in shrouded in scandal. Drugs and alcohol had left him with a quarter of his stomach, the US government was pursuing him for tax evasion, he had shot his bass player in a fit of pique, and there had been the mysterious death of his fourth wife (not to be confused with the mysterious death of his third wife). He seemed to be riding out his own damnation. Jerry Lee probably wouldn't show, and if he did he'd do only country music, as it pleased him to frustrate his fans by refusing them his greatest hits.

Obituary: Anne Shirley

Dawn Evelyeen Paris (Dawn O'Day, Anne Shirley), actress: born New York 17 April 1918; married 1937 John Payne (one daughter; marriage dissolved 1943), 1945 Adrian Scott (marriage dissolved 1949), 1949 Charles Lederer (died 1976; one son); died Los Angeles 4 July 1993.

THEATRE / More, much more than this . . .: To put on a West End musical, Humphrey Carpenter had to write it, direct it and pay for it. That's fine by him.

Humphrey Carpenter has written, scored and co-directed two musicals; both his daughters are among the cast; it's costing him a neat pounds 16,000, all out of his own pocket. You could call his scheme to bring Babes and Mr Majeika to London for a four-day showcase a straight case of vanity staging. Or you could call it mad. With his through-a- hedge-forwards hair-arrangement, the hyperactive chatter of a runaway train and the effect of a mild hurricane, Humphrey Carpenter is every inch the mad professor.

Obituary: David Barclay

David Barclay, actor, dancer, choreographer: born Bellshill, Motherwell 11 September 1938; died London 30 March 1993.

BOOK REVIEW / Follow the yelling sick road: 'Judy Garland' - David Shipman: Fourth Estate, 17.99

SOMEWHERE over the Hollywood rainbow, Judy Garland sang of a lullaby world where skies were always blue and dreams really did come true. When the stage-lights dimmed, however, she didn't fare so well on this side of the shimmering. From the time of her first film successes in 1939, Garland missed rehearsals, broke contracts, walked off sets, staged tantrums, divorced husbands, and overdosed regularly on all the diet pills, alcohol and barbiturates she could lay her hands on. During frequent bouts of rage and depression she cut herself with razors and broken glass, blamed everything that ever happened to her on everybody else, and lied her head off. In 1969, her umpteenth suicide attempt proved her last, and she died at the age of 46, sitting on a toilet in her London apartment. Her friend Bing Crosby once said: 'There wasn't a thing that gal couldn't do - except look after herself.'

Steps back in time: John Binnie gives Sarah Hemming a guided tour of the locations that inspired A Little Older, the winner of the 1992 Independent Theatre Award for best new play

'THERE should be a wee break in the railings up here,' murmurs the playwright John Binnie as we scramble up a grassy bank in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow. 'Yes] It's still here. The character in Beyond the Rainbow brings Judy Garland through this gap,' he adds, as we squeeze through the hole. 'I wrote that particular scene sitting on that bench. And over there is the pond where the girl in Killing Me Softly feeds the ducks.'

Letter: Nana Mouskouri and other gay icons

Sir: I was interested to see the interview with Eartha Kitt and the accompanying article by David Lister ('Alluring qualities that make a gay icon', 3 October).

Alluring qualities that make a gay icon

EARTHA Kitt has precisely the qualities that make a gay icon: a history of sadness, rejection and loneliness, mixed with a camp and sexually audacious stage act.

BOOK REVIEW / Fast-forward down the Yellow Brick Road: 'Judy Garland' - David Shipman: 4th Estate, 17.99 pounds

THE saddest quote in this long sad book is Judy Garland, one evening in the Sixties, remarking to friends 'I'm very happy' and then adding, after a pause: 'Who needs a happy Judy Garland?' It is a mark of her wit and self-knowledge that she could see the essential irony of her position: her fans, especially her gay fans who were legion, wanted her to suffer.

BOOK REVIEW / Little Women given their big breaks: George Cukor: A double life - Patrick McGilligan: Faber pounds 16.99

GEORGE CUKOR never rated himself as a looker. 'Not especially attractive' was his own appraisal; 'Ugly is the word that frequently cropped up,' remarks his biographer Patrick McGilligan. Yet the face on the cover of George Cukor: A Double Life argues otherwise. The creamy skin, the sensuous mouth, the serene gaze - these are scarcely the features of a duffer. The Cukor phiz turns out to be one more aspect of a portrait which this handsome but inconsistent book fails to agree upon. Nobody can expect a definitive likeness, but even the broad strokes here tend to run and blur.
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