And the band played on...

But what was the tune the band struck up as the ship went down? Few who have seen Roy Ward Baker's 1958 film of the Titanic's doom, A Night to Remember, will forget the scene. As panic sweeps the decks, real men rush about shouting "Women and children first!" while wimps head lemming- like for the stern. Wallace Hartley, leader of the ship's band, puts down his fiddle. "It's the end, boys," he stoically observes. "We've done our duty. We can go now."

A film to remember

THERE IS a thriving market already in props used in the making of Titanic, which is perhaps the most bizarre measure of the extraordinary success of this $200m Hollywood movie. In the three weeks since it opened in America, Titanic has ceased to be a mere epic and has become a phenomenon. It may well turn out to be an epic phenomenon, quite apart from being the most extravagant movie ever made - perhaps the last of its kind.

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Film: American graffiti

Forget the summer blockbusters. Full-scale war breaks out only once a year in the movie industry, and that's at Christmas time, with the lucrative holiday box-office up for grabs and the Oscar race in its all-important final stages. The mad rush starts this week with the long- delayed docking of James Cameron's Titanic, drifting in on a tidal wave of gush from enraptured US critics. It's probably safe to say that you can see where every last cent of the $200m budget went in this lavish spectacle; my main complaint is that you also can't help but feel every last second of its three hours and 14 minutes (the "official" running time, as cited by the studio, is "two hours, 74 minutes"). In Cameron's version of events, the lookouts fail to notice the iceberg because they're busy watching Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet make out. As post-collision chaos erupts, DiCaprio's character - street-smart scamp that he is - shrewdly notes: "This is bad." (DiCaprio has already butchered Shakespeare and reinvented Rimbaud beyond recognition; Titanic merely fortifies the argument that he should never, under any circumstances, appear in a film set before 1980).

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Too many of today's computer games involve extreme violence or mindless fun. Now Douglas Adams has done the unthinkable - created a game that actually requires players to engage their brains as well as their joysticks. Tim Green talks to the author of `The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' about his latest project.

Romeo gets that sinking feeling

You can tell from his films that Leonardo DiCaprio likes a challenge. But was `Titanic' a trip too far?

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For those with Beryl on the sea

Peter Parker reviews an exhilarating new novel about the Titanic disaster; Every Man For Himself by Beryl Bainbridge Duckworth, pounds 14.99

Graves, the new destination

Should we go sightseeing at the Titanic? Godfrey Hodgson asks when we may break an ancient taboo

'It would be cheaper to lower the Atlantic'

(So said Lew Grade in 1979. Yesterday the pounds 3.3m operation to rais e the Titanic was abandoned)

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Jason and Chris may not be familiar faces among the glitterati but they've been to all the best parties.

FILM / Girth, wind and fire: What's Eating Gilbert Grape? (12), Director: Lasse Hallstrom (US); M Butterfly (15), Director: David Cronenberg (US) - Sheila Johnston on Johnny Depp's return journey to Quirksville, USA and David Cronenberg's departure from schlock-horror

What's Eating Gilbert Grape? Well, a dumb name is the least of his problems. He lives, to begin with, in Endora, a hick Mid-West town shamefacedly aware of its own nullity (the shingle of the local pharmacy bears the depressing legend 'ENDora OF THE LINE DRUGS'). His mother (Darlene Cates) weighs in at 600lb and is rooted to the sofa. His kid brother Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio, the excellent young actor who played Robert De Niro's rebellious son in This Boy's Life, Oscar-nominated for his performance in this film) is mentally handicapped.

FILM / Good Boy, Bad Boy: Hollywood has a quiet obsession with twins. John Lyttle considers the similarities

BORIS Karloff's The Black Room (1935) typifies what's expected of the good twin / bad twin, male order. If women compete to personify a deranged ideal of the feminine, then The Black Room is a primitive struggle for macho dominance. Dumas' The Man in the Iron Mask is perhaps the most naked expression of the equation. It takes the Three Musketeers to save Philippe (Louis Hayward) from conniving Louis XIV and restore the throne of France to order.
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