Faint hearts at the OK Corral: 'Wyatt Earp' - which may turn out to be the costliest flop of all - reeks of compromise

THE LEGEND of Wyatt Earp (15) is the legend of America. The country, like the man, started fresh and idealistic, before being brutalised by violence, which it turned out to have a talent for. Lawrence Kasdan's new three-hour version of the story makes its intentions plain from the start: to re-write Earp as epic, as a thunderous parable of America, and to present a more ambivalent Wyatt. For the first half-hour of the film, when Wyatt is a 15- year-old (played by Ian Bohen, the only time it's not Kevin Costner), growing up in the cornfields of 1863 Iowa, it works well. Never mind that every line of Gene Hackman, as Wyatt's father, Nicholas Earp, has

FILM / The British are coming (home): You're a British director. You're a hit. You're invited to Hollywood. You're stitched up. You're not alone

Bill Forsyth and Mike Figgis have both vowed never to work in Hollywood again. They are the latest in a long line of British film-makers to be lured there by the promise of artistic freedom and big budgets only to find their creativity stifled by the studios' commercial imperatives. Forsyth has horror stories to tell about Being Human; Figgis about Mister Jones. Both have a familiar ring.

CINEMA / No monsters and not half dark enough: A recurring image that seems a portent of a terrible evil that the film doesn't deliver on

'I WISH I had a talisman to give you, or a silver bullet, or a stake to drive through the monster's heart,' says a confidante of the tortured hero of The Dark Half (18). 'But it's not that simple.' If only it was. George A Romero's strangely tentative adaptation of Stephen King's novel takes one of the oldest horror plots in the book - it's essentially the Jekyll and Hyde story, the idea of a dual personality - and dilutes its traditional potent brew with a dose of ideas.

Obituary: Ferdinando Scarfiotti

Ferdinando Scarfiotti, production designer: born Porto Recanti, Italy 1941; died Los Angeles 30 April 1994.

John Major nears the zero option

DAVID MELLOR, reviewing the newspapers on television at the weekend, complained that the press was full of advice for John Major. This was not entirely true. Admittedly, the possibility of a referendum on Europe was revealed to be the right's ransom demand for the hostage of Downing Street, but this seems likely to lead to the death of the hostage, while the Tory sects tear themselves apart again over the vocabulary and punctuation of the question(s) to be set.

Sport is cut down to size

AN OLD friend, a Londoner who has lived in the United States for 30 years, never tires of the notion that most Americans, especially in his neck of the woods, find it difficult to accept that small men (jockeys apart) can achieve great things in sport. 'It is one of the reasons why soccer will never take off over here,' he said.

Going by the book: She knows we know she can sing; in Pam Gems' Piaf, she wants to prove she can act. Elaine Page interviewed by Edward Seckerson

Eva Peron changed her life; Edith Piaf has been waiting patiently in the wings. Elaine Paige shares more than just her initials with them both. Superstitious? Of course she is.

DIRECTOR'S CUT / Emotional after all: Paul Schrader on Jack Clayton's bittersweet film Room at the Top

I thought that, in deference to my host country, I would pick a British film. One of my favourite movies, and probably my favourite last line in a movie, is from Jack Clayton's Room at the Top (1959). Joe Lampton, who was played by Larry Harvey, has married the boss's daughter in order to move up the class ladder. And in so doing he has had to turn his back on his lover, Simone Signoret.

FILM / At long last, the look of love is back: Thomas Sutcliffe watches Architecture of the Imagination and finds steps in the wrong direction

At a key juncture in Sleepless in Seattle heroine Meg Ryan's exasperated best friend chastises her for watching An Affair to Remember (again) and pedantically announces:'That's your trouble. You want to be in love in the movies.'

INTERVIEW / Did you get very far? Aha, aha . . .: Jim Jacobs was happy writing ads and taking bribes. Until Grease. Tell me more, tell me more, pleads Sabine Durrant

Jim Jacobs is one of the two guys who wrote Grease. It's made him a millionaire but, hell, you should have seen him in the Sixties. He was writing advertising copy for the Chicago Tribune back then, and reviewing restaurants on the side. 'Every week, I was paid my regular salary, plus I got like a dollars 50 bonus for every restaurant story I wrote, plus the restaurant was always tipped off I was coming and they'd put like a dollars 50 bill under the salad plate to bribe me. I forget who I told this story to years ago and they said, 'Really, you took the money?' and I said, 'You've never been to Chicago, honey. I wasn't Serpico, you know.' '

Cupid is alive and well . . . and hanging out in a wine bar: Heart Searching: Adele Gautier describes how she organised her own singles night

MANY of my friends are welleducated professional people who have spent their twenties building up their careers, often at the expense of their romantic lives. Until now, it's not something they've worried about - they tend to have high disposable incomes, have travelled a great deal, enjoy varied social lives and have had their share of dates and serious relationships.

FILM / Once more with not so much feeling: Sommersby (12); Un Coeur en Hiver (12); Mr Saturday Night (15)

ANYTHING you can do, we can do blander, is the Hollywood motto of the moment. Moguls, discovering that Francophilia isn't an Irish leading man, are plundering European art-house cinema for stories. Sommersby is an intelligent but empty reworking of Le Retour de Martin Guerre: 16th-century France has become post-Civil War America, sex symbols have been swapped (Richard Gere for Gerard Depardieu), and the whole thing has been blown up and embroidered. Only the heart hasn't been transplanted.

FILM / Returned with interest: Adam Mars-Jones reviews Sommersby, the superior American remake of The Return of Martin Guerre

THE AMERICAN practice of remaking European film successes, usually with inappropriate stars and a coarsened texture - which has brought us such joys as Pardon Mon Affaire and Three Men and a Baby, not to mention the impending Vanishing and, if it ever happens, Jane Fonda in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown - is generally so pernicious that it is almost a painful duty to announce that Sommersby improves on its original. Daniel Vigne's The Return of Martin Guerre was over-praised, admittedly - for a story of love and death it was all rather flat, and groups of peasants had a tendency to burst into ribald laughter for no better reason than that this was rural France in the 16th century - but its central theme was unusual enough to persuade many viewers they were watching a profound meditation on human identity.

Mr Pooter fires off for the media

MY LOVE for Terry Major-Ball grows apace. 'I have never been to an aerodrome before,' he told the Evening Standard, recounting how he found himself at Gatwick. He had been to a party at Number 10 for his brother's 50th birthday, and drunk what he thought were two glasses of orange juice but turned out to be Buck's Fizz. Consequently he fell asleep on the train home missed his stop (East Croydon) and only woke when he got to 'the aerodrome' (Gatwick). He was so enchanted that he thinks he might now take a flight to Manchester just to see what an aeroplane feels like.

FILM / The view from across the Pond: 'The British are coming,' said Colin Welland a decade ago. And so they went: but not quite the way we'd hoped. Sheila Johnston reports

This spring and summer, UK cinemas will be flooded by a stream of 'American' movies. Look more closely at the credits, however, and you will notice that a thick sprinkling of them are actually directed by Brits. One of the year's biggest grossers, The Bodyguard, is directed by Britain's Mick Jackson. The horror film Candyman comes from Bernard Rose. The Distinguished Gentleman, the new Eddie Murphy comedy, is by Jonathan Lynn, whose UK credits include Yes, Minister, Yes, Prime Minister and Nuns on the Run. Beeban Kidron, whose Used People opened last week, is best-known here for her TV adaptation of Jeanette Winterson's Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.
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