Arts and Entertainment Theda Bara in 1917’s silent movie ‘Cleopatra’

With more than 70 per cent of early films lost, archivists are scouring the world to preserve the precious examples that remain

Word of Mouth, Radio 4<br/>Simply Absurd, Radio 4<br/>Laurel Canyon, Radio 2

I'd love to mind-map, but it's time for my lunch al desco

Hitchcock's forgotten silent films restored

A nationwide Alfred Hitchcock retrospective featuring nine of the celebrated director's rare silent films, made at the start of his career, will be staged in 2012 in a series of public screenings.

100 years of movies: Before 'talkies'

For the first two decades, the stars of the screen were mostly seen, not heard. But they were no less dazzling for that, says Geoffrey Macnab

Talent 2010: The fashion designer, Mark Fast

Mark Fast, the 27-year-old knitwear designer, first came to the attention of the fashion insider following his degree collection shown in 2006. A graduate of Central Saint Martins – he went on to complete an MA course there, too – he is known for hand-finished, one-off pieces which cling to the body's every curve and where the intention is to create clothing that is as proudly individual as the people who choose to wear it.

Sunnyside By Glen David Gold

Charlie Chaplin returns to life in this dazzling novel

Chaplin: The Tramp's Odyssey, By Simon Louvish

"Why another book?" asks Simon Louvish, at the beginning of this dense tome. It's more than 30 years since Charles Chaplin died, there's no anniversary in the offing, and there are lots of books about him, as the bibliography at the back of this one confirms. Louvish's sources are mainly secondary and he makes no boasts about new revelations. Yet it's a mark of his rich scholarship (and the richness of his subject) that you finish this book feeling glad he wrote it, rather than wondering why he did.

Sean O'Grady: When it seems too good to be true...

How did Madoff's victims ever allow themselves to be taken in?

Observations: Puppetry out of the shadows

When most people think of old-fashioned puppets, they think of the Punch and Judy shows they used to watch at the seaside when they were little. That is unless they've seen the lovingly crafted paper characters of The Paper Cinema; a company which cleverly mixes animation, art and live music to make a surreal, nu-folk cinematic experience. A cult hit at the Edinburgh Forest Fringe last year where people queued round the block for tickets, now, creator Nic Rawling is putting on a new show as part of the East Festival, celebrating culture in east London (from 5 to 10 March).

Cirque du Soleil: Quidam, Royal Albert Hall, London

It might now be a global brand, but Cirque's current offering is as surreally inventive as ever

Sunset Boulevard, Comedy Theatre, London

Loyally, perhaps too loyally, based on Billy Wilder's great movie, Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1993 Sunset Boulevard, with outstanding book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, was the last of the 20th-century musical blockbusters. Despite great performances by Patti LuPone, Glenn Close and Elaine Paige as Norma Desmond, and a lush, baroque design of a Hollywood palazzo by John Napier for Trevor Nunn's production, the bubble burst over the big global franchise phenomenon.

Bob Anderson: Child actor in 'It's a Wonderful Life'

The child actor Bob Anderson has a place in silver-screen history for one performance, that of the young George Bailey in Frank Capra's classic It's a Wonderful Life (1946). Playing the character who, after he grows up, is portrayed by James Stewart, Anderson featured memorably in the scene in which a drunken chemist inadvertently makes up a prescription including poison, but is saved by George, who is rewarded by being boxed around the ears.

Il Trovatore, Opera Holland Park, London<br/>La Fanciulla del West, Grange Park Opera, Hampshire

An armoury of visual aids and one invisible lady: This year's open-air opera season kicks off with an all-Italian fixture, and an easy win for Puccini

The Night of the Hunter

Directed by Charles Laughton

Funny girls: Heroines of slapstick

All the biggest stars of silent film were men, but their leading ladies could throw a custard pie with the best of them. Geoffrey Macnab salutes the unsung heroines of pre-war slapstick
Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor