January 11, 1991 at 05:00 AM EST

Entertainment news for January 11, 1991

Who wrote ”To be or not to be?” That is the question many moviegoers may ask when the credits roll in Franco Zeffirelli’s Mel Gibson-ized adaptation of Hamlet. Although every word spoken in the 135-minute film is the Bard’s, Hamlet’s screenplay is mysteriously credited to Zeffirelli and Christopher De Vore, ”adapted from the play by William Shakespeare.” Something may seem rotten in Hollywood, but according to the Writers Guild of America, the billing is appropriate. ”Oftentimes, screenplays include a lot of material aside from dialogue,” says WGA spokeswoman Cheryl Rhoden. ”There are stage directions and action scenes.” So is Hamlet’s screenplay eligible for awards? ”Sure,” says Rhoden, ”but Shakespeare (plays have) lost before. We try to joke about it. What else can you do?”

Icons, Deran Sarafian’s romantic thriller set in the Moscow underworld, is the first American feature to be filmed entirely in the Soviet capital. The glasnost-era love story stars Frank Whaley (The Freshman) as an American student caught up with a mysterious Muscovite (Natalya Negoda) and Polish filmmaker Roman Polanski as a ruthless Soviet smuggler. Polanski hasn’t acted since a 1974 cameo in his own Chinatown. ”I was forced to learn (Russian) at school,” he says. ”Who’d have thought it could be so useful?”

How do U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia like to relax? By watching sports, the Pentagon says, and so HBO Video shipped 1,000 copies of Mike Tyson and History’s Greatest Knockouts overseas last month. How about a Dorf golf video to help with those sand traps?

112 minutes
Michael Almereyda
Double A Films
Complete Coverage

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