Edited by John Walker
Harper Collins £17.99 stg

Now in its second edition, 'Halliwell's Who's Who...' continues the proud anorak tradition that began some 36 years ago with 'Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion'.

Over nearly 500 pages the careers of every actor, director and player you have ever heard of (and of a cast of thousands who never made it to the top) are chronicled, condensed and appraised. From the lowdown on every bit part movie that paid a young Clint Eastwood's rent to finding out Ben Kingsley's real name, it's all here including some prize quotes from the likes of Mae West, Don Siegel and Jack Nicholson.

Granted as with any reference book half the fun is trying to find the mistakes (e.g. the entry on 'Se7en' director David Fincher neglects to mention that he made 'Fight Club') but by and large Walker and his team have done an excellent job with the volume of information.

By the time you've thumbed to the final entry (American director Edward Zwick if you must know), you face a rundown on the history of cinema, all the major award winners and a glossary of every movie term that you could never quite figure out. The perfect companion for when there's absolutely nothing on TV.

Harry Guerin