In footsteps of Cinema Retro's landmark Movie Classics special edition tribute to Where Eagles Dare, publishers Dave Worrall and Lee Pfeiffer present their most ambitious release yet: the most extensive tribute to the
Clint Eastwood/Sergio Leone 'Dollar' film trilogy ever published. Years in the making, with contributions from prominent film historians from around the globe.
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of 'A Fistful of Dollars', 'For a Few Dollars More' and 'the Good, the
Bad and the Ugly' - and why these films remain timeless cinematic
80 full pages (16 pages more than the standard Cinema
Packed with hundreds of rare production stills,
collectibles and international movie poster art culled from archives
from around the world.
Many photos never before published -
including rare behind the scenes production stills from people who acted
as extras in 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly'
by Leone biographer Sir Christopher Frayling
The legendary film
locations - then and now
Coverage of the rare, deleted sequences
and crew biographies
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The latest issue of the James Bond magazine MI6 Declassified is now shipping. It's available exclusively through the MI6 web site. Click here for more info and to order. As usual, the magazine is packed with great insights and rare photos. Here are the highlights of this issue:
Making On Her Majesty's Secret Service - an historical account 40 years on
• "Happy As A Sand Boy" - a tribute to director Peter Hunt
• Production Designer Syd Cain on creating Blofeld's mountain lair
• Tracing back 007's literary journey in O.H.M.S.S.
• Come In 007, Your Time Is Up - Sarah Donohue on breaking boats and waves
• Writing The World is Not Enough - Neal Purvis and Robert Wade reveal all
• Behind the scenes of EA's second generation shooter "NightFire"
• Raymond Chandler speaks with Ian Fleming in The Bond Connection
Dennis Hopper, who has been battling prostate cancer for months, has died at age 74. Hopper was a larger-than-life figure in American films, having started out with high profile supporting roles in the James Dean classics Rebel Without a Cause and Giant. His rebellious behavior often alienated him from studio executives. In 1969, he directed and co-wrote Easy Rider, which was made a on shoestring budget and grossed tens of millions of dollars. The film also transformed the movie industry and helped usher in an era of new filmmakers. However, Hopper's penchant for drugs and alcohol sidetracked his success. His follow-up film, The Last Movie, was a critical and boxoffice disaster. He began a comeback a decade later with an acclaimed supporting performance as a crazed war photographer in Apocalypse Now and scored an Oscar nomination for his performance in the 1986 film Hoosiers. Hopper set his sites on getting sober and his career flourished. He worked consistently until his illness last year. Most improbably, later in life Hopper empathized with the political convictions of John Wayne, with whom he made two films, by donating money to the Republicans. However,he became disillusioned with the direction the party had taken in recent years and backed Barack Obama for President. In Hopper's final days, he was able to attend the ceremony that saw him receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. However, he was also in the midst of a bitter divorce that he filed for while literally on his death bed. For more click here
Best-selling suspense author Jeffrey Deaver is the latest writer to take up the challenge of bringing James Bond back to literary life. In 2007, author Sebastian Faulks had a best-seller with his one-shot Bond novel Devil May Care. Now Deaver will try his hand to carry on the tradition started by Ian Fleming. It isn't known whether Deaver will consider writing additional Bond novels. The last author commissioned by Ian Fleming Publications to write a series of Bond books was Raymond Benson, who is a regular Cinema Retro contributor. Since then, the books have largely been on hiatus and the Fleming family seems inclined to commission different authors for one-off books. Deaver's as-of-now untitled book will be published in 2011. For more click here
Gary Coleman, who found stardom in the 1970's TV sitcom Diff'rent Strokes has died from an intercranial hemmorrhage at at 42. Coleman's death was not unexpected: he had been placed on life support earlier this week. Like many actors who became stars as children, Coleman struggled throughout his adult life, which was plagued by medical, behavioral and legal problems. For more click here
The BBC recently broadcast a radio program called JFK: The First Pop President. It's part of the network's look at 60s culture and history. Robert Vaughn narrates the fascinating program which can be heard until May 31 by clicking here
Although audiences didn't flock to Peter Jackson's 2005 remake of King Kong in the numbers that Universal had hoped, it isn't stopping the studio from launching a major new attraction based on the film. Universal Studios has enlisted Jackson to promote the opening of the King Kong 360 3D ride which opens this summer. Click here to view video of Jackson discussing the new ride.
The Best of Enemies: U.N.C.L.E. adversaries Joe Sirola and David McCallum (Photo copyright Cinema Retro)
By Lee Pfeiffer
Actor Joe Sirola's annual parties to celebrate the blooming of his roses in his Manhattan penthouse garden have become something of a legend in New York social circles. The tradition continued last week but, for once, the weather didn't co-operate, as a monsoon-like rain poured over Gotham from morning into the evening hours. Thus, throngs of party attendees crammed into Joe's apartment in what seemed to be a recreation of the stateroom scene from A Night at the Opera. As harried servers tried valiantly to carry trays of drinks and appetizers through the masses, a familiar face emerged from the elevator that opens directly into the apartment: David McCallum. Although David's aversion to crowded party scenes is well known, he and Joe Sirola's friendship dates back to the 1960s when they squared off occasionally as adversaries on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The independent Western The Scarlet Worm is about to go into production, with 1960s leading man Brett Halsey returning to the screen in a lead role. Halsey was a popular presence in European films of the era. As with most grass-roots films, funding always poses a challenge and the producers have set up a site with details on the movie for anyone interesting in donating to the project. Click here for details.
Art Linkletter, one of the few remaining superstars from the early days of television, has died peacefully at age 97. Linkletter was a successful radio personality as early as 1942 and later brought his programs to television. His shows House Party and People Are Funny were marked by his penchant for gentle humor. His catch phrase "Kids say the darndest things" became the title of his autobiography and was made into a TV series by Bill Cosby. Linkletter prided himself on being the epitome of a family man, but ironically his life had many tragedies and he suffered the loss of three grown children during his life. He is survived by his wife of 75 years. For more click here
Toothless lion: years of mismanagement and staggering debt have left MGM in dire straits.
MGM, struggling under staggering debt, is now in the hands of its debt holders - people who are ill-equipped to run a movie studio. The power holders are scrambling to work out a deal with another studio to partner on a slate of new films - a necessity if the studio is to remain alive. However, its once rich library of classic films has decreased in value as sales of DVDs continue to slide. MGM's one remaining lucrative franchise, James Bond, has been put on indefinite hold by the producers, who cite the uncertainty of the studio's future. MGM has only one film slated for release this year: the yawn-inducing remake of the Cold War film Red Dawn - and it doesn't even have a marketing plan. Warner Brothers has made a bid for MGM for $1.5 billion, but shareholders say that would leave them with losses totaling over $500 million. For more click here
The annual San Diego Comic-Con is at least as much about publicizing major motion pictures as it is about comic books. Consequently, it's become a Mecca for studios and fans alike as the madcap get-together becomes one of the most significant entertainment events of the year. Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, in conjunction with producer Joss Whedon and mega-fan Harry Knowles, will collaborate to make a new film chronicling the adventures of attendees to this year's convention. For more click here
A new documentary, Beautiful Darling, chronicles the life and challenges encountered by Candy Darling, who became a fixture on the 1960s social scene thanks to her status as a high profile transsexual who was one of Andy Warhol's entourage. Born James L. Slattery, Candy Darling died from cancer at age 30 in 1974. The new film sheds light on the controversies and personal anguish she endured, even as she basked in the media spotlight. Click here for more
The Huffington Post provides a slide show of the screen's hottest female action stars. There is only one nod to the past: the inclusion of Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. Although this can be attributed to the usual tendency of writers to ignore Hollywood's past, in reality the advent of female action stars has been a relatively recent phenomenon. To view click here
Work is proceeding on Fox's Planet of the Apes prequel, titled Rise of the Apes. James Franco is in negotiations to star. Empire magazine reports, "Rupert Wyatt is directing Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa’s current draft
of the script, which follows human scientists performing genetic
experiments on apes in modern-day San Francisco. Naturally, things go
badly wrong and aggressive, intelligent simians are the result, which
sparks a conflict between the two species. One that will eventually
drive Charlton Heston to exclaim, “You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn
you! God damn you all to hell!” Contrary to early reports, this isn't a remake of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, but a whole new story that leads up to the simian take-over of earth. For more click here
I noticed that the Charlton Heston film Dark City from 1950 will be available on DVD this July. Now if they would only release these other prominent Heston films: Counterpoint (1968), Number One (1969), The Hawaiians (1970), Antony and Cleopatra (1972) and Mother Lode (1982).
- William Burge
Retro Responds: To that list, we would add The Private War of Major Benson, The Pigeon That Took Rome, 55 Days at Peking, The Awakening (released on DVD in the UK, but not the USA), The Last Hard Men, and Cecil B. DeMille's The Buccaneer and The President's Lady with Chuck playing Andrew Jackson in both of the latter films. We'd also like to finally see a widescreen release of The Mountain Men instead of the pan-and-scan version currently available.- Lee Pfeiffer
Bray Studios, where so many of the classic British Hammer horror films were shot, is in disrepair and in danger of being demolished. A grass roots effort is underway to rally support to preserve the key buildings. Cinebeats provides an excellent report. Click here to read
Every aspiring actor has a few credits from their early days that cause embarrassment. Paul Newman famously took out trade paper ads apologizing for his performance in his early career disaster The Silver Chalice. Actor/director Michael Paul Stephenson has done one better. He's created a full documentary about the cult movement loyal to his career embarrassment, Troll 2. (Was there really an outcry for a sequel after the first was released?) Stephenson discusses how everyone associated with the film hoped it would not see the light of day - and how humiliated they were when the movie spawned a cult following through cable TV showings and video releases. He's now decided to take the lemon handed him and make lemonade by embracing the low-budget horror flick. Click here for more
Click here to order the Troll double feature DVD from Amazon
Hard to match: Jack Lord as McGarrett in the original "5-0"
CBS has released the opening credits sequence for the remake series of Hawaii 5-0. It's underwhelming when compared to the original, but at least there is an opening credits sequence in an era where they are being eliminated as superfluous. The show also retains Morton Stevens' classic theme song, albeit it in a jazzed- up, "improved" version. Click here to view both the new and original openings.
Quincy Jones has been a legend in the music industry for so long that it is often easy to forget that it was his soundtracks to high profile films that helped him gain his reputation. Among his outstanding achievements: scoring The Pawnbroker, In the Heat of the Night and The Anderson Tapes. Writer Michael Gonzales pays tribute to the master musician in an insightful article. Click here to read
America has outsourced just about everything else, so it shouldn't be a surprise that legendary superheroes would follow suit. Marvel is about to begin production on their first movie about Captain America, but plans to film it in the USA have fallen through. The movie will be shot in England instead. Marvel is actually getting a bit of a bad wrap on this, however. The studio has delivered on its promise to shoot several other movies state side. However, as most of the Captain America flick takes place in and around London, it was deemed financially unfeasible to shoot part of the movie on location and part of it in the USA. For more click here
Issue #17 of Cinema Retro has been sent out to subscribers around the world.
Don't miss these highlights from the latest issue:
with cover girl Valerie Leon about her fascinating career including
roles as a Bond girl and Hammer horror star.
tribute to the classic horror film The Haunting featuring Todd
Garbarini's unpublished interview with director Robert Wise and John
Exshaw's fascinating history of the film, including insights from star
Dean Brierly's unpublished interview with
David Carradine, who discusses the Kung Fu years and the Kill Bill films
David V. Picker recalls the filming of the cult comedy classic Smile
starring Bruce Dern and Barbara Feldon
Tony Dalton provides
exclusive photos from Ray Harryhausen's amazing archive of original film
Christopher Gullo looks at the cult
Blaxploitation/voodoo film Sugar Hill and interviews director Paul
Maslansky and star Don Pedro Colley.
Storm in a D Cup: Dave
Worrall celebrates the career of buxom beauty June Wilkinson.
How the West Was Won: Tom March takes us
on a road trip to visit the present day locations seen in the Cinerama
Cinema Retro reunites The Men From U.N.C.L.E. at
the Players Club when David McCallum makes a surprise appearance at our
black tie dinner for Robert Vaughn - exclusive photos.
Benson provides with his choices for the best films of 1976
Owen looks at the shooting of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes at
Plus the usual extensive news about movie
soundtracks, film-related books and hard-to-find DVDs.
Woody Allen, the man who married the adopted daughter of his lover, may not be the best character witness you could call upon if you were defending yourself in a sex scandal. Nevertheless, Roman Polanski has an ally in Allen, who says that prosecutors should dismiss the sex-with-a-minor charges that have plagued Polanski since 1977. "He's an artist, he's a nice person, he did something wrong and he paid
for it. They [his critics] are not happy unless he pays the rest of his
life. They would be happy if they could execute him in a firing squad,"
Allen added. “Enough is enough.” For more click here
Director Robert Rodriguez' forthcoming film Machete is causing considerable controversy. The film concerns an illegal alien from Mexico who is recruited to assassinate a U.S. senator (Robert DeNiro) who is a leading advocate for cracking down on immigration violations. The timing of the film is especially incendiary, with Arizona the focal point of controversy regarding recent laws that are designed to stem the flood of illegals into the state. Advocates for the aliens say the laws will allow police to unjustly stop anyone of Hispanic descent and harass them by demanding to show proof of legal residency. The laws have prompted costly boycotts of Arizona by those sympathetic with the plight of the illegal aliens. Those who advocate the new laws point out that Arizona is a magnet for a tidal wave of illegal immigrants, some of whom are members of violent drug cartels that have brought Mexico's on-going drug war into the state and that both the Bush and Obama administrations have failed to adequately protect the border. As the real-life controversy plays out, the "reel-life" controversy is also heating up with some critics saying that Rodriguez' film is a dangerous plea for illegal aliens to take up violence as a method of protest, especially since one of the film's tag lines is "They Just F--ed With the Wrong Mexican". Others say that the film is simply a thriller in the style of old grind house action movies. For more click here
Coincidentally, shortly after we ran a plea for a North American DVD release of Hannie Caulder, comes word that the film will be out in July through a company called Olive. The Western boasts a great cast topped by Raquel Welch, Robert Culp, Ernest Borgnine, Strother Martin, Jack Elam and Christopher Lee. Click here to pre-order from Amazon. (Thanks to reader Ted Davis for the head's up!)
Film critic Roger Friedman says Oliver Stone's Wall Street:Money Never Sleeps is great entertainment. The movie premiered at Cannes, but won't go into general release until the fall. Friedman says Michael Douglas is terrific, reprising his role as disgraced finance executive Gordon Gekko - who finds that his rip-offs of hapless investors pale in the era of Bernie Madoff. Friedman also predicts that, among the outstanding cast members, Frank Langella will nab an Oscar nomination. Click here to read
It might come as a shock to most people that Little Orphan Annie is still a contemporary comic strip character, as the cartoon is now featured in only 20 newspapers across the United States. Now even those publications loyal to the iconic heroine will not be able to showcase her adventures, as the strip is coming to an end this summer. There will be a "Tomorrow" for Annie, however, as the rights holders plan to introduce her to younger audiences through new media. The strip had run for 85 years and spawned the smash hit play Annie. For more click here
As the proceedings drag on to see whether prosecutors can successfully extradite Roman Polanski from Switzerland to face justice in the USA for sexually abusing a minor in 1977, another actress has come forward to say she was a victim of Polanski, as well. Charlotte Lewis, now 42, made her screen debut in Polanski's Pirates in 1986. She says that when she was 16, Polanski forced himself upon her sexually when she visited his Paris apartment. Lewis wasn't a minor at the time because the age of consent in France was 15, but she said she is haunted by the memory of the incident. She says she is coming forward to prove that Polanski's 1977 scandal was not an instance of isolated behavior. For more click here
In Cannes to preview his new dark comedy You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Woody Allen spoke to Sharon Waxman of The Wrap web site and confirmed what his fans had hoped: "I'm a very grim and pessimistic person." Allen laments growing older, which has precluded him from playing romantic leads in his own movies. For more click here
Warner Home Video has introduced a new service that will allow consumers to upgrade from standard DVD titles to Blu-ray editions. Under the DVD2Blu program, you can send in a copy of your standard DVD and receive the Blu-ray edition in return. There are varying fees, depending on the title you are exchanging. If you order more than $35 in exchanged DVDs, WB will pick up the postage. For more click here
For decades, Superman creators Joe Siegel and Jerry Shuster received virtually nothing for the financial boom their legendary hero brought to D.C. Comics and film and TV studios that capitalized on the Superman phenomenon. In the autumn of their years, the ailing collaborators were finally given a financial stake in their creation. However, it wasn't until recent years that their heirs were awarded ownership of the full copyright to the Superman character. Those rights revert entirely to the estates of Siegel and Shuster in 2013 - and Warner Brothers is not happy about losing control over future Superman film projects. This has resulted in the studio's high profile attempt to get the family's lawyer, who has won significant rights for the heirs, tossed off the case. At stake is nothing less than the future of Superman as a screen hero. For full details click here
The family that has owned the Iowa site where Kevin Costner's classic 1989 baseball film Field of Dreams is putting the property up for sale. The site has become a major attraction for baseball and movie fans since the film's release. For more click here
Iron Man 2 handily out-grossed Robin Hood at the weekend North American box-office. Although Iron Man 2 was in its second week, it had a weekend gross of $53 million compared to Robin Hood'sopening weekend gross of $37 million. Both movies were critically lambasted,but audiences seem to be motivated by a desire for big budget action films. Iron Man 2 has already grossed over $200 million. Ridley Scott's Robin Hood was derided by critics for bearing little resemblance to the legendary hero generations have grown up with. The film also had a massive budget that will impede the studio from recouping its investment. Still, the movie is expected to be a money maker in the long term, as star Russell Crowe has a wide international following. In fact, while the movie opened somewhat soft in North America, its international grosses exceeded expectations. For more click here
James Cameron knows a thing or two about 3-D film technology - and he says we are well on the path to a revolution in the industry that rivals the introduction of sound and color to motion pictures. Cameron predicts that within 25 years, 2-D technology will be all but dead. Click here to read
Prometheus Records has released a 3 CD tribute to composer Dimitri Tiomkin's magnificent score for John Wayne's epic The Alamo. The new set is performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Nic Raine. The set will feature performances of Tiomkin's complete score, including previously unreleased material. There is also an abundance of bonus extras. For more info and sample audio tracks click here
The 1979 big screen version of The Lone Ranger was a major financial flop- can Johnny Depp breathe new life into a stale concept?
Jerry Bruckheimer has signed Johnny Depp to star as Tonto in The Lone Ranger. Screenwriter Justin Haythe, who penned the script for Revolutionary Road, is also on the project. No date has been set for filming. The project would seem to be a risky one, despite Depp's fanatical fan base. The Lone Ranger is probably the most dated Western concept imaginable and the effort to revive the hero in the 1970s with The Legend of the Lone Ranger became a notorious box-office flop. For more click here
Flat busted (at least when it comes to finances): Pamela Anderson owes hundreds of thousands to the IRS.
We recently reported on the astonishing debt woes of Kate Jackson and Nicholas Cage. If misery loves company, they can take solace that a wealth (pardon the pun) of other mainstream and D- list celebrities also have enormous finance problems. From Sinbad to Pamela Anderson, they have all blown through fortunes, with some seeking refuge in bankruptcy. For more click here
He's at it again. Perpetual bad boy Russell Crowe added another notch to his tally of abused interviewers when he walked out of a BBC interview in Cannes relating to his new film, Robin Hood. Crowe generally rails against intrusive paparazzi but in this case, the questions were seemingly innocent. The interviewer asked if he detected a hint of an Irish accent in Crowe's portrayal of the legendary hero. This innocuous inquiry offended Crowe, as did a follow-up question about a line of dialogue he memorably spoke in Gladiator. Crowe got up and abruptly left - though the interviewer didn't have a telephone flung at him, as did a hapless New York hotel clerk who incurred Crowe's wrath some years ago. Crowe is not only one of the best actors on screen today, but he's virtually alone in recalling the kind of macho leading men that once prevailed in the film industry. He's worth mega millions, has received international awards and has enjoyed the professional respect of his colleagues. Exactly what he is constantly mad about remains to be seen.
Author and Cinema Retro columnist Raymond Benson and his fellow critic Dann Gire have debuted a monthly movie debate column in the Daily Herald newspaper web site for suburban Chicago. The first topic is the James Bond franchise. Click here to read.
Add former Charlie's Angels star Kate Jackson to the ever-growing list of celebrities who have spent above their means, then sued a financial adviser for their woes. Jackson claims that her adviser, Richard B. Francis, persuaded her that she was worth far more than she actually was. She says Francis convinced her to buy a house she couldn't afford with the guarantee that the property could never go down in value - despite the fact that Jackson concedes she was aware she didn't have the resources to afford the home. She is now suing Francis for millions, claiming he is responsible for her financial woes. Jackson also claims that Francis convinced her she was worth far more than her actual net worth and could live off the interest alone. Apparently, she is not suing him for convincing her there is also a pot of gold in her name at the end of a rainbow. We don't know who is the guilty party in this case, but there is no doubt that many celebrities have indeed been misled by their financial advisers. Nicholas Cage is the most high-profile celeb to make this claim in recent years, even as he continues to sell off over-valued assets. Still, celebrities have got to take some responsibility for their own finances. How about asking to see some bank statements once in a while? For more click here
Cinema Retro studiously avoids commenting on most celebrity scandals, including the Tiger Woods debacle. However, this exception is merited because it pertains to one of the great TV bloopers of all time. The steamy faux pas occurred on The Golf Channel, which is usually second only to the Paint By Numbers Instruction Channel in terms of controversy and excitement. Gorgeous commentator Win McMurry meant to say that Woods was withdrawing from a golf tournament due to a "bulging disc" in his back. However, a Freudian slip occurred and she attributed his decision to a "bulging dick"! Click here to watch
With nearly 1000 members, after only two months, The Classic TV
Preservation Society has become the fasting growing classic television
group on Facebook.The interest and enthusiasm for the group is extensive.As such, I have been motivated to formalize the group with events
planned for the Fall of 2010 and 2011.
The first event will be a Committee Dinner Meeting (for the Fall of
2010) and the second event will be an all-out, celebrity-filled Weekend
Celebration (for the Fall of 2011).I am seeking an LA-based group of volunteers to work on the
formulation of the group and its events.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining the Planning
Committee, as I am seeking to hold our first meeting - in Los Angeles -
as soon as possible.
Director Robert Zemeckis has been finalizing casting for his 3-D remake of The Beatles' 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine. Zemeckis will employ his now customary performance-capture technology that he has used on previous films. Original Beatles songs will be heard on the soundtrack, as Zemeckis has licensed the official rights from Sony. For more click here
It might be Batgirl who shouts "To the Batpole!" in the X version of the classic TV series.
By Lee Pfeiffer
It might give new meaning to the term "Coming Soon!" The porn industry is feeling the heat from all those free dirty movies that are omnipresent on the web. Consequently, revenues have declined for X-rated DVDs and downloads. However, the industry is quite adept at renewing itself with clever concepts and it looks like the latest plan may result in a temporary surge in profits. The porn company Vivid is unleashing a series of X-rated retro spoofs of legendary pop culture heroes beginning with Batman XXX. The video will be based on the classic 1960s spoof TV series that starred Adam West and Burt Ward. In the works are X-rated versions of Superman, Wonder Woman and The Hulk. Unlike low-budget porn spoofs of the past, these will have considerable production values. The teaser trailer for Batman XXX features a genuine Batmobile as well as superb graphics that recreate the credits sequence of the original show. (Click here to view- it's squeaky clean.) There are also plans in the works for an Addams Family X-rated spoof, but we draw the line at any vision of Lurch getting it on with Grandmama. Click here for more
Author Peter O'Donnell, who created the action hero Modesty Blaise, has died at age 90. O'Donnell's character was a popular success through his adventure novels and a long-running series of comic strips that ran in the 1960s and which have been reissued in recent years as graphic novels by Titan publishers. O'Donnell also wrote the screenplay for the 1967 big screen version of Modesty Blaise that starred Monica Vitti. For more click here
The Lion Sleeps Tonight- MGM is struggling to find a buyer, as it's production schedule is reduced to virtually nil.
MGM continues to struggle to find a buyer for the cash-strapped studio. Time Warner appears to be the last company left with any serious intentions of possibly acquiring the company - however, its initial bids were about $500 million less than MGM's minimum requirements. For more click here
Frank Frazetta, a legendary name in the world of comic art, has died from a stroke at age 82. For legions of comic book fans, his last name was a valued brand- one that called to mind his unique style of creating iconic heroes and super-sexy female characters. Frazetta was one of the key contributors to E.C. horror comics in the 1950s before censorship efforts drove the titles out of business. His specialty was dark, menacing characters such as Conan the Barbarian. Beginning with the 1965 film What's New Pussycat?, Frazetta also found a lucrative sideline in creating movie posters. Unlike many of his peers, he successfully marketed himself as an independent artist and lived to reap large sums of money from the sale of his original works. Sadly, in the last year of his life, he witnessed distressing family in-fighting over the long-term rights to his life's work. For more click here
At the Movies, the landmark film criticism show made famous by Roger Ebert and the late Gene Siskel, has been canceled by Disney. The final episode of the syndicated series will be broadcast in August. The show ceased to be "must-see" TV for several reasons. First, the advent of the internet and the abundance of self-professed film critics has diminished the impact of the series. Secondly, with Siskel's death and Ebert battling an illness that has left him unable to speak, audiences found it difficult to warm to new hosts. Finally, Ebert himself assesses blame for the widely-criticized decision by Disney to hire novice film critic Ben Lyons for an ill-fated season co-hosting the show. By the time 'real critics' A.O Scott and Michael Phillips were brought on board to rescue the series, the damage was already done. For more click here