July 14, 2011 | 6:16 p.m.
MGM’s 1956 sci-fi classic “Forbidden Planet” was an anomaly for the Hollywood dream factory that was known for its lush Technicolor musicals, adaptations of literary works and star-driven dramas and comedies. It represented the studio’s first foray into the sci-fi genre. “It was rare enough that any of the major studios made sci-fi,” said Oscar-winning sound designer Ben Burtt (“Star Wars,” “Wall-E”), who saw the film as a boy in 1956. Burtt and Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Craig Barron (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) are hosting a sold-out digital screening of “Forbidden Planet” Saturday evening at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Linwood Dunn Theater. Before the movie, the two will discuss the secrets behind its production. The event also kicks off a free exhibition in the lobby of the Linwood Dunn, “Forbidden Planet: Artifacts from the […]
Jan. 03, 2011 | 6:56 a.m.
Anne Francis, who costarred in the 1950s science-fiction classic “Forbidden Planet” and later played the title role in “Honey West,” the mid-1960s TV series about a sexy female private detective with a pet ocelot, died Sunday. She was 80. Francis, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007 and underwent surgery and chemotherapy, died of complications of pancreatic cancer at a retirement home in Santa Barbara, said Jane Uemura, her daughter. Friends and family members were with her, said a family spokeswoman, Melissa Fitch. A shapely blond with a signature beauty mark next to her lower lip, Francis was a former child model and radio actress when she first came to notice on the big screen in the early 1950s. She had leading or supporting roles in more than 30 movies, including “Bad Day at Black Rock,” “Battle Cry,” “Blackboard […]
Dec. 09, 2008 | 2:24 a.m.
After 38 years, a "lost" Hollywood artifact with a truly cosmic history has resurfaced and, no surprise, it’s headed straight for the auction block. This Thursday, Dec. 11, the iconic flying saucer from the 1956 MGM classic "Forbidden Planet" will be auctioned off in Calabasas Hills and is expected to fetch anywhere between $80,000 and $120,000, which would be a nice, tidy payday for its owner, a North Carolina man who had the prop stored in his garage and didn’t realize its market value. The silver saucer is 82 inches in diameter and constructed of wood, steel and fiberglass and, according to the Profiles in History auction house, it is "a marvel of 1950s engineering." That’s because "the central landing base extends from the bottom of the craft by internal movement mechanisms with electric motor drive, as does […]
Nov. 25, 2008 | 3:43 p.m.
Hollywood, Back to the Future: Top filmmakers have already dipped into the sci-fi vault for 21st century remakes of “The War of the Worlds,” “The Planet of the Apes” and the upcoming “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” so what’s next on the revival list? Plenty. Here’s a list of a dozen remakes and revival projects now at various stages in the studio pipeline. "When Worlds Collide" Steven Spielberg is one of the producers and Stephen Sommers (“The Mummy,” “Van Helsing”), infamous for his “give me more” attitude toward CGI effects, is directing. Like the original 1951 film produced by George Pal, this “Worlds,” due in theaters next year, is about the mad scramble to build a spaceship to save humanity before Earth is destroyed by a rogue planet entering its orbit. The problem comes when there aren’t enough seats […]
Oct. 31, 2008 | 11:49 p.m.
There’s a short announcement story in the Hollywood Reporter that the prolific and increasingly appreciated writer J. Michael Straczynski will be writing a “Forbidden Planet” remake for Warner Bros. and Joel Silver. Straczynski (the creator and executive producer of “Babylon 5” but a guy with a resume in radio, comics and the stage as well) is the latest name to be attached to a remake effort that has bopped around to different corners of Hollywood without much traction (James Cameron was even involved at one point, I believe). But now that “War of the Worlds” did so well and “The Day the Earth Stood Still” is stirring advance interest, it’s not surprising to see another classic gem of sci-fi cinema get a 21st century redux. The 1956 original took Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” into outer space, so there is certainly a […]