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Weekend TV Reviews: Magic City, Client List, Making of Frozen Planet, More

Magic City

I would never tire of looking at Starz's lush new period piece Magic City (Friday, 10/9c). read more

Walter Seltzer, Veteran Hollywood Producer, Dies at 96

Walter Seltzer, a Hollywood press agent turned producer, died at the Motion Picture and Television Fund's retirement home, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 96.

Born in Philadelphia, Seltzer moved to Hollywood in 1935, where he got a job with Fox West Coast Theatres. He quickly moved into publicity at MGM, working on films starring Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo and Clark Gable.

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Chariot Afire: Ben-Hur Miniseries in the Works

David Wyler, the son of Ben-Hur director William Wyler, is producing a miniseries version of the saga, it was announced just days after Charlton Heston passed away. The $30 million project, which starts lensing this year, has already been sold to outlets in Spain, Germany and Canada, and is currently being shopped in the U.S. to two networks and a cable channel. "This is dedicated to my dad and Chuck," Wyler tells Variety. "It's a great way to keep his memory alive."Versus previous takes (including the 1959 film), the mini will adhere more closely to the 1880 Lew Wallace novel... yet skew the lead role younger (placing Ben-Hur in his mid-twenties) and downplay the story's religious aspects. — MWM read more

DVD Tuesday: Charlton Heston in the Great Touch of Evil

DVD Tuesday When Charlton Heston met Orson Welles in praise of Touch of Evil one wild and sleazy ride through the darkness at the edge of border townsWhen you think Charlton Heston you think Ben-Hur Planet of the Apes The Omega Man the nuttier of two precursors to Will Smiths I Am Legend The Ten Commandments and Soylent Green spoiler alert Soylent Green is people But one of my favorite Heston movies is one of his less well-known the thriller Touch of Evil directed by and costarring Orson Welles along with Janet Leigh Marlene Dietrich Joseph Cotten and Zsa Zsa Gabor now thats a cast And it opens with one of the most justly famous tracking shots in movie history a sinuous three-minute and 20-second glide through the crowded streets of seedy Los Robles following behind a white convertible en route to the US border with an ominous tick tick tick always audible through the clamor of ambient noise and Henry Mancinis ominously jazzy read more

Film Icon Charlton Heston Dead at 84

Charlton Heston by Bob Riha Jr./WireImage.com

Charlton Heston an Oscar winner for his 1958 performance as Ben-Hur and well-known for his portrayals of such figures as Moses Michelangelo and El Cid died Saturday night at age 84 with his wife Lydia at his side A family spokesman declined to comment on the cause of death but Heston in 2002 was revealed to have symptoms consistent with Alzheimers diseaseCharlton Heston was seen by the world as larger than life his family said in a statement He was known for his chiseled jaw broad shoulders and resonating voice and of course for the roles he played No one could ask for a fuller life than his No man could have given more to his family to his profession and to his countryThe actors publicist tells the AP If Hollywood had a Mt Rushmore Hestons face would be on it He was a heroic figure that I dont think exists to the same degree in Hollywood todayOff-screen Heston served as president of the Screen Actors Guild chairman of the American Film Institute read more

Lost Finale Mysteries Revealed!

"Henry Gale" and Lost's other Others: friends or foes?

ABC's Lost wouldn't be our favorite twisty-mystery series if the season-ender didn't bring up more questions than it answered. Here's our take on the most mind-bending moments from this year's finale. The OthersThey say they're "the good guys" — and we agree. We think "Henry Gale" and Co. are one-time Dharma Initiative members gone rogue. Now they are committed to stopping the Initiative's crazy testing and they need strong-willed Jack, Kate and Sawyer to help them. The Dharma InitiativeSo the Initiative — with all its testing in meteorology, psychology, parapsychology, zoology and electromagnetism — is evil? Hell, yeah. Polar bears in the tropics, a phoenix rising and human guinea pigs — this can't be good. Widmore L read more

Rest in Pieces
Paying respect to our fallen TV heroes

"What's with all the carnage lately?" a viewer e-mailed me recently. He has a point. The body count on TV this season has been unusually high. For some, these tragic twists seem like cheap stunts, a real turn-off. For me, they're a reason to tune in. Not because I'm blood thirsty. But on shows where the stakes are high — shows like 24, Lost, The Shield, The Sopranos, even a fantasy like Smallville — I expect to be taken out of my comfort zone into a world where bad things can happen at any time to characters we care about. Facing mortality is essential to any morality play. When Shannon was fatally shot by Ana Lucia on Lost, it cast a pall of suspicion and grief over the merging of the survivors. When Smallville's Clark Kent lost his beloved father figure Jonathan to a heart attack, it was a necessary rite of passage for this superhero-in-the-making. Nowhere has the death rate been higher than on 24 read more

Is ABC just not airing the ...

Question: Is ABC just not airing the Charlton Heston version of The Ten Commandments this year? I'll give the new version a run, but this is kind of something I look forward to every year. I do understand there is a DVD, by the way.
Answer: Consider this a public service: To steal from my upcoming review, the best thing I can say about the deadly dull and completely unnecessary new remake of The Ten Commandments is that ABC hasn't given up on running the 1956 classic version. My advice: Skip the new miniseries when it airs April 10 and 11, and wait until Saturday, April 15, when the Charlton Heston version airs. And yes, a 50th-anniversary edition DVD of Cecil B. DeMille's Oscar-winning spectacular has just been issued, packaged with DeMille's earlier (and by some accounts superior) 1923 silent version ... read more

My father and I were chatting ...

Question: My father and I were chatting about Clint Eastwood's talent for directing actors to Academy Awards, now I'm wondering which director has directed the most actors to Oscar victories. My father is thinking William Wyler. Is he right?  Answer: Yes, he is: It's William Wyler. He directed 31 actors and actresses in performances that earned them Academy Award nominations. Bette Davis (Jezebel), Fay Bainter (Jezebel), Greer Garson (Mrs. Min read more

I haven't heard anything ...

Question: I haven't heard anything about Charlton Heston lately. I know he's sick and I'd like to know how he's doing. Has Hollywood forgotten this great actor?


Answer: Charlton Heston, the two-fisted star of films that include The Ten Commandments (1956) and Ben-Hur (1959), has Alzheimer's disease-like symptoms, and in 2003 he stepped down from his position as president of the National Rifle Association because of his progressive incapacitation. Heston, who turned 81 on Oct. 4, 2005, is reportedly in declining health; I recently read a quote from former child actor Jon Gries, who appeared with Heston in Will Penny (1968), in which Gries implied t read more

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