Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Two More Great Film Icons Gone

By now you have heard that Leslie Nielsen and Irvin Kirshner have died.

Today Leslie Nielsen is best known for portraying the bumbling detective; Frank Drebin in the Police Files TV series and Naked Gun movies. But he first came to fame as Commander Adams, Captain of the United Planets Space Cruiser C57D in the 1956 SF film Forbidden Planet. This is a must see movie for SF fans. Not only was it a prelude to Star Trek but many of the props and sets, like Robbie the Robot, were later used in such productions as The Twilight Zone. January 2, 2011 Turner Classic Movies will be airing this film at 5PM. Pull up a chair, set you DVRs, grab some popcorn and enjoy this wonderful collaboration between MGM and Disney Studios.

Irvin Kirshner was able to give us sequels that were as good as or better than the movies that preceded them. Not an easy task at a time when sequels were considered low-budget ways to make more money on a popular film. The Fly (1958 and not an Irvin Kirshner film but here as an example of what Hollywood though of sequels) was shot in color, its two sequels were both black & white knock-offs. Mr. Kirshner took the successful Star Wars franchise forward with the 1980 film The Empire Strikes Back (which many consider the best film of the franchise). Then in 1983; Never Say Never Again gave us a new look at an aging James Bond (even if the story was a recycled Thunderball). Finally in 1990 he takes Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop on another mission for OCP. While he made many films and TV episodes throughout his career, he is important for letting us know that a sequel doesn't have to be bad.

Surely, we will miss these guys.

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