...IMDb has won the first legal round against the California law prohibiting the website from publishing actors' birthdates. A judge granted a temporary restraining order preventing the law from taking effect, ruling that the law probably violates the First Amendment and that IMDb is likely to win at trial.
...The ClassicFlix movie rental site, where I've been a columnist for the past three years, is undergoing major changes. The company is easing out of the rental business, which now operates behind a password log-in as "ClassicFlix Underground," serving only current and past customers. However, the company is instead going into the DVD and Blu-ray production business; early titles will include Shirley Temple in MISS ANNIE ROONEY (1942), Bette Davis in ANOTHER MAN'S POISON (1951), Ray Milland and Paulette Goddard in THE CRYSTAL BALL (1943), and BFI prints of the Anthony Mann film noir titles RAW DEAL (1948) and T-MEN (1947). A Mann boxed set is said to be in the works for future release. Watch ClassicFlix for the new site and more information coming soon.
Greenbriar Picture Shows has a new book out, THE ART OF SELLING MOVIES. You can learn more from KC's review at A Classic Movie Blog and in a roundup on three new film books by Leonard Maltin.
...At Out of the Past, Raquel has reviewed the latest book from Robert Wagner and Scott Eyman, I LOVED HER IN THE MOVIES.
...The L.A. Times has created a fun animated map of LA LA LAND (2016) locations.
...Speaking of LA LA LAND, some people love it (we'll soon find out how it's treated by the Academy), while other musical fans have been disappointed by the relative amateur status of stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as musical performers. I came in somewhere in between, finding it oversold but mostly enjoyable. Jessica, a big musicals fan, has written a post at Comet Over Hollywood explaining what she loves about the movie. I feel she's on target.
...The Niles Film Museum up north in Fremont, California, has a Buster Keaton Weekend coming in late March.
...I'm very much opposed to MLB's decision to ditch the intentional walk in favor of an immediate walk based on a dugout signal. It will save minimal time while irritating traditionalists such as myself, and more importantly, baseball fans know that intentional walks don't always go as planned, so the potential for memorable moments is now removed. Check out the video of intentional walks gone wrong here. I don't know what those in charge of baseball are drinking these days, but the proposal to start extra innings with a runner on second base is even worse. Why are these suddenly issues after over a century?!
...Happy birthday to actress Mary Carlisle, seen at right, who just turned 103 on February 3rd! Carlisle's film MURDER IN THE PRIVATE CAR (1934) was reviewed here last fall.
...Bob Hope's family wants to sell the family estate in Toluca Lake and give the proceeds to charity, to fulfill the wishes of Bob and Dolores Hope. They're fighting a campaign to designate the house as a historic landmark.
...In my reviews I often mention Bess Flowers, the "dress extra" who appeared in extra and bit parts in hundreds of films. Classic Movie Treasures recently published a brief piece, "Who Was Bess Flowers?"
...The Landmark Regent Theater in Westwood is closing after 50 years.
...The schedule for the 19th Annual Noir City Hollywood festival is now available, and it's completely amazing. I'll have full details posted here in March.
Bill Paxton has died suddenly due to complications from heart surgery. Paxton's long career included APOLLO 13 (1995), one of my very favorite films of recent decades, and TOMBSTONE (1993), TWISTER (1996), and many more films and TV shows. I especially enjoyed him in the early days of Marvel's AGENTS OF SHIELD. I'd forgotten that he was present in the audience at a TCM Classic Film Festival screening of STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. (1928) at the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival, which was captured by friends in an unobtrusive "selfie."
...More Notable Passings: As a fan of the original TV series BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (1978-79), I was very much saddened to learn of the passing of Richard Hatch, who starred as Captain Apollo (seen here in a photo with costar Jane Seymour). He was 71. Hatch also starred in the 2004-2009 GALACTICA reboot, playing a completely different character...Film critic Richard Schickel recently passed on at 84. I frankly have mixed feelings about Schickel's work and opinions, but he was undeniably an important figure and I will always be very appreciative of his early '70s series THE MEN WHO MADE THE MOVIES, which captured my imagination as a young child and helped spur my interest in classic films.
Bruce Lansbury, Angela's younger brother, has passed away at 87. He worked in TV from THE WILD, WILD WEST in the '60s to his sister's long-running MURDER, SHE WROTE in the '90s...Cinematographer Gerald Hirschfeld has died at 95. His credits included TWO-MINUTE WARNING (1976), which I watched earlier this month, along with FAIL-SAFE (1964) and YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974), among other titles...Screenwriter John Gay has died at 92. In addition to feature films such as RUN SILENT RUN DEEP (1958) and SEPARATE TABLES (1958), he wrote a number of good TV-movies such as BERLIN TUNNEL 21 (1981), THE LONG SUMMER OF GEORGE ADAMS (1982), and IVANHOE (1982)...Steven Spielberg's mother Leah Adler, longtime owner of the Los Angeles restaurant The Milky Way, has died at 97.
...For even more classic film links, please visit my February 7th roundup.
Have a great week!