Touch of Evil belongs to Orson Welles as a corrupt American police captain and Charlton Heston as a Mexican narcotics cop. But in just a few short scenes, Marlene Dietrich reminds us once again why she was a major movie star. Her whorehouse madam character is seedy and shabby, but she certainly is not. Beautifully lit, she commands attention by doing very little. She knows just the right amount of energy to extend to put over a line and make it resonate, temporarily jolting the movie from it’s squalid setting to a strange, elevated, magical place.
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Planet of the Apes begins filming, 1967. The movie, in which astronaut Charlton Heston lands on a planet where apes rule and humans are oppressed, spawned four sequels, two television series, a remake and a variation on a theme (2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes). In this 1968 release, actors cast as simians were largely hidden behind somewhat immobile masks, which prompted costar Roddy McDowell to suggest that the actors adopt various facial gestures—tics, blinks and so forth—to make the visage seem less frozen. During breaks, meals for the animal actors were administered through straws in order to avoid redoing the time-consuming makeup, and, oddly enough, the various species tended to stick together: apes hung out with apes, orangutans with orangutans and chimps with chimps.
William Holden is born in O’Fallon, Illinois, 1918. In February of 1952, the actor reunited with his Sunset Blvd. director, Billy Wilder, for the film version of the stage play Stalag 17. It wasn’t an easy “yes” for Holden to get to, as he had seen the play—a comedy/drama about a motley group of POWs and their growing suspicion that one of them is an informer—and walked out after the first act. Charlton Heston was intended for the lead character of role of Sergeant J.J. Sefton; he dropped out when Sefton was made more cynical and less heroic. Kirk Douglas said he turned down the role because, like Holden, he didn’t like the play. Ultimately, Holden was forced by Paramount to take the part. For the year 1953, William Holden took home the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Sefton.
Anne Baxter dies of a brain aneurysm in New York City, 1985. Though she was lovely in The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), heartbreaking in The Razor’s Edge (1946) and wickedly conniving in All About Eve (1950), we will always love her for “Oh Moses, Moses, you stubborn, splendid, adorable fool!” Baxter’s utterance in The Ten Commandments (1956) is one of the most howlingly bad lines of dialogue in any of Cecil B. DeMille’s movies (which is saying quite a bit). Appearing opposite Charlton Heston as Moses and Yul Brynner as Ramses, the actress throws herself into the role of Egyptian queen Nefertiri, a part for which Audrey Hepburn was initially considered, but passed over because of her waifish figure. If you’ve never seen the biblical epic, simply wait for Easter and then turn on the TV.
In 1960, Stephen Boyd appears as the mystery guest on TV's What’s My Line? and mentions a recent brush with death on a film set.
The Irish actor was discovered in 1955 by actor Michael Redgrave while Boyd was working as a doorman in London. The following year he was signed by 20th Century Fox and wasted no time making his first movie, The Man Who Never Was (1956). His career reached its zenith three years later when he played Messala opposite Charlton Heston in the enormously popular Ben-Hur. He later appeared in Billy Rose’s Jumbo (1962), The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) and Fantastic Voyage (1966), but missed out on a couple of plum roles: Mark Antony in Cleopatra (1963) and James Bond in Dr. No (1962). On the set of The Big Gamble (1962)—a kind of an African Queen meets The Wages of Fear—Boyd was saved from drowning by costar David Wayne.
In 1977, the actor died of a heart attack while playing golf at the Porter Valley Country Club in Northridge, California.
Here is Boyd’s appearance on What’s My Line?: