Charlton Heston

I am, of course, greatly saddened to hear of the loss of Charlton Heston. I don’t think he and I would have found too much that we agree on, but he parlayed his god-like looks and astonishing physical presence into not one, but two separate careers — first as an impossibly sincere bronze idol in Technicolor pageants like The Ten Commandments and The Greatest Show on Earth, then as a bitter, cynical crank in a deathless trilogy of late-60s science fiction classics — Planet of the Apes, The Omega Man and Soylent Green. He managed to get into an Orson Welles movie as well and battle voracious ants. He followed those two careers with a third career as the eminence gris in a series of disaster movies that made a lot of money but, let’s face it, weren’t very good. And of course, he was in Ben-Hur, one of the greatest movies ever made. Tonight I will race my Arabian stallions in tribute, then maybe punch out an ape and help land a damaged airplane.hitcounter

Comments

18 Responses to “Charlton Heston”
  1. Anonymous says:

    I watched Touch of Evil last night for the first time so the coincidence is uncanny.

    The direction in that movie is superb but the plot is a bit murky. It doesn’t have the tight noir pace that I thought it would have.

    At first I thought it was a little bit ridiculous having Heston playing a Mexican but it turns out all he did was put on black face, dye his hair and eyebrows and occasionally prattle out some Spanish.

    Last note, Janet Leigh was annoying as hell in this movie, too. Her character was just so stupid and naive that it bothered me. Then there was the freaking spazzed out motel guy.

    Man, for a movie I really liked, it had a lot of stuff that bothered me.

  2. black13 says:

    If I’d ever met the man, by all accounts I would probably have ended up hating him. But I never met him, so all I know of and about him is that he starred in a lot of movies that I really really liked.

    He was An Icon. (And he was even capable of making fun of himself — he played God in Paul Hogan’s “Almost an Angel” — an uncredited appearance, even, natch.

    I always enjoyed his movies. His passing makes me sad.

  3. planettom says:

    I like a little low-budget movie he directed, MOTHER LOAD (1982), with Kim Basinger, where he plays a crazy old coot with a gold mine way up in Canada.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know if it counts as a fourth career, but he was quite the western star for awhile as well, some of my favorites being Will Penny, Major Dundee and the wonderful 55 Days at Peking, which may not have strictly been a western, but falls into that category for me.

    And I would also like to call attention to his supporting role as the very evil Cardinal Richelieu in the two Salkind Musketeer movies, which is one of the very rare examples of Heston acting against type, and doing it well.

    Bill Willingham

    • Todd says:

      I’ve never seen any of his westerns. I will take you recommendations to heart.

    • craigjclark says:

      He was also great as the Player King in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet — about the only American stunt casting in that film that actually worked.

    • Todd says:

      It also occurs to me that The Ten Commandments is a western as well, with Heston as the half-breed sheriff with divided loyalties who finally sorts out who he’s standing with and faces down the bad guy.

  5. r_sikoryak says:

    I was going to make a snarky comment about his fifth career as NRA president/Michael Moore interviewee, but let’s just concentrate on his better performances.
    He marched with Martin Luther King Jr., too.

    • Todd says:

      Which puts him to the left of John McCain.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’ve been a film nut an an NRA member for a long time so I’ve kept up on Heston. I never cared much for him as the NRA president; get got press, sure, but he seemed to be much more of a believer than a thinker, a speaker, not a debater.

        But what an acting career. He wasn’t so much a skilled actor as a great one, as if he had been crafted simply to get good rolls and dominate the screen. His booming voice and heroic looks appear ready to be mocked these days, but he was so damn good that his roles can be enjoyed without the creepy feeling of camp.

        Really sad to see him go.

  6. teamwak says:

    I always thought Soylent Green was an excellent movie, with some great sci-fi ideas hidden among the flares. I only really got round to watching it because Lance Henrickson in Millennium had it as his voice-activated password.

  7. Anonymous says:

    And buy a gun?

    • Todd says:

      Well theoretically I don’t have to, since I will now be able to pry them out of Heston’s cold, dead hands.

      What? I’m not the one who said it.

  8. Todd says:

    Re: Charlton Heston

    Mr. McConeghey:

    Strangely enough, I was just thinking of you the other day and the episode where Lt. Ant’s gf gave birth to a live puppy onstage. Good times.

    I expect Mr. Heston will have much to discuss with Mr. Louden.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Anti-gun

    heston made a lot of good movies yes but it still sticks in my craw how arrogant he was when it came to the subject of guns. Guns dont kill people, people kill people is stupid. When was the last time you saw a drive by done with anything but a gun.