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April 06, 2008

Charlton Heston: 1924 - 2008

charlton heston.jpg

There will be debate as to whether Charlton Heston was truly "an axiom of the cinema" as pronounced by Michel Mourlet. He was at one point, my favorite movie star. Looking back, he was probably no more convincing as a Mexican cop than as a Jewish prophet or prince. Still, Heston's filmography, at least through the mid Seventies, is strong on some of the better, or least more interesting, films of some very good filmmakers. My own introduction was seeing El Cid on a huge screen in Detroit at the time of that film's first release. My feelings for El Cid did not diminish when I attended the theatrical re-release, much older, with a greater familiarity of Heston, Loren and especially Anthony Mann.

Other favorites would include his westerns, Major Dundee and Will Penny. Heston's appearance in Kenneth Branagh's version of Hamlet is a reminder of his classical training. His science fiction films, Planet of the Apes, The Omega Man and Soylent Green constitute the best post-apocalyptic triple feature one could ever hope to see. Another personal favorite is his appearance as Cardinal Richelieu in Richard Lester's Musketeer films. I still recall "Take One" magazine's critic mentioning that this was the role Heston was born to play. Others may carp about politics, or remember Heston for other films. Axiom, maybe. But to borrow from the book title of one of his films, he was legend.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at April 6, 2008 12:52 AM


All I have to do is see him get out of bed in his underwear to confront Gregory Peck in The Big Country, and I'm a teenager glued to the TV set all over again.

Posted by: Campaspe at April 7, 2008 09:36 AM