Sunday, April 13, 2008
When Charlton Heston died last week, there were a number of obits that all focused on three things: his epic films, his physique and his political leanings. One of the best pieces that I read said that there no epics like 'Ben-Hur' or 'The Ten Commandments' anymore because there is no working actor who has the outsized personality of Charlton Heston. He was one of the few actors who seemed more at home in period films than contemporary ones. The late 60s and early 70s signaled the end of the the monumental extravaganzas that Heston carried on his broad shoulders. Among his last successful starring roles were the original 'Planet of the Apes' and 'Omega Man', based on the novel 'I Am Legend', recently revived successfully last year by Will Smith.
As time went on, Heston's politics took over. In his later years, he was the president of National Rifle Association and was a controversial lightning rod for conservative points of view.
I could really care less about all of that. While not the greatest of actors, within his range, Heston performed admirably and it's difficult to think of another actor who could stand in his shoes (or sandals) in his signature roles. There was a period of time when the movies were really big, not CGI big. In the middle of all that bigness, was Charlton Heston. Rest in Peace, Chuck.
Suggested viewing: Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments, Touch of Evil, Will Penny, Major Dundee