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 Posted:   Feb 9, 2014 - 2:59 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Personally, I *loathed* Heston's NRA advocacy, especially after Columbine. However, one should separate the politics from the artist, I feel. He gave indelible performances in a wide variety of movies, he carved an imposing swath, if I may mangle the language a bit, across a multitude of epic canvases as no one else could, in his day or in the present one.


The thing to remember is that Heston made the same quantum swing that most of America did, sometime in the late '70s.

Without getting into politics, it's more to do with the US tendency to POLARISE than any one orientation. In the '60s/'70s it was all liberal values, free love, flower power, then a sudden reaction to the dark side of that, to the opposite extreme, namely fortress capitalism, conservatism and family values. And on both poles, they went sometimes to extremes and the dark side.

So he was only going with the flow. He's an actor, in some ways a self-deprecating one, and he loved an audience. He rode with the audience.

I don't know how Alzheimer's hits or progresses, but his book 'In the Arena' was far less sharp than the comments he made back in 'The Actor's Life'. A different person almost. he was always idolised in Britain before that gun lobby stuff, then it fell through.

 
 Posted:   Feb 9, 2014 - 3:11 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Heston had far more range that he is credited for, but his physically imposing stature limited him to certain kinds of roles - all the more amazing that he was allowed that deft turn as Richelieu in the Musketeers films.





Yes, anyone who toured the US with Cornell, did hair-raisingly risky live TV plays, and played these great epic heroes has to have something going for him.

Most of these attacks on actors are made by people who have no acting experience. They don't know what's involved, nor the breadth of skills needed for stage acting. It's hard graft.

Acting for stage, TV, radio, cinema, kabuki, No, animation, street theatre, comedy, tragedy, silent film, soap operas, readings, Shakespeare, presenting, ads, melodrama, Passion plays, musicals, puppetry, re-enactments, forensic work ... there are SO MANY forms that the jobbing actor gets involved in, and they all need specialist skills, talent, artistry and WORK.

Everybody's a critic because everybody secretly thinks that had they been born better looking, they could do it. The rest of the world thinks not.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 9, 2014 - 3:35 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I have to agree with whoever said that Heston's acting left something to be desired, but there's no denying his CHARISMA, which I suppose is why he was such a big star in all those epic and big Hollywood movies back in the day.

I also agree that he played in many movies with great scores -- almost all of the classic composers of that era seemed to do a Heston movie at some point, even John Williams (DIAMOND HEAD).

 
 Posted:   Feb 9, 2014 - 4:50 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

I think Charlton Heston was a terrific actor. And I hated, hated, hated his politics. You have to separate the two.


The most controversial issue surrounding Charlton Heston was his active pro NRA stance. I mean, one may agree or disagree with that position, but it's not as if he defended child molestation.
Personally, I actually know some NRA gun nuts who are very nice and responsible folks. It's not as if all of them go on shooting rampages.

 
 Posted:   Feb 9, 2014 - 5:02 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

I didn't know Charlton Heston composed scores.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 9, 2014 - 7:07 AM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)



Steve Boyd is so much convincing in his part in 'Ben-Hur'.


But he came unstuck when he played the lead in The Fall Of The Roman Empire, he came across as boring & insipid, not his fault, it's just that very few actors can carry a film, & Heston was one of them.

I couldn't care less what he thought of guns, but the American Senate agree with him, as they block any attempt at changing the gun laws.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 9, 2014 - 9:22 AM   
 By:   ceb   (Member)

I seldom post here, I watch for serious discussion of new releases from people whose taste seem to parallel mine - for in the long run each of us is our own critic, valuing what we hear (or see) against our expectations.
So Heston for me (El Cid remains my favorite film), his political views were of no interest to me, no more than any other citizen who choses to be hear.
I do think Heston tends to be underrated, the sheer size of many of his films tend to obscure his work.

I enjoy some composers more than others - some I really don't care for at all. This is a matter of my personal taste, me taking up space and time to announce such would be silly, and those who appreciate the composers in question would pay no attention (rightfully so) to me.

beauty is in....

 
 Posted:   Feb 9, 2014 - 3:09 PM   
 By:   RoryR   (Member)

Funny how nearly everyone can now forgive John Wayne for his more boneheaded politics, but not Charlton Heston. I guess not enough time has passed.

As for Heston's screen acting.... it really came down to how much he respected his director and how well that director knew how to use him.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 9, 2014 - 3:18 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

YAWNNNNNNNNNNNING

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 9, 2014 - 3:46 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

You need to get more sleep.

 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2014 - 2:20 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

I can watch '55 days at Peking' over and over for the music but I try to imagine a better actor in the lead. Someone like William Holden, Kirk Douglas or Gregory Peck.

It's not a great film. It just isn't. I'm not sure if the Marine character he was playing was based on a historical personage or not, that needs taken into account. At the turn of that century, there were, of course, all kinds of people on earth, as there always were. But there are people who have the period look, that's what the art directors and casters look for. You're thinking Westerns or WWII. Gregory Peck, by the way, you might not have noticed, has a north Chinese look. He even played that once in some film. That'd be confusing. He SHOULD'VE played Kurt Jurgens' part in 'Inn of the Sixth Happiness'.



Steve Boyd is so much convincing in his part in 'Ben-Hur'.


What is THAT when it's at home?! MEANINGLESS! It's a different part!!!

I admire Boyd (he went to my school, doncha know) but his part is endlessly easier to play than Judah. Bushman said that in the 1920s. It's harder to play innocence and virtue than villains. Ridiculous comparison. (Incidentally, Wallace's original Messala was rather different. Haughtier, Chris Plummer-ish.) The part of Judah was very hard, ESPECIALLY since the '50s version insisted that Judah be in his '30s and not a teenager. How do you capture that benign uncommittedness in a man his age, without making him look a sap? Lots of takes and William Wyler, and some talent does it.


Your cat can't act by the way. Only react instinctively. It may seem obvious, but it needs saying.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2014 - 4:11 AM   
 By:   Doug Raynes   (Member)


I admire Boyd (he went to my school, doncha know) but his part is endlessly easier to play than Judah. Bushman said that in the 1920s. It's harder to play innocence and virtue than villains.


Actors often say that they prefer playing villians don't they? Boyd was particularly good in THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS in which he made a considerable impact even though he was only in the last third of the film. I saw the film when it was first released and thought him impressive at the time, within an all round excellent cast. No doubt William Wyler thought that his well observed duplicitous performance in that film was just right for Messala. He was perhaps only as good as his material - one reason why Heston turned down FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE.

 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2014 - 7:15 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

He was perhaps only as good as his material - one reason why Heston turned down FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE.


Yes Doug, despite all the beautiful art direction, unflinching research, great actors, spectacle, amazing cinematography and Dimi Tiomkin, the film had no shape, it was never going to go anywhere. And of course, even though Heston played Romans in Shakespeare films (three, all Marc Antony!) he would've had an eye towards not being typecast, and not diluting 'Ben-Hur' with too many such roles. At his stature in the industry he could afford a few responsibilities to past work!

 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2014 - 6:14 PM   
 By:   Adam B.   (Member)

I have three of Mr. Heston's films in my library. The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur and Planet of the Apes all have classic scores by different composers. I'm certainly looking forward to TTC being released.

Heston was a marvelous actor and had a commanding screen presence. Director James Cameron recognized this when he hired Heston for his small role in True Lies. Heston asked Cameron why he wanted him for the role and Cameron responded by saying that he wanted someone who could plausibly intimidate Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It's amusing that some people feel Heston be "forgiven" for his political views. There's nothing to forgive. He didn't go with the flow and follow the path of least resistance as so many gutless Hollywood hypocrites have. It makes me admire him all the more, actually. Now I think I'll sit back and watch POTA.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2014 - 9:35 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

It's amusing that some people feel Heston be "forgiven" for his political views. There's nothing to forgive. He didn't go with the flow and follow the path of least resistance as so many gutless Hollywood hypocrites have. It makes me admire him all the more, actually. Now I think I'll sit back and watch POTA.

Have to agree. Heston took a position which seemed to him right. Others may consider it wrong, but that doesn't make it so. People sometimes act as though Heston advocated school shootings, which of course is ridiculous. I abhor the number of guns in the US and the mayhem they cause, but I can see where Heston and others were coming from. If every citizen owned a gun there could never be any chance, should the government be usurped, of malign forces actually taking over the country, and the idea of putting military as well as political power into the hands of the people can certainly seem attractive from certain angles. Of course the price is too high, way too high, but it's still a legitimate viewpoint.

Correct me if I'm wrong. but didn't Heston argue again the private ownership of semi automatic weapons? I seem to have read that somewhere.

 
 Posted:   Feb 11, 2014 - 2:18 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

It's amusing that some people feel Heston be "forgiven" for his political views. There's nothing to forgive. He didn't go with the flow and follow the path of least resistance as so many gutless Hollywood hypocrites have. It makes me admire him all the more, actually. Now I think I'll sit back and watch POTA.

Have to agree. Heston took a position which seemed to him right. Others may consider it wrong, but that doesn't make it so. People sometimes act as though Heston advocated school shootings, which of course is ridiculous.


My sentiments exactly. Heston took a firm postion pro gun owners' rights at a time when it wasn't the most popular thing to do. One may agree or disagree with that position, but I don't think it is a black or white or good and evil issue, and his opinion certainly doesn't make Heston unsympathetic in my book.

Particularly when living in rural USA, where even emergency police deployment may take a couple of hours until they actually arrive, I'd say appropriately arming yourself for self-protection is a pretty good idea.

 
 Posted:   Feb 11, 2014 - 12:37 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

It's amusing that some people feel Heston be "forgiven" for his political views. There's nothing to forgive. He didn't go with the flow and follow the path of least resistance as so many gutless Hollywood hypocrites have. It makes me admire him all the more, actually. Now I think I'll sit back and watch POTA.


You can see the wheels of revisionism creaking here. Pendulum swing of Hegelian synthesis. Maybe.

Somehow this has become a political thread, which it was never meant to be. Actually he DID go with the flow, affecting liberal attutudes when the country was liberal, then conservative when the country swung conservative. In his case the 'flow' was that of the general mass, not Hollywood. And it does need said that the decisions to hold rallies in areas following gun atrocities was provocative.

But in most parts of the planet, simply being an epic actor does not fit one for high office. Unless ... one imagines that high office is an act, a persona. The problem in the US is that at federal level, because the country is so BIG, a very simplisitc approach is needed to hit the LCD, unlike at local government level.


Anyhow. as regards the music, there are MANY scores other than the few everyone cites that are sublime, as many have mentioned above. 'Khartoum', 'The War Lord', many others, even such things as Williams' 'Midway'. And Mancini's 'Touch of Evil' for example.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 11, 2014 - 1:32 PM   
 By:   musicalpyramid   (Member)

BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES

(Yes, ok, he was only in the first scene and the last scene, but still)

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 11, 2014 - 1:39 PM   
 By:   TheFamousEccles   (Member)

BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES

(Yes, ok, he was only in the first scene and the last scene, but still)


He was in a little more than that - he probably has about ten (maybe fifteen on the outside) minutes of screen time between the journey into the Forbidden Zone, the jail cell, and the movie's climax.

However, let's point out Rosenman's marvelous score for Heston's "The Bible" series (consisting of a great deal of original material, as well as some classical adaptations). Heston himself loved the music.

 
 Posted:   Feb 11, 2014 - 2:43 PM   
 By:   Zoragoth   (Member)

Particularly when living in rural USA, where even emergency police deployment may take a couple of hours until they actually arrive, I'd say appropriately arming yourself for self-protection is a pretty good idea.

Not to strain towards the off-topic and political, but a gun in your house greatly multiplies the chances you or a family member will die by homicide or suicide. As a recent example:

http://www.bu.edu/news/2013/09/13/new-research-shows-link-between-rates-of-gun-ownership-and-homicides/

"A new study from the American Journal of Public Health shows that U.S. states with higher estimated rates of gun ownership experience a higher number of firearms-related homicides.


The study, covering 30 years (1981-2010) in all 50 states, found a “robust correlation” between estimated levels of gun ownership and actual gun homicides at the state level, even when controlling for factors typically associated with homicides. For each 1 percentage point increase in the prevalence of gun ownership, the state firearm homicide rate increases by 0.9 percent, the authors found.

"This research is the strongest to date to document that states with higher levels of gun ownership have disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides. It suggests that measures which succeed in decreasing the overall prevalence of guns will lower firearm homicide rates.”

And I'll leave it at that! ;-)

As for Chuck Heston, he may have gone wingnutty as the Reagan years descended on the United States, but nevertheless he remains a distinctive and charismatic actor. In the 70s he did take on a number of heroic roles that have led people to look at him as a stolid, monotone-style actor (TWO MINUTE WARNING, AIRPORT 1975, EARTHQUAKE etc), but that was just one phase of a long and varied career. We shall not see his like again.

 
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