Monday, April 7, 2008
Getting Your Dirty Stinkin' Paws off Death
Charlton Heston 1924-2008
I may have my ideological differences with Charlton Heston but I found him a fascinating figure who proudly stood for his beliefs no matter how out of step they may have been. It's my sincere hope that some of the focus in his obituaries take a momentary detour from the discussion of his NRA presidency to mention his work with the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.
Strangely, I have never seen two of Heston most famous roles: neither the eponymous Ben-Hur nor Moses in The Ten Commandments (he parts a sea at some point, right?), I guess I am not big on the biblical epics. I do, however, have a real affection for his work in 60's-70's era sci-fi: the first two Planet of the Apes, The Omega Man, Soylent Green, films which blended social commentary, albeit sometimes didactically or awkwardly, into their story's fabric, issues including racism, overpopulation, pollution and nuclear warfare. Hell, Apes screenwriter Rod Serling's final twist proposes that the outcome from war and dependencies on weaponry is the destruction and devolution of the species, making it a tad ironic then that it's star would become the spokesperson for the rights of Americans to bare arms.
Heston was one of the last great "personality" actors. Performers who may not necessarily have the "chops" to convincingly mutate into whatever minute charactarestics a role requires a la your Daniel Day-Lewises (though I would have loved to see Heston doing Daniel Plainview) but bring with them a larger than life presence. William Shatner may be one of the last of this species still around.
In celebration of Heston's work, I present some posters from Heston's films from the Planet of the Apes and after era, an era where Heston filmography is rife with genre pictures, just because this is one of my favorite era of movie advertising.