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 Post subject: Diamond Head
PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:44 pm 
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Location: Sweden
Directed by: Guy Green
Production year: 1963
Starring: Charlton Heston, Yvette Mimieux, George Chakiris


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Plot:

Rich Hawaiian pineapple grower and US Senatorial candidate Richard Howland tries to control everything and everyone around him, including his headstrong sister, Slone. Howland learns the hard way that money and power cannot buy love and happiness.

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 Post subject: Re: Diamond Head
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:53 pm 
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I've only seen this film a couple of times; once long ago on TV and then 5 years ago on DVD.

I always looked upon Heston's character here as a slightly older version of his Leiningen from The Naked Jungle, but with a reversal to the character's story arc. In The Naked Jungle, Heston's character started as a real hardened tough s.o.b. who is softened a bit as the story progresses by the new woman in his life. Here, his "King" Howland begins as a fairly liberal (for those times) live-and-let-live rich guy who becomes hardened and close-minded when the issue of race becomes personal for him.

I think Heston's and the filmmaker's intent was to show the pitfalls of racism and the irony when it does become a family issue instead of abstract theory, but I think it just ended up presenting Heston as an unlikable sort without giving any reasons for his attitudes. It does show how Heston was a bigger star than all the others in this film; whenever he is onscreen here, everyone else kind of fades into the background. Maybe that was a calculated method of the director.

I will say, based on memory, the scenery was very nice in this one (the Hawaiian locations). The danger to that is that some films rely on the nice pictures to carry the film.


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 Post subject: Re: Diamond Head
PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:06 pm 
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I remember seeing this movie when it came out in the 60's and than watching it just awhile ago as well. I think what I liked about the film was how it explored the prejudices of that time in Hawaii. I am not sure I agree with the statement that in terms of his character that there were no reasons given for his attitude. His family was like royalty on the island. He was use to getting what he wanted and when his sister bucks the "tradition" and his becoming a father to a child from an oriental woman who sadly he loved through his belief system off. ok I am probably getting too philosophical about it I would agree that it is not one of Hestons best films but what I liked about it was that he played a character that wasn't all that likable. Lets face it no matter what he starred in in his heyday he was larger than life on that screen..

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 Post subject: Re: Diamond Head
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:41 am 
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Not Heston's best film but I admire his willingness to play such an unsympathetic lead character. I also thought George Chakiris did well opposite Heston.


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 Post subject: Re: Diamond Head
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:58 am 
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EL-CID-1983 wrote:
Not Heston's best film but I admire his willingness to play such an unsympathetic lead character. I also thought George Chakiris did well opposite Heston.


He definitely did!

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 Post subject: Re: Diamond Head
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:11 am 
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lovelyrita wrote:
I am not sure I agree with the statement that in terms of his character that there were no reasons given for his attitude. His family was like royalty on the island. He was use to getting what he wanted and when his sister bucks the "tradition" and his becoming a father to a child from an oriental woman who sadly he loved through his belief system off.

You're probably right on this particular score. I was basing my comments on 5-year old memory and haven't seen this film many times. His (Heston's character, Howland) attitude was based on old tradition and, more, family tradition, putting it at odds with the new wave of thought (the film was made around the time of the Civil Rights movement in the USA, as it happens).

I think what puzzled me, however, were suggestions of even darker, alternate reasons for Howland's motivations. Again, going by years old memory, Mimieux's character (Howland's sister) has a disturbing dream or nightmare late in the film, in which it's suggested that only Howland himself, her brother, was suitable for her. This invites speculation on incestuous overtones. Or, if one wants to avoid that, only someone just like Howland was suitable for her, either in her mind or Howland's.

So, with this dream and other suggestions, I would ask - which is it? Is it adherrance to family tradition, a social & political pressure, that motivates Howland, or is it a more sinister fixation on his sister? The film didn't really seem to make up its mind on this, resorting to somewhat lurid suggestion.


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 Post subject: Re: Diamond Head
PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:58 pm 
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Chrysagon haven't been back to this thread in a few so I am heading out now but I will answer later as I love discussing details about movies like this..Thx for responding..

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 Post subject: Re: Diamond Head
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:25 pm 
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This is simply one of those films I know I'll be watching over and over again. Main thing I liked was the personal struggle Heston's character was going through. I don't really believe that it was ever a question of race that was the problem. Something even hinted at by dr. Dean in the film. If you think about it, he is displaying typical characteristics of an overbearing/overprotecting brother who wouldn't like any man his sister dated. He is also a man who lost a wife and a child. That could easily be his reason for rejecting this new child. And that's precisely why I love the ending so much.
Spoiler:
He goes after his child. Saying how he's, after all,half a Howland.
I really felt his character moving on here. It was only baby steps but no one just changes over night.

Has anyone else noticed a smidge of Clark Gable in Heston's performance in this film? I think it's definitely there. After all, the role was meant for Gable.

Since I loved the scenery in this film I looked up the locations it was shot at. I found this:

http://www.hawaiimagazine.com/blogs/hawaii_today/2009/8/31/Movies_hawaii_kauai_oahu_diamond_head_Charlton+Heston


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 Post subject: Re: Diamond Head
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:59 pm 
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Good point Howland. I do in fact agree with you about no man being good enough for his sister. In fact I would dare say that there was a tension between them and especially on his part. I love that someone likes this movie as much as I do. Thx for posting the link. However I did not know that this was Clark Gable's part. I LOVE CG but for CH was amazing as well. I said in my earlier post that I liked seeing him play a part like this. I do however believe that some of his feelings in deed had to do with race (Trade with them, be friends with them, even sleep with them, but don't marry them…)
but also terms of hating not getting his own way and the fact that Dr. Dean Kahana (George Chakaris) would not back down when confronted by him. He did in fact have an elitist view no doubt, his belief system was being torn apart and thankfully in the end saw the light..

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 Post subject: Re: Diamond Head
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:05 pm 
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It's interesting as Heston's character is nicknamed 'The King'. Gable's nickname was 'The King of Hollywood'.
You make a good point. I was perhaps stretching it a bit when completely excluding the racial issue. It's as if everything he was brought up to believe in is being brought into question. Every time I watch this film I always get the feeling that Sloane chose Paul just to spite her brother. So he wouldn't have it his way. She did love Paul, but maybe she made the choice on some subconscious level. Remember when she said to Dean how she'll be a Kahana after all?


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