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 Post subject: Re: Remembering Charlton Heston
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:53 am 
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That was a very well written article.

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 Post subject: Re: Remembering Charlton Heston
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 4:19 am 
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Just found this brief but nice write-up remembering Mr. Heston :

"Charlton Heston is an axiom. He constitutes a tragedy in himself, his presence in any film being enough to instill beauty. The pent-up violence expressed by the somber phosphorescence of his eyes, his eagle's profile, the imperious arch of his eyebrows, the hard, bitter curve of his lips, the stupendous strength of his torso — this is what he has been given, and what not even the worst of directors can debase. It is in this sense that one can say that Charlton Heston, by his very existence and regardless of the film he is in, provides a more accurate definition of the cinema than films like Hiroshima mon amour or Citizen Kane, films whose aesthetic either ignores or repudiates Charlton Heston. Through him, mise-en-scène can confront the most intense of conflicts and settle them with the contempt of a god imprisoned, quivering with muted rage.

— From In Defense of Violence, by Michel Mourlet, 1960


While I'm not sure I entirely agree with Mourlet (or even fully understand him), I certainly enjoy Heston's acting and films enough to acknowledge a glint of truth under the inflated praise. His "presence in any film" certainly makes the movie more entertaining, and he seemed to emerge from most of them unscathed by any of their failings. Jonathan Rosenbaum has suggested the same about Arnold Schwarzenegger, which is fitting. Before Tim Burton re-made (sorry, "re-imagined") Planet of the Apes, I had heard a rumor (or perhaps I had merely made a wish) that James Cameron was planning a remake with Schwarzenegger in Heston's role, which seemed entirely appropriate. In fact, Schwarzenegger is perhaps the only star who could survive such a film and the expectations placed upon it, regardless of its success or failure (see: Batman and Robin).

Similarly, Heston was seldom bested by the often-fantastic grandeur of his films. Chariot races, talking apes, nocturnal mutants, hijacked planes, walls of fire: I don't know if he elevated such things or simply remained above them, but he certainly committed to the at-times over-the-top machismo of the characters who confronted them. This added greatly to the effectiveness of Heston's relatively understated roles. Mike Vargas in Touch of Evil, despite the makeup and mustache, is one example (certainly it was difficult for even Heston to overpower Orson Welles), and his turn as the Player King in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet is perhaps my favorite, though it probably wouldn't have been if it hadn't been preceded by the gusto of "Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!" or "Soylent Green is people!"

The quality identified by Mourlet is perhaps what made Heston the ideal spokesperson for controversial conservative causes later in life: The theatricality of "From my cold dead hands" is a line I would have cheered in one of his films, regardless of my feelings about this sentiment in the real world".

The blog contains a response as well. If you are interested to read add your comment, see http://second-reel.blogspot.in/2012/10/ ... eston.html

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 Post subject: Re: Remembering Charlton Heston
PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 5:07 pm 
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Here is a tribute to Chuck, just found at http://arlington.tributes.com/obituary/print/83731201

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 Post subject: Re: Remembering Charlton Heston
PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 2:50 pm 
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A wonderful tribute to Heston from a professor of film studies, for whom Heston played and attended question and answer sessions in classroom, and with whom he discussed his scripts, and shared his love of Shakespeare.

William Shakespeare, Charlton Heston, and Me
Nick Salerno. PhD

And to write Heston a personal letter when his own 1972 film version of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra failed to find a US distributor. Heston had again played Antony in the film which he had directed in London. This time around, Heston’s more mature body was better suited to Shakespeare’s mature Antony than it had been to Shakespeare’s younger Antony in the Burge film. The problem was Hildegarde Neil’s wooden performance as Cleopatra. Without a strong Cleopatra, the film was doomed to fail, and fail it did. It did not play theaters in the U.S.

Thus, when I wrote Heston and asked to screen a 16mm print of the film for my classes, he did me one better. He called me with a generous offer: he would send his personal 35mm print of the film and come with it for a question-and-answer session with my class—if I could find a way to screen the 35mm print.

Enter Dan Harkins, the owner then of a few local movie theaters, now the emperor of a chain of theaters that crosses state boundaries. Harkins had been a student in the first film class I ever taught. All it took was a single phone call. Harkins offered me his Valley Art Theatre in Tempe free of charge.

The 35mm print came by courier a few days before Heston’s own scheduled arrival. On the appointed day, my students packed the theatre. But would Heston really turn up? On November 1, 1973, I was anxiously pacing in front of the Valley Art, waiting, I suppose, for Moses to drive up in a stretch limo, when I spotted Heston walking down Mill Avenue. He’d had his driver let him off a few blocks up the street so that he “could get a feel for Tempe.”

For the next few hours Heston was anything but the movie star. He was gentlemanly, generous with his time, willing—nay, eager—to talk with my students. He was the professional Shakespearean actor, a lover and thoughtful interpreter of the works of Stratford’s Bard. When he told me to call him the next time I was in Los Angeles, I was stunned. I’d been told similar things by other stars I’d interviewed, only to learn later that most of them were just being polite. Somehow I knew that Heston meant it.

So, when in 1975 he called to invite me to see his Macbeth during its run in Los Angeles, I wasn’t completely surprised. Flabbergasted perhaps. Needless to say, I accepted this latest generous offer. He was playing Macbeth, opposite Vanessa Redgrave and John Ireland, and said he would leave word with the doorman to allow me backstage after the performance. Entering his dressing room, I found him with his beautiful wife Lydia and their son Fraser (he had played the baby Moses in The Ten Commandments). Heston introduced me to them and took me around to meet Redgrave and Ireland. When Michael York and his stunning-looking wife Pat also came backstage, I met them too.

N Charlton Heston during the 1973 interview at the Airport Ramada Inn.

Then Heston asked me, almost hesitantly, if I had a few minutes to discuss the performance in private with him. Was he kidding?, I wondered. Charlton Heston wants to know what I think of his Macbeth? He was treating me as the equal I didn’t feel I was. We shared, however, a great love of Shakespeare, and like two pros, for about 20 minutes we discussed the production and his performance in it. That was our second meeting.

We would meet one more time. In 1978, Heston had put together a one-man show in which he showed clips from his favorite movies and took questions from the audience. He had decided to preview the show in Phoenix and called to see if I might attend it with him. I can’t say if he really thought my saying no was an option, but he made it clear that he didn’t want to impose on me.

He arrived at Sky Harbor with lovely Lydia. They were staying overnight at the Ramada Inn, where I spent the better part of two hours interviewing him for my television show. I still have the interview. We talked about Orson Welles and Sam Peckinpah and George Stevens. I never once asked him about politics, nor did he bring up the subject.

That night, I sat in the audience with Mrs. Heston while he commanded the stage. The audience, of course, loved him. When referring to Cecil B. DeMille, who had virtually created the over-sized Heston image in The Greatest Show on Earth and The Ten Commandments, he used the formal and somewhat cautious, Mr. De Mille. However, you had only had to hear him say the names Willie [Wyler, director of Ben-Hur] and Eddie [Robinson, co-star in Soylent Green] to realize which Hollywood greats he loved. Perhaps the most moving moment of the evening was his emotional retelling of the filming of Robinson’s death scene in Soylent Green; both actors knew that Robinson was actually dying in real life and that they were immortalizing their last earthly good-byes on film.

When the Hestons left for Los Angeles the next morning, Heston and I said good-bye for the third, and, as it turned out, last time. For the next two years or so, Heston would every so often send me a script he was considering and ask me what I thought about it. We would discuss these scripts over the phone, but I never saw him again. By the time all the NRA stuff made the news, we had gone our different ways.

But I would read the news items, both those which praised Heston for his stand and those who demonized him for his NRA speech, and ask myself if they were writing about the same man who had asked me if the changes he had made to the text of Macbeth were too drastic, the Heston who played for me—with apparent ease and utter truthfulness—the role of soft-spoken gentleman and thoughtful Shakespearean.

If you want to read the full article, see http://emerituscollege.asu.edu/sites/de ... peare.html

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