Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Charlton Heston 1923-2008

Left: This is the exact movie poster we have on the wall of our spare room, which inspired me to write this.


There is this indescribable expression on Charlton Heston's face, somewhere in the screamingly bad film NUMBER ONE ("You have nowhere to go but down!"). Ex-wide receiver Bruce Dern is talking to aging quarterback Heston about what it's like in the used car business, or whatever business he transitioned to after his football career was over.

"But what do you do?" asked Heston.

Bruce looks stunned that Heston doesn't get it: "I smile at all the people!" he says, in that trademark oily-nasty way he has.

Heston looks... disgusted, indignant.

I realized, as a teenager, that was a real expression I had seen. I thought, "He is disgusted. He doesn't want to sell cars, either."

And Chuck Heston never sold cars. He worked with the likes of Orson Welles, he was Moses and Ben-Hur, he wrote books, he campaigned for Ronald Reagan, he was president of the NRA. But he never sold cars. Whenever I read or heard of his many exploits, I always came back to the disgusted expression on his face in NUMBER ONE; his open contempt for the ordinary life. He would be a star, or nothing.

Cleaning up the spare room yesterday, I saw the old PLANET OF THE APES movie poster we've had hanging on the wall since forever. I realized I needed to blog about Charlton Heston, if only to bid my fond and affectionate farewell to one who has given me so many hours of entertainment and memories. After all, my first trip to the drive-in that I can remember, was to see Heston and Anne Baxter chew the scenery together in Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments. I was maybe four years old? It was the 4th of July, and there were fireworks. God and Country; Chuck certainly would have approved.

Rena at Peace Arena, reminds of us Heston's Civil Rights record, and recounts his march against segregation in Oklahoma in 1961, when few actors had any interest in anti-racist politics.

Resquiat in Pace.


Charlton Heston reminded us, most importantly, that Soylent Green is people!!!!!!


LarryE said...

Thanks for the link about the 1961 march. No, I hadn't known that.

I was never all that impressed with Heston as an actor (he was okay in "big" parts that required a sort of larger than life presence - El Cid, Moses, and the like - but never seemed to have any subtlety to his performance) and certainly did not care for his right-wing activism, so I hadn't mentioned his passing. Now I think I should just to pass that on.

shadocat said...

There was always something about Heston that I've liked, despite his right wing politics later in life. Watch him in "A Touch of Evil", and see the subtlety in THAT performance.

Daisy said...

Shadocat, I absolutely loooove that movie!