Sunday, April 06, 2008
Charlton Heston, 1924 - 2008
Charlton Heston played so many great and significant parts, in so many important films, yet it is as the last man on Earth, Robert Neville, in The Omega Man that he made the greatest impression on me, waking me to a world of science fiction possibilities as I discovered the Post-Apocalyptic sub genre.
The expression 'Larger than life' is bandied about a fair bit but was probably first coined by someone just after meeting Heston. It's partly about the roles he played in such excellent films as Ben Hur, El Cid, Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green, The Greatest Show on Earth, The Ten Commandments, Earthquake, The Three Musketeers, Touch of Evil, The Awakening and his splendid, if unlikely, turn as Sherlock Holmes in Crucible of Blood.
He was a fearless actor and to a young boy discovering cinema in the 1980's he seemed to loiter in every section of the video shop whispering 'psst, check out these Biblical Epics, hey - try these disaster movies.'
In recent years he's been a figure of some fun for his time as President and spokesman of the NRA (particular after 'film-maker' Michael Moore's 'documentary' Bowling for Columbine) but some mockers tend to forget that Heston has never been afraid to stand up for what he believes in, whether it was marching with Martin Luther King, supporting 1968's Gun control Act, or opposing McCarthyism.