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April 12, 2008


Tribute to Charlton Heston

Last april 5, 2008 Charlton Heston passed away in Beverly Hills. This post is a tribute to the great actor. The first thing that comes to my mind is his work on Planet of the Apes, one of my favourite movies, movie series, TV series, cartoon series, comic book series, novel an novel series.

We also can remember Heston as the popular voice of NRA. It is difficult to understand this kind of things, here in Europe. But we must remember as well that he was in the march of the civil rights to the black community with Martin Luther King. Politics aside, his work is a landmark in the history of the 20th Century.

He was an impressive professional. More than one hundred movies were he was the main character or where his presence was relevant. There are some movies recorded at University, like a version of Peer Gynt. He started his career in 1950 with Dark City and Julius Caesar. Then came Vidor’s Ruby Gentry, The Naked Jungle and Wyller’s The Far Horizons.

Stardom came with Ben-Hur in 1959. In my opinion this is a movie with a marvellous start that turns into a boring movie after that. In the Ten Commandments (1956) he was the image we all have of Moses opening a path in the waters of the Red Sea. He was El Cid (1961) and a Major in 55 Days at Peking (1963) here in Spain. The Greatest History ever Told (1965), The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) ― highly recommended ―, Mayor Dundee (1965).

And in 1968 Franklin J. Schaffner filmed Planet of the Apes. Some of my friends state that this is a movie only justified by the impressive ending. I could not disagree more. I think this fable created by Pierre Boulle is a masterpiece that shows as a fantastic tale what could be considered an essay of human behaviour. Apes are caricatures of our own institutions. A dangerous fact could be minimized and destroyed, without any ethic judgement if a society is at stake. Look for The Enemy of the People by Ibsen.
In 1972 he directed Marc Anthony and Cleopatra and the main character in TV series The Colby. Another two movies with Science Fiction themes: Soylent Green (1972) and Omega Man, after Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend. We could also see him in Flight 502, Airport 75 and Earthquake.

He continued working during the eighties and the nineties. He appeared in True Lies, Brannagh’s Hamlet and My Father. His voice could be heard in Disney’s Hercules and Cats & Dogs.

His last work was in Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes (2001). This time, Heston was an Ape. A funny thing, being in the original movie the Champion of Humanity.

I hope you will enjoy this Embeb were you could see the wonderful ending of Planet of the Apes.


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