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« Ira & Abby: A lot of psychology for one little movie | Main | Hard to quarrel with a plot so moral »


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Mike Schilling

Still, though, my favorite Heston performance is his Cardinal Richelieu

Absolutely. What wonderful films those were; even Raquel Welch gives a wonderfully funny and unselfconscious performance. Richard Lester is remembered nowadays for his skill with the camera, but he must have been exceptional with actors.

By the way, does anyone else remember that Li'l Abner had a character who was a stereotypical phony Hollywood liberal named "Charlton Peston"?


My favorite Heston performance is in "The Naked Jungle," where he's battling an invasion of army ants in Brazil with the mail-order bride Eleanor Parker at his side. There is not a frame that isn't fabulous and/or campy, which come to think of it is true of every movie ever produced by the wildly underrated producer George Pal. And the army ants are genuinely frightening enough that one yearns for the safety of a figure like Charlton Heston who can overcome ANYTHING. Plus, the entire experience makes his character a better person. What more can you ask for?


Something I've wondered about and have yet to see addressed: how did he go from classic liberal civil rights marcher with Dr. King to spokesperson for the ultra-conservative NRA?

Ken Houghton

John Wayne transcended his own iconic image? In what, The Conqueror, where he proved he couldn't act (released the same year he proved he could, of all times), or in The Cowboys, which is a bravura career apotheosis, followed by unmitigated drek?


I gotta disagree with you mildly, Lance on this one.

Heston was an overweening one-dimensional character actor. As a leading man, yes, he could carry a movie, the way Tom Cruise can, but he was most assuredly no actor of any bona fides. Again, the way Tom Cruise is.

That said, I throw out "Omega Man" as perhaps his best performance on screen, mostly because he had very few people to overwhelm with his bellicosity. It forced him to take it down a notch and his "evenings" in front of the chessboard were perhaps the closest he came to apeing (sorry!) acting.

He was, for me, a thoroughly unengaging and uninteresting actor.



John Wayne transcended his image the way Ahnuld has, by poking fun at himself and his image.

Ken Muldrew

My favorite Heston roar was actually given by Joe Flaherty in the SCTV spoof of Towering Inferno where Flaherty's Heston bellows to the Burger King employee, "DOUBLE WHOPPER WITH CHEESE!!!".

My favorite Heston movies were Omega Man and Mother Lode; the first for its silliness and the second for the outrageous accent and (more likely, given what I remember of myself from 25 years ago) Kim Basinger.


Yea, so much love for Lester's Musketeers. Heston is great, followed by Oliver Reed's Athos.


More than once I've been tempted to pick up Heston's memoirs to see how exactly he became Hollywood's undisputed king of the Dark Future. I guess that, having conquered the movies with portrayals of history’s great men, it was natural he’d then look ahead.

I won't judge him as an actor, but clearly he delivered as a movie star. That tough image even saved him during his disaster movie phase--it was actually plausible Heston (and probably no one else) could survive relationships with the likes of Ava Gardner and Karen Black. Of course, Apes offers more of a reward with that dandy little cavegirl. What a conservative dream she was: big boobs and congenital muteness.


Ken Houghton: John Wayne transcended his own iconic image? In what...?,

Um...those movies I listed his roles in, Red River, The Searchers, True Grit...

actor212: I gotta disagree with you mildly, Lance on this one.

Actor, you'll have to take it up with the Siren, Phil Nugent, and the rest. I'm not going to the mat for Heston. In a list of the leading men who became stars in the late 1940s and 1950s---in no particular order they include Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Richard Widmark, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Gregory Peck, Brando!---Heston looks like a piker, clocking in barely ahead of Rock Hudson in my book.

Still, that's pretty distinguished company.

Mrs Peel, Heston was good as Richelieu, but he follows Reed. His scene with Dunaway is fun, but Reed's big scene with her in The Four Musketeers when he threatens to kill her is stunning! Was there ever a sexier death threat in the history of movies. And Dunaway reacts with a mixture of extreme terror and desire. It's beautiful.


It's interesting that each generation comes up with a dozen or so "stars" of which maybe two or three are worthy of it on merit.

Your list, Lance, for example: Brando, who changed screen acting, Jack Lemmon, and Burt Lancaster. The rest were commodities.

Today, Johnny Depp, perhaps Denzel Washington...

Steven Hart

Richard Lester's Musketeer flicks are loaded with personal best performances for several actors, not the least of them Heston. Richelieu is probably my favorite Heston performance, too. For starters, it's interesting to see him in a role where his manly frame is swaddled in unflattering robes, and his chiseled looks buried under a cap and unflattering 'do. It's all about that voice, and the deceptively avuncular manner.

Interesting also that Heston had such a strong taste for bleak, dystopian science fiction: Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green, The Omega Man. When Heston went on his jihad against Ice-T and Body Count for doing a song from the point of view of a cop-killer, why didn't Ice-T toss Beneath the Planet of the Apes back at him? That one ends with Heston personaly wiping out all life on Earth.

W. Ian Blanton

Hey, Lance.

I agree with your assessment on "The Three 7 Four Musketeers". Both in regards to Heston, and affection for the movie itself.

One caveat. The line I believe you're referring to is not with Faye Dunaways "Milady DeWinter", it's actually in conversation with Rochefort, where he asks him, if I recall; if he (Rochefort) fears him. Rochefort replies in the affirmative, but then adds, "I also hate you."

At which point Heston(Richelieu) replies:

" you, my son....even when you fail."

I'd have to watch them both again to be sure, but I don't believe he ever says that to Milady (suuure give me an excuse to break those movies out and watch them again!).

Anyways, marvelous, marvelous movie. Every attempt since then has been a sheer waste of time, sadly.


Ian, now that you mention it, I think you're right. Shoot. Now I'm going to have to go watch both movies again too, just to make sure. A blogger's work is never done.

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