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Opening Arguments

Charlton Heston

Much has been written in the past couple of days about Charlton Heston's acting career and politics. This pretty much sums up both of them:

Writing in The New York Times nearly 30 years afterward, when the film was re-released for a brief run, Vincent Canby called it “a gaudy, grandiloquent Hollywood classic” and suggested there was more than a touch of “the rugged American frontiersman of myth” in Mr. Heston's Moses.

The same quality made Mr. Heston an effective spokesman, off-screen, for the causes he believed in. Late in life he became a staunch opponent of gun control. Elected president of the National Rifle Association in 1998, he proved to be a powerful campaigner against what he saw as the government's attempt to infringe on a Constitutional guarantee — the right to bear arms.

The only thing I have to add to the discussion is to recommend 1967's "Will Penny," my favorite Heston flm, which seems to have gotten overlooked in most of the retropsectives. It's a sad story of an aging cowbody whom time is passing by, who has one last chance at happiness and can't quite figure out how to latch on to it. It's one of the most poignant tales of missued opportunities I remember seeing. I hapened to see it in Tokyo, in English but with Japanese subtititles. Everytime there was a funny line in the movie -- more often than you might think -- I would laugh, and, a beat or two later, the rest of the audience would laugh. That tends to make a movie stick in your mind.


Bob G.
Mon, 04/07/2008 - 8:55am

YES...YES....I mentioned Will Penny in my blog today as well. Excellent movie!
(imho) I rank it right up there with John Wayne's The Shootist. Definitely one of my top ten cowboy flicks.

I also mentioned the films 55 Days at Peking and Soylent Green.
He was also in the first color version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.