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Sunday, 6 April 2008

Charlton Heston Has Died

Charlton Heston, the Oscar-winning star of Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments, Planet of the Apes, and other epic films from the 50s-60s, has died, not before making some of the greatest kitsch and sci-fi films of all time, as well, including Irwin Allen spectaculars. However, his finest film was the Orson Welles late masterpiece, Touch of Evil, which is, after Kane, one of the finest, strangest films of the 20th century.

Indeed, Heston's unassailable, virile decency is a dynamic lynchpin of the movie's explosive hybridity - straddling the US-Mexico border, and dealing with the dualities of interracial marriage, truth and lies, film and radio (sight/sound), and crime and policing, among others, in its modern baroque style. I love this brave straight-faced performance of his, and I think it earns him kudos critics often withhold from him; if we can forgive Pound his intolerant ideology, why can't we forgive Heston, a serious film actor, his older manhood with its boyish guns?

At first, he was a liberal, who worked for civil rights, and to support Kennedy. In later life, he vociferously defended the right to bear arms, and thus tarnished his Godlike image. Still, he remains an icon of 20th century Hollywood.
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