Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Charleton Heston

There have been many cool actors in the history of cinema. There are men who play tough guys and then there are actors who are tough guys. Some of the tougher actors I have enjoyed over the years are: Sean Connery, John Wayne, Mel Gibson, Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford, Paul Newman, and Russell Crowe. This is an impressive group, but I'd have to say my all time favorite is Charleton Heston.

I remember the first time my dad took me to see Ben Hur. I was blown away. It was a long movie for a little kid to sit through but the rowing galley scene and the chariot races kept my attention and I have claimed it as my favorite movie ever since then. I have enjoyed seeing almost any movie Charleton Heston appeared in.

I especially love it when he would get mad and scream his lines. He did it with such dramatic style that it was almost comical. William Shatner is the only other person who can come close to delivering a line with as much emotional flare. Some of my favorites quotes are "Get your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!" or "I'ts a madhouse!" from The Planet of the Apes. Then you have the famous line of "Soylent Green is people!". I'm sure you can still hear his authoritative voice as Moses saying "Thus saith the Lord", or "Let my people go."

It didn't matter if he was playing Michelangelo, Ben Hur, El Cid, or Moses, he could deliver his exaggerated lines like no one else. Charleton Heston could read the dictionary and make it an emotional event. Off the screen in real life he continued this pattern when he spoke for the NRA saying "You can have my rifle when you pry it from my cold dead hands."

Even when he wore a handkerchief around his neck in The Omega man and Soylent Green as was the horrible style in the 70's, he was still cool. I don't think anyone else could pull that off. I know this is late for a tribute since he passed away last April, but my hat is off to Charleton Heston for being the studliest actor in movie history.

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