Monday, April 07, 2008

My Favorite Charlton Heston Movie

Isn't one of the big ass epics. They are pretty good but they merely demanded Heston to stand there and look good while the events and crowds swirled around him. Although it must have required some decent acting chops to look like you're buying into the cheesey special effects of "The Ten Commandments."

My favorite Heston flick is one that has been mostly unnoticed and unmentioned in the stuff flying around his death.

Will Penny (1968) is almost an "anti" western. It's about an aging cowboy who is reduced to riding the "grub line" for the winter. He takes a job riding fence up in the mountains. When he arrives at the line shack he finds that it has been occupied by a lone woman and her son who have been deserted by their guide. Unwilling to turn them out in the mountain winter and its certain death he agrees to allow them to stay until the spring thaw. Complications ensue.

From the movie:
Save your money! Get you a spread of your own like me.

It wasn't money started you in the cattle business, Anse.

Well, what do you think it was, Will?

More like a long rope and a hot iron.

This well written, well produced little western is a gem. It also gives one of the more clear eyed views of what life in that era was all about. I recommend its addition to your NetFlix queue.

Forget the man's politics. Forget the man, let's celebrate a long, and respectable career in the arts. Heston was always much more of an artisan than an artist. It's an attitude and career someone like me can relate with.

What's your favorite Heston movie?



Anonymous tata said...

This may sound strange but I'm not sure I've ever seen a Heston film from beginning to end.

Quite a character, that man.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous oddjob said...

I've only seen three that I can think of, all ones much spoken about presently (Ben-Hur, Ten Commandments, Planet of the Apes). Of the three I like Planet of the Apes the most. It's a ridiculous premise, but I still like the idea of it somehow and always have. His acting is fine for the part. It's over the top, but that's part of the fun of the movie for me.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Unlike Mitt Romney, Heston actually did march with Dr. King. That was a long time before his NRA advocacy.

3:14 PM  
Blogger darkblack said...

Quite a few, actually...Touch Of Evil, Will Penny, which you mentioned (along with The Last Hard Men, one of the earlier issues in the genre of revisionist westerns), his cameo turn as Cardinal Richelieu in The Four Musketeers, and The Mountain Men.

His political leanings mattered little to me, although they were at odds with much of my own...Probably because, in the end, he was merely a film actor and my experience with those worthies has taught me the relative value of their opinions.


4:07 PM  
Blogger Ralph Hitchens said...

I enjoyed Major Dundee. Heston also dominated the screen whenever he appeared (as Cardinal Richelieu) in the two Musketeer movies.

1:22 PM  

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