Remembering Charlton Heston April 8, 2008 “Kites” is a compelling romantic saga that goes beyond barriers, boundaries and cultures. It is a story of passion that defies every rule, of a relationship that takes two lovers on a thrilling journey filled with precious moments — and unexpected betrayal. Charlton Heston is perhaps a man known more for his infamous character than for the characters he plays. Between his stringent right-wing view and his infamous ‘from my cold dead hands’ speech (his supportive stance on gun ownership) he was built as a character with acting as a secondary. But Heston was more than the right wing gun fanatic that Moore billed him as in ‘Bowling for Columbine’. With the Oscar winning actor passing away over the weekend, we take a look not as his political legacy, after all why should that matter to his films, but at some of the legendary film roles he undertook in his 60-year movie career. Heston’s filmography is indeed lengthy as you can see HERE but there are of course those stand out roles: The Greatest Show On Earth Cecil B. DeMille’s oscar winning film about the life of circus people travelling from show to show and starring the other great acting talent of James Stewart. The Ten Commendments At age 31, Heston played what would become one of his most famous movie role, that of Moses in Cecil B. DeMille’s biblical epic, ‘The Ten Commendments’ also starring Yul Brynner and Anne Baxter. The film was nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture, but took home only one, Best Special Effects. Nevertheless, ‘The Ten Commandments,’ became the second-largest grossing film after ‘Gone With the Wind’ and has become an Easter perennial on TV. It also began his image as a biblical actor. Touch of Evil Another interesting film in his career, as notably for being an Orson Welles film as for having Heston in the lead as a Mexican narcotics investigator. Heston said it was a favorite of his films. “It was a remarkable experience for me, a great learning experience, one of the most valuable I’ve had in my whole film career,” he said. Ben-Hur “The Entertainment Experience of a Lifetime!” heralds the poster introducing Heston’s most famous role, Judah Ben-Hur in William Wyler’s Roman epic ‘Ben Hur'(1959), based on the 19th Century novel by Lew Wallace about a Jewish prince who wages a personal rebellion against Roman authority in Judea during the time of Christ. Heston won his only Best Actor Oscar for his combined dramatic and athletic performance in this film, doing most of his own stunts during the grueling chariot race scene which has become one of the most celebrated action sequences in movie history. Heston was assigned the role after it was turned down by such actors as Marlon Brando and Burt Lancaster, and when actor Cesare Danova’s English proved to be inadequate El Cid In yet another historical epic, Heston stars with Sophia Loren in ‘El Cid’, directed by Anthony Mann and based on the life story of Rodrigo Díaz de Bivar, the inspirational 11th-century Spanish military leader who struggled to maintain his honor while driving the Moors from Spain and wooing the woman he loved. The Agony and the Ecstasy In an adptation of Irving Stone’s novel, Heston took on the role of architect Michelangelo Buonarroti. He portrays the troubles Michelangelo encountered painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel for Pope Julius II. Yet another historical character for Heston, this time however a far more subtle and introverted performance compared to other epic action roles he was attached to. Planet of the Apes In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Heston starred in a series of dystopian sci-fi flicks (including ‘The Omega Man’ and ‘Soylent Green’) In the most famous of these flicks ‘Planet of the Apes’, Heston plays an astronaut who lands on a planet run by sophisticated simians that have enslaved humans. The movie has one of the most iconic endings of 1960s cinema, as well as Heston’s oft-quoted line, “Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!” DISCUSS: What’s your favourite Heston role?