Sunday, April 06, 2008

RIP Charlton

Charlton Heston died yesterday. He was 84.

He was a screen legend. And in his day, he was buff. Of course, in my day he was Mr. NRA (could I have found a more perfect picture?), which makes him, in my opinion, not so hot.

Nonetheless, another one has passed and all that remains is what is on the screen. My list? Orson Welle's Touch of Evil (RT: 94), Ben Hur (if I left it off the list, you'd just think I was an idiot), The Agony and the Ecstasy (do you really think Michelangelo looked like that? really?), Planet of the Apes (one of those, so bad it's good - or is it so bad it's terrible? either way...), Soylent Green (what are they eating?) - and then the big leap to the small screen - by way of John Forsythe, I mean Dynasty, and onto his own little demesne, The Colbys.

Richard Widmark died the week before, at the age of 93. Not quite as high-profile as Mr. NRA, perhaps, in the general scheme of things - but that man could act. William Goldman wrote a tribute to him in Variety a few days ago, recollecting meeting him in London during pre-production on "Marathon Man" when Widmark came by to read the part of the sadistic dentist (memorably played in the movie by Laurence Olivier),

I can still see Widmark turning the pages of the script, and his voice was so frightening. He was not repeating his most famous role [Tommy Udo in Kiss of Death, for which Widmark was nominated for an Oscar], but you knew that evil son of a bitch was somehow still lurking, still inside him, ready and willing to kill you but, more than that, anxious to put you in agony.

High praise indeed. My Widmark list is short (an oversight soon to be corrected), but excellent: Kiss of Death (RT: 92), Panic in the Streets (RT: 94), and Judgment at Nuremberg (RT: 89) - one of my, and my sister's, favorite movies ever.

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