Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Touch of Evil: Charlton Heston, 1924-2008

I may not be saying it first, but I'll still say it: Get your hands off him, you damned dirty apes. I don't care how vigorously he courted the Right, nor how effectively he became a whipping boy of the Left. When I see him in my head, he is not holding high a long-bore hunting rifle but a Technicolor Decalogue, final warning to sinners in the hands of an angry God. And more: his whip held high, the chariots plummeting. And in a quieter mood, an Omega Man watching Woodstock over and over--or most of all, the clenched-jaw cynics, munching on Soylent Green or cursing on the beach, goddamming us all to hell--Moses once more at the end, seeing creation and concluding it is not all that good.

And these images last because, as an adult, I saw on video the strange statue Orson Welles had carved back in 1958, the Mexican Heston, stooping beneath low border-town apartment-dive ceilings like John Wayne in The Quiet Man, both of them out of their elements, and transformed. He was exactly what Touch of Evil needed: a slab of marble among all those sweaty double-crossers, with his wife, Janet Leigh, packed into her foundation garments--un-dress rehearsal for Anthony Perkins just a little down that black and white road. And Heston plugged along, wading in the oily water, a practical Ahab after the Great White Orson, the double-est crosser of them all. That single late glimpse of Charlton Heston clears up everything between us, and allows us at last to set down that shootin iron and lift a toast to Apocalypse, whether pillar of fire or busted-up Statue of Liberty, car-bomb or plague-psychos. Now those are moments you're going to have to pry from my cold, dead--ah, you get it.

No comments:

Copyright Notice

Content copyright © 2005-2011 by Paul J. Marasa. No part of the written work displayed on this site may be reproduced, linked or distributed in any form without the author's express permission. All images, video, audio and other materials used are deliberately and solely for illustrative purposes connected with each article. Each accompanying element is intended as a research and reference tool with relation to each article. No challenge to pre-existing rights is implied. Aside from The Constant Viewer, the author claims no responsibility for websites which link to or from this website.