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Charlton Heston's Impact On Sci-Fi 531

Posted by Zonk
from the damn-dirty-apes-wouldn't-keep-their-paws-off dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As you're probably already aware, Charlton Heston passed away yesterday. Wired has a piece looking back at Heston's extremely notable work in the sci-fi genre, with roles in films like "Planet of the Apes" and "Soylent Green". 'Heston also roared out some of sci-fi's greatest and most memorable lines, bringing his macho swagger and over-the-top intensity to the screen in movies like 1973's food freak-out flick Soylent Green and the Planet of the Apes series. In a pivotal scene from 1968's Planet of the Apes (see clip), Heston's character, time-traveling astronaut George Taylor, utters the first words spoken by a human to the simian rulers of a bizarro future Earth: "Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!'"
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Charlton Heston's Impact On Sci-Fi

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  • Yeah, Heston! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by morari (1080535) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @06:41PM (#22983492) Journal
    It's hard to get much better than Planet of the Apes (even the sequels were decent). Heston was decidedly great even in his Biblical films though, such as the Ten Commandments and Ben Hur.
    • Re:Yeah, Heston! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Alan Partridge (516639) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @06:44PM (#22983532) Journal
      Yep, he was great. Let's not forget the chilling Omega Man, either - one of my all time faves.
      • by morari (1080535)
        While a decent film in its own right, I prefer The Last Man on Earth as far as I Am Legend adaptations go. I'm kind of a Vincent Price fanboy anyway. :P
    • Re:Yeah, Heston! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tverbeek (457094) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @07:24PM (#22983794) Homepage
      Regardless of whether you consider "The Ten Commandments" a sci-fi/fantasy film or not, it certainly had an impact on special effects for the genre.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by OmegaWolf747 (1131345)
      Heston will be missed. He was one of the Hollywood greats.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2008 @06:41PM (#22983494)
    He also fought for our rights to carry phasers and other types of disintegrator rays.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Duhavid (677874)
      Now, now, you are getting into interpreting the constitution there. Guns was all they had back then, so that is all you can have now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Ray Guns Don't Kill Zygornians, Zygornians kill Zygornians!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2008 @10:02PM (#22984844)
      Dibs on prying the gun from his cold, dead hands.
  • RIP (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ArcadeX (866171) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @06:43PM (#22983512)
    I can't think of a single person in hollywood today who's voice alone has his presence. Even hearing him read cop killer was something.
    • Re:RIP (Score:5, Interesting)

      by joeytsai (49613) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @07:30PM (#22983824) Homepage
      Speaking of which, his speech at Harvard Law is one of my favorite modern speeches:

      http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/charltonhestonculturalwar.htm [americanrhetoric.com]

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by greg_barton (5551) *
        Awesome. Thanks for passing on the link for that speech. Just goes to show how much Heston was blinded by the "culture war" and failed to see that those hyping it were busy taking away our real rights, like habeas corpus and the right to avoid arbitrary search and seizure.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by greg_barton (5551) *
          Man, I don't usually reply to my own comments, but I just had to post the moderation that's been done to this one. It's like a mini culture war. :)

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    • Morgan Freeman, but yeah they are few and far between.
  • He was legend (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Sunday April 06, 2008 @06:43PM (#22983522) Homepage
    Out of all the adaptations of Matheson's novel I am Legend [amazon.com] , Heston's The Omega Man was probably the most entertaining. It certainly stands tall above the dreck Will Smith starred in last year.
    • Re:He was legend (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Sunday April 06, 2008 @07:01PM (#22983652)
      Out of all the adaptations of Matheson's novel I am Legend , Heston's The Omega Man was probably the most entertaining. It certainly stands tall above the dreck Will Smith starred in last year.

      I think it depends on which aspects of each of those movies you're talking about. As far as the performance of the main character, I think Will Smith turned in a vastly superior performance than Heston (no slight on Heston - I doubt any of Will Smith's work (to date) will stand the test of time that Heston's has). There was no scarier moment in the Heston version that was anywhere near as scary as when Smith goes in the dark building to get his dog. Certainly the special effects of an abandoned New York were nowhere up to the Smith version. The bad guys in the Heston movie were far more effective, I thought, than in the Smith version, though. And both fall down rather badly on the ending, neither of which makes the title of the original story (I Am Legend) make any sense - even in the alternate ending for the Smith movie. I don't know why it's so hard for the filmmakers to understand the title, or why they need to change it, considering noone has yet to make a movie of that story WITH the original ending.
      • by QuantumG (50515) *
        The Invasion with Nicole Kidman does that ending justice.

      • Re:He was legend (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Chris Mattern (191822) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @09:10PM (#22984466)
        The original ending is the zombies win. No producer in Hollywood will ever shoot an ending like that.
        • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Sunday April 06, 2008 @09:27PM (#22984590)
          The original ending is the zombies win. No producer in Hollywood will ever shoot an ending like that.

          Sure ... unlike pretty much every zombie movie ever made.
        • Re:He was legend (Score:4, Insightful)

          by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Monday April 07, 2008 @07:44AM (#22987404) Homepage Journal
          Well, they technically win, but there are really two types of zombies/vampires. The intelligent type that wants to be civilized and the crazy, non-thinking type that just want blood and flesh. They're fighting each other, and it appears that the first group is winning. But since Robert Neville was killing them indiscriminately during the day, the intelligent group feared Neville more than the dumb vampires. So they went for him at the end and captured him. A sympathizer gives him the death pill so he can die in peace without being subjected to everything this group of vampires would do to him. His final thought is that he's a legend among this new human race, and forever will be.

          Much better ending than the movie. And I still think it's appropriate for film. The viewer probably will start to sympathize with the intelligent vampires near the end, because of the compassionate woman and because they are an acceptable replacement for the human race.
    • On that note, I hope Heston is enjoying his honky paradise.

      Psst... if you don't get it, watch Omega Man.
  • Oblig. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Sunday April 06, 2008 @06:45PM (#22983540) Homepage Journal
    *Pries the musket from his cold, dead hands [about.com]*
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by AaxelB (1034884)
      Damn you! I was just looking for somewhere to post this [shortpacked.com] and be witty.
    • It was the height of irony when Charlton Heston appeared as an ape in the "Planet of the Apes" remake...and gave an anti-gun speech.
      • by ScentCone (795499) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @09:57PM (#22984794)
        It was the height of irony when Charlton Heston appeared as an ape in the "Planet of the Apes" remake...and gave an anti-gun speech.

        No, it wasn't. He wasn't giving an anti-gun speech at all, in that role. He was showing (as an ape) the fear and loathing of the intellect that could make the guns...

        Heston spent many years pointing out that people who fear the gun are too chickenshit to admit that it's really other people they fear. His ape character was a really good, (classically Heston!) over the top indictment of the irrational habit of blaming the tool and/or the symbol, rather than the person who uses them in a way you dislike. It was brilliant, and the only irony to be found is in the mis-comprehension of what he chose do with it by so many people who saw it.
    • And what if he later changes his mind?
    • Re:Oblig. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by STrinity (723872) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @09:45PM (#22984702) Homepage
      You know, the man starred in over 100 movies, won an Academy Award, was the longest serving president of the Screen Actors Guild, and marched with Martin Luther King on Washington. But all people can do is make jokes about him being in the NRA.
  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NOSpAM.barbara-hudson.com> on Sunday April 06, 2008 @06:45PM (#22983542) Journal
    Read the journal entry, and the first comment. I don't want to take any credit away from plover [slashdot.org] ... http://slashdot.org/~tomhudson/journal/200218 [slashdot.org]

    ...and the originator of "you can have ... when you pry it from my cold, dead hands".
    I call shotgun!

    Because apparently we CAN pry it from his cold, dead hands.

    • Gunnies were using that line for decades before Heston became head of the NRA. He just did it well enough and publicly enough that the media finally noticed - and then credited him with originating it.

      However it would be particularly poetic if he were to be buried holding that particular gun in his "cold, dead hands". (I can just imagine him guffawing at the idea.)
  • by rubies (962985) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @06:53PM (#22983586)
    Heston seemed like he was an eternal presence. From watching the 10 commandments on TV as a kid, then seeming The Omega Man late one night when I was about 12 (back when broadcast TV used to show movies late at night). That eye rolling dialog delivery, jutting jaw, big flashing teeth and the fact they he couldn't keep his shirt on for more than the first 10 minutes of any film made him an icon.

    Then again, you see him in the Orson Welles film "Touch of Evil" to see he could underplay it when he wanted to, he just chose not to. In honour of Chuck, I think The Omega Man is due a screening in my house this evening.
  • by BRSloth (578824) * <julio.juliobiason@net> on Sunday April 06, 2008 @07:26PM (#22983808) Homepage Journal
    Let's not forget his acting in "Wayne's World 2" as "Good actor."...
  • More like a horror movie.
  • [gazing at Statue of Liberty, hip-deep in the sands of time]

    You were right. They ruined it. We've become the nation of Soylent Green.

  • Actors and activists (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @08:06PM (#22984042)
    I've enjoyed watching most every film Heston's been in (might want to exclude "Earthquake" from that list, though). He brought a commanding presence to his roles that is quite rare.

    I tend to ignore an actor's political statements, however (whether or not I agree with their sentiments). If I refused to watch any movie that included an actor that I'd seen make a fool out of him/herself, there'd be no point in my owning a DVD player - the pickings would be slim indeed.

    • by plover (150551) *

      I tend to ignore an actor's political statements, however (whether or not I agree with their sentiments). If I refused to watch any movie that included an actor that I'd seen make a fool out of him/herself, there'd be no point in my owning a DVD player - the pickings would be slim indeed.

      That's a very wise attitude. And it's that kind of attitude that makes it OK in my brain to watch Susan Sarandon get fondled in Rocky Horror Picture Show. :-)

      • by sconeu (64226)
        And it's that kind of attitude that makes it OK in my brain to watch Susan Sarandon get fondled in Rocky Horror Picture Show

        You need a *REASON* for that?
  • by barzok (26681) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @08:30PM (#22984172)
    As I was watching the various "video obituaries" on all the news programs, I couldn't help but see Troy McClure in all of Heston's roles.
  • he was an actor and I don't think of Sci-Fi as an actor driven movie genre. Filmmakers like George Lucas, James Cameron, Ridley Scott, George Pal and Fritz Lang will be remembered for their impact on Sci-Fi well before the actors in their films are recognized. I'd argue that Stan Winston (creature/special effects) has also had more of an impact on Sci-Fi than the actors. Similarly, writers like ACC and Ron Serle (who wrote the screenplay for "Planet of the Apes") have had bigger impacts than the actors i
  • by Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @08:53PM (#22984324) Homepage
    I call dibs on the gun.
  • MOSES? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @08:57PM (#22984346) Journal
    WHO is this MOSES???

    RS

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