Sunday, April 6, 2008

Charlton Heston, 1924-2008

Heston as Moses in The Ten Commandments

The death has been announced of Charlton Heston, who won a Best Actor Oscar for his performance in the 1959 film Ben-Hur. Heston was 84.

TCM are sure to have a tribute for him at some point in the near future, although I have not yet been able to find any announcement of what movies they will be showing, or when the tribute will air. However, there was one Heston movie on the schedule already for Monday, April 7: The Wreck of the Mary Deare, at 10:00 AM ET. In The Wreck of the Mary Deare, Heston plays a sailor who finds a ship adrift in the English Channel, manned only by Gary Cooper. Together they scuttle the ship, with Cooper insisting that the captain was involved in something untoward. It's a reasonably good thriller, one that's nice enough just to sit down with a bowl of popcorn and watch. The Wreck of the Mary Deare is immediately preceded by a "Private Screenings" interview that TCM host Robert Osborne did with Heston back in 1997; this starts at 9:00 AM.

Two other Heston movies were already in the schedule for April: Major Dundee 10:00 PM ET on April 8, and Khartoum, at 8:00 PM ET on April 29.

Other Heston movies that ought to be part of the TCM tribute are the aforementioned Ben-Hur, and:

Soylent Green, in which Heston plays a cop in the severely overcrowded New York of 2013, and learns the disturbing truth about the food being produced by the Soylent Corporation;

Will Penny, a western also starring James Stewart that has aired often enough on TCM in the past several months; and

Touch of Evil, in which Heston plays a Mexican cop opposite Orson Welles' corrupt Arizona cop.

Unfortunately, The Ten Commandments is a Paramount movie, and, showing up on ABC every Easter weekend, it's not likely that TCM can get the rights to show it. Planet of the Apes was distributed and co-produced by 20th Century Fox, so we know how likely that is to show up on TCM.

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