The articulate, eloquent Heston talks with Robert Osborne...
This is a very comprehensive look at the screen career of CHARLTON HESTON, certainly a man who played as many iconic roles as any of the great stage or screen actors. He comes across as highly intelligent and more than willing to discuss what it was like to work for some of the finest directors after getting his start from producer Hal Wallis.
Wallis signed him up after viewing him in TV's "Jane Eyre" without a screen test and cast him in his first film at Paramount called DARK CITY. Before that, Heston was a struggling actor/model who grew up in the mid-west and discovered he loved acting while in high school. He married, went to New York City with his wife where they both found work, getting paid for awhile as a male model in the nude. When he finally got some acting roles, his big break came after making some TV appearances in plays on live television.
In the right place at the right time describes how, after doing a film for Hal Wallis (DARK CITY), he waved to Cecil B. DeMille while leaving the studio in his convertible. DeMille was caught by the man's appearance and lo and behold he was cast in THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH as the circus manager, which went on to win Best Film at the Oscars. After that, he never had to look for work again.
The interview covers a wide period from his earliest work on film in 1941, an amateur's PEER GYNT and JULIUS CAESAR. But, of course, most of the interview deals with his well-known, iconic roles in films like THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (playing Moses at age 28), BEN-HUR (Yakima Canutt told him not to worry, he'd win the race), and TOUCH OF EVIL (what it was like working with Orson Welles).
Heston revealed that he was very proud of EL CID and that KHARTOUM, opposite a dark-skinned Laurence Olivier, was one of his favorite roles. He had nothing but praise for Olivier as an actor but said he was a very complex man. Even Olivier's best friend, Ralph Richardson, when asked what he was really like, simply said, "I don't really know." Other films discussed were his John the Baptist role in THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD (and how cold the water was that he had to stand in for hours) and SOYLENT GREEN (and the privilege of working with an actor like Edward G. Robinson, whose death scene was very realistic--he died 10 days later).
All in all, a fascinating glimpse of Heston talking mostly about his career and just a few answers about his private life, revealing that he was a Democrat for years until the party was overtaken by the left-wingers, and how he marched on Washington during the Martin Luther King days.
Summing up: Any Heston fan should be grateful for this interview.
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