From Moses to Michelangelo, medieval
warlords to the last man on Earth, legendary actor Charlton Heston made a career of
playing characters driven to the far extremes of physical and often spiritual endurance. "My
admiration for man is in terms of the extraordinary individual, rather than man in the
mass," Heston once observed, and if anything defines his work, its the
degree to which he literally stood out from (and above) the pack. Watch his performance as
the tormented, unwilling prophet in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, the chivalrous yet
reluctant hero in EL CID and you see a beautiful balancing act between desperation
and perseverance, ego and absolution. Its no wonder that Heston maintained a
lifelong love for Shakespeare and the stage -- his finest performances are Shakespearean
in both their grand ambition and their rich, human detail. Born in 1923 in Evanston,
Illinois, Heston studied speech and theater in college; after a short stint in the Air
Force, he moved to New York City in 1948, where he quickly found supporting roles in
Broadway productions and was soon discovered by the fledgling TV industry for lead roles
in live productions of "Jane Eyre" and others. His second Hollywood feature, THE
GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH, established him in the rugged, larger-than-life roles that became
his trademark as an actor; by the time of TOUCH OF EVIL in 1958, he carried enough weight
in the industry to force Universal to hire Orson Welles as the films director. With BEN-HUR,
he was able to savor his first taste of iconic status a stature and image that
never left him even during his last days. Please join us for the weekend to celebrate
three of Charlton Hestons most memorable achievements on film!
Friday, June 6 7:30 PM
Egyptian 85th Anniversary Screening
BEN-HUR 1959, Warner Bros., 212 min. Dir. William Wyler.
Technicolor was made for epics like this: Boyhood comrades Charlton Heston, in one
of his most iconic roles, and Stephen Boyd grow up to be fierce enemies in
the time of Christ. The grueling chariot race is worth the price of admission alone.
Winner of 11 Oscars including Best Picture. Originally premiered at the Egyptian (and ran
for two years straight)! A performance that made Heston the go-to-man when it came to
casting bigger-than-life epics. "Out of this sea of celluloid, a masterful
director, William (WUTHERING HEIGHTS, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES) Wyler, has fished a
whale of a picture, the biggest and the best of Hollywood's super-spectacles."
Saturday, June 7 7:30 PM
EL CID, 1961, The Weinstein Company, 184 min. Of all the
massive Hollywood costume films of the early 1960s, well pick this as our favorite. Charlton
Heston (Who else could play this role?) and Sophia Loren co-star as the
legendary Spanish warrior and his wife, in director Anthony Manns epic
masterpiece, a movie that effortlessly blends the moral weight and character complexities
of his greatest westerns with the conflicted, doomed romanticism of his initial film noir
efforts. One of Miklos Rozsas finest scores elevates the film into transcendental
territory. Co-starring Raf Vallone, Genevieve Page, John Fraser, Michael Hordern."To
say that EL CID is the most intelligent of the
epics of the early '60s is to damn it
with faint praise
Interiors are composed like sprawling murals while battle sequences
are shot through with austere clarity, both infused with the director's astonishing moral
There's no denying EL CIDs lucid grandeur as it reaches its famous
climax, a simultaneously triumphant and tragic portrait of the warrior
that, like the
best of Mann's work, never neglects the human toll of heroism." Fernando
F. Croce, Slant Magazine.
Sunday, June 8 7:30 PM
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, 1956, Paramount, 220 min.
"Let his name be stricken from every pillar and obelisk!" orders imperious
Pharaoh Yul Brynner, as favored son-turned-religious rebel Moses Charlton Heston
prepares to lead his people from bondage in Egypt. Cecil B. DeMilles glorious
remake of his earlier 1923 TEN COMMANDMENTS emphasized the colossal spectacle of the
biblical epic, but never downplayed the tremendous human emotions at the core of the
story. Look for Hestons 3-month-old son Fraser as the baby Moses in the bullrushes.
With an all-star cast that includes Anne Baxter, Yvonne De Carlo, Edward G. Robinson,
Debra Paget, Vincent Price, Nina Foch and Judith Anderson.