Saturday, March 26, 2016

Charlton Heston: Tied up, caged and stripped....

Will Penny (1967)

I am surprised as anyone that I am doing a piece featuring a series of images of a mostly naked Charlton Heston. Despite his one hundred plus movie and television roles, I think the first time I saw Heston the big screen was his appearance in Michael Moore's 2002 documentary Bowling For Columbine.

Heston on the set of Julius Caesar (1970)

Not the best introduction to an older actor, and an impression that has stuck with me mostly to this day. I have had to learn however, that separating actors from role is often important to be able to enjoy a film, and not just because of politics.  There are a ton of actors out there that I don't think too highly off, yet put that aside to enjoy a film.

It helped a little to find out that although Heston became more conservative in some of his views when he got older, there was a time he was an early supporter of civil rights and at one point not only walked with Martin Luther King, but also picketed outside a movie theatre playing one of Heston's own movies because they would not allow blacks into the theatre.

I was fascinated by Heston after searching for images of him for the piece on The 10 Commandments that I did above.  It was sort of surprising, and also oddly stimulating, to see how often the conservative actor was drawn to movies in which he is is mostly naked, tied up, caged and mistreated.  Not sure if this was a particular fetish of his, or simply a sign of the movies being made at the time.

Heston was stripped down in not only The 10 Commandments, but The Planet of the Apes, Ben Hur and as you can see, in the out-takes shown here with some of the extra's on Julius Casesar.   Heston also had a nude scene in Number One (below) in which you can see from the full screen version included him being completely naked on screen.

Number One (1969)

Cropped Widescreen verson (above) and un-cropped full screen (below) from a scene from Number One.

Planet of the Apes (1969)

I still have not seen a lot of Heston's films, in fact I believe I have only seen two, Earthquake, and The Planet of the Apes.   The 1969 version of the film has become a favorite of mine, and there is some interesting male nudity that seems quite ahead of it's time.

'Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!'

In the movies first third, Heston and his two astronaut friends go skinny dipping and although not much is shown, it is still an interesting scene to kick off the film. Then of course there's scene where Heston must remove his clothing in order for the Apes to get a better look at his naked human body. The facial expression on Zira's (Kim Hunter) face when she beholds Heston's butt is priceless. Clearly the first time she such little fur on a male backside. The scene is, and I think meant to be, a bit of a strange turn on, and in many ways mirrors my feelings about Heston.

Although I am still not remotely attracted to him, he is clearly a talented actor and there was something sort of fun about seeking out naked images of a man, who I would guess would not, (jut like taking his clothes off for the Apes) want to be featured exposed on FH.

Heston photographed for Hollywood Life

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