Charlton Heston

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Some movies, no matter how old they are, never age a day. Their situations and themes remain as relevant now as when they were first released. Watching them today, they reflect and comment on our present in ways they couldn’t possibly have anticipated. Every month we’re going to pick a movie from the past that does just that, and explore what it has to say about the here and now. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes arrives in theaters tomorrow nearly fifty years after the release of original Planet of the Apes. It’s a perfect excuse to take another look at the 1968 classic and see what it may have to say about us in 2014. Sometimes it can be hard for allegorical science-fiction to resonate past its then-and-there. Planet of the Apes, not surprisingly, doesn’t have that problem. For a film made fifty years ago— set millenniums in the future and on a planet ruled by simians—a lot of its conflicts, scenes and characters shed light on our non-ape ruled world in the present. Here are five examples where 1968’s Planet of the Apes speaks directly to us.

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adamclaytonpowell

It’s February, and that means it’s Black History Month again. Naturally, a site devoted to nonfiction ought to honor the occasion with a look at great documentaries about black heroes and accomplishments. But I don’t want to focus too much on the history of struggle. Most docs on the African-American experience have involved tragedy and/or civil rights. Many heroes depicted are civil rights leaders, or they’re men and women who’ve made achievements in sports and music. There are far fewer films about more common black people or even those who are notable for other things. Where is the inspiring black equivalent to Man on Wire, for instance? Through this month, we’re going to be highlighting docs tied to Black History Month that are currently available to watch (many of the old ones are not). Some will celebrate heroes, some will celebrate the not-famous. Some will be actual historical record, while today’s list is specifically films that use archival cinematic documentation for the purpose of telling and depicting history.  These are black history documentaries, and you should make time to watch them, even if not necessarily in the designated time of the year. READ MORE

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apes-commentary1

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2014, but the high-budget prequel/sequel would never have been possible without the original film series from the 1960s and 1970s. The Planet of the Apes Blu-ray features multiple commentary options, including a recorded track with actors Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, and Natalie Trundy, as well as make-up artist John Chambers. Spliced together by existing interviews, this is more of a voice-over through the movie. To augment the commentary, there’s a text commentary provided by Eric Greene, author of the book Planet of the Apes as American Myth. That’s enough to shake a fist at.

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Marlon Brando with Martin Luther King Jr

Exactly 50 years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood with Abraham Lincoln behind him and told a crowd of 250,000 about a dream. Later the same day, a group of movie stars sat with journalist David Schoenbrun to explore a silver-lined dark chamber of the human heart. Complicated despite its progressively stacked panel, the group interview with novelist James Baldwin, singer Harry Belafonte, Marlon Brando, Charlton Heston, director Joseph Mankiewicz and Sidney Poitier is robust in its inspiration — made more lucent by the evolution that followed it. This is a powerful half hour (which you can see below) that stands at a fascinating crossroads between groundshattering history, celebrity power and race relations in America.

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If Jesus or Tupac ever finally return like we’ve all been saying they will, they should probably do it in a Judd Apatow film or something like that. We love cameos, don’t we? It’s especially delightful when it’s extremely unexpected, and of course extra points if they are playing themselves – or better yet some kind of silly version of themselves. It’s all about recognizing the kind of person you are perceived to be, and then playing off that in a way that makes the audience realize that you are in on the joke. If a celebrity is able to do that, it’s instant coolness.

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In our inaugural weekly edition of Scenes We Love, I wanted to find a perfectly topical scene, seeing as it is Easter Sunday. But as it turns out, there aren’t too many great scenes worth revisiting from “Easter movies.” Unless, of course, you’d like to re-watch Jim Caviezel being whipped to shit as Jesus in Mel Gibson’s 2004 The Passion of the Christ. It’s a well constructed scene that delivers the maximum possible emotional impact, especially for those who really love their Jesus, but it’s not exactly a scene we love. We appreciate it, but we don’t love it. So instead of making you watch Jesus get brutalized, lets watch one of the all-time great race scenes, the Chariot Race from the 1959 William Wyler epic Ben-Hur, starring Charlton Heston.

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Culture Warrior

Warning: this editorial contains spoilers for Rise of the Planet of the Apes (and, for that matter, the original Planet of the Apes). Consider yourself warned, you maniacs! The original Planet of the Apes lends itself quite readily to allegory. 1968, the year of the film’s release, was the peak of one of the most tumultuous eras in American social history. Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down in April of that year, and Robert F. Kennedy’s death followed a mere two months later. Student resistance and campus demonstrations grew increasingly violent in their opposition to the Vietnam War, the Chicago DNC broke into an all-out war, and racial discord mounted. Of course, none of this had happened yet when Planet of the Apes went into production, but the intersections of intent and circumstance that permit the film to be read so heavily, so variously, and so often in allegorical terms enrich the original film and its sequels with resonance that outlives whatever else may date it. Beyond entertainment value, the Planet of the Apes series has lingered in the popular imagination not because of any strong connection to a specific associative meaning, but because of the many possible allegorical readings it is capable of containing. One of several reasons that Rise of the Planet of the Apes succeeds where previous reincarnations of the series did not is its reclaimed capacity for allegory.

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. Orson Welles is unrecognizable onscreen here, but his directing touch is absolutely all over it. Somehow, Charlton Heston as a Mexican is all over it too. With a stellar cast, this taut noir-ish drama has got everything sizzling in a border town that’s just waiting for a lit match. So why is everyone always smoking? Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. The word “epic” gets thrown around a lot today. Almost as much as “awesome.” It’s been all but rendered meaningless when connected to how great those buffalo wings were or how pleasing it was to hear the news that the local library was extending its hours. But EPIC used to mean something. And when it did mean something, it was this. This trailer. This movie. All the splendor of Golden Age Hollywood shoved onto a chariot with Charlton Heston cracking the whip and charging full speed ahead. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. If you don’t mind a little bit of male objectification, check out this pitch-perfect trailer for a sci-fi movie where Charlton Heston wears a loin cloth and runs around screaming like a mad man. Which should narrow it down. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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I have to start this post off with an admission: I have yet to see the new Harry Potter. I’m saving it for Thanksgiving weekend when I can return to my home state and see it with loved ones, so hopefully next week I’ll have a post on something more appropriately Potter-specific. But what I want to talk about today is not something related to Deathly Hollows specifically, but what it represents, which lies somewhere in the film’s critical reaction. While heaps of praise have been given to the newest installment of one of the biggest movie franchises in history based on one of the biggest book franchises in history (many calling it one of the best entries in the series), the biggest voice of detraction has been the notion that Deathy Hollows pt. 1 is not a “complete movie” per se – that it abruptly stops in medias res, that it has no “third act.” Whether or not this is how I will feel when I see the movie this week is unimportant, but what this movie – and its subsequent reaction – represents is of great importance.

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Every Sunday, Film School Rejects presents a movie that was made before you were born and tells you why you should like it. This week, Old Ass Movies presents: The Ten Commandments (1956) On July 11th, 1920, the enigmatic Taidje Khan was born on a craggy island in Russia to Mongol parents. He would go on to become a radio announcer in occupied France, a nude model, and the pharaoh that refused to let Moses and his people go. That last job was in Cecil B. DeMille’s larger-than-epic epic about Charlton Heston’s beard and its theological powers to turn staffs into snakes and free a people from bondage by parting the waters of the Red Sea. With powerful eyes that held their own against the seasoned Heston, Khan made for an imposing young co-star as the evil, gold headdress-ed Rameses the Second.

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Science Fiction is, sadly, not always seen as high art. However, there are some brilliant acting talents who have dared to slum it in the world of science fiction. Here’s the 15 most notable ones.

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Charlton Heston

Whether you thought Charlton Heston was a God-fearing man who could actually make God fear him or another crazed gun nut who would shoot his mouth off faster than a bullet-spewing MP5, you have to admit he was a man worth admiring.

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Welcome to FSR’s newest weekly feature in which I break down the good, the bad, and the ugly of what Hollywood has to offer.

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The New York Times is reporting that legendary Academy Award Winning actor Charlton Heston has passed away at the age of 84. He died on Saturday night at his home in Beverly Hills with his wife, Lydia, at his side. In 2002, Heston revealed that he had symptoms related to Alzheimer’s disease.

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