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How did Charleton Heston win an Oscar?

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Winner: Ben-Hur (1959) - Charlton Heston

Other Nominees: Anatomy of a Murder (1959) - James Stewart (I) Room at the Top (1959) - Laurence Harvey (I) Some Like It Hot (1959) - Jack Lemmon (I) The Last Angry Man (1959) - Paul Muni (I)

by Anonymousreply 11410/09/2009

Momentum. The film won 11 Oscars.

by Anonymousreply 109/24/2009

What R1 said, plus the religious element that made it an "important film", plus Chuck was hot.

Jack Lemmon was robbed.

by Anonymousreply 209/24/2009

I know someone who worked with Heston years ago. She said he was a pretty great guy BUT lost his mind as he got older with all the gun stuff.

by Anonymousreply 309/24/2009

He could act back in the '50s before he grew those cold dead hands.

by Anonymousreply 409/24/2009

Please, watch the movie. He gave a great performance. He also was great in Kenneth Branaugh's Hamlet as the Player King. He deserved an Oscar nomination for that, despite his horrible politics.

by Anonymousreply 509/24/2009

Charlton.

K?

by Anonymousreply 609/24/2009

aren't you smart r6? feel better now?

by Anonymousreply 709/24/2009

Jack Lemmon was billed third in Some Like It Hot behind Monroe and Curtis and it was his first real lead in an A film. So he was still kind of perceived as a non-star even though he's brilliant. If he'd been nominated for Supporting Actor he would have won it, of course.

by Anonymousreply 809/24/2009

Ben Hur was a massive hit. Massive in that people paid like $0.10 a ticket and it still made a fortune.

by Anonymousreply 909/24/2009

Ben-Hur was an iconic film, OP

by Anonymousreply 1009/24/2009

I don't know how he won, but I do know his last few years were spent pissing and shitting in his diapers.

Most unfortunate for the funeral home workers, they had to pry his shitty diaper off his cold dead body

by Anonymousreply 1109/24/2009

What R8 said. Lemmon is brilliant in "Some Like It Hot." I can still remember his line readings and bits of business he did and I haven't seen the movie in 20 years.

But I would have also liked to see Joe E. Brown win the Best Supporting Actor award that year.

by Anonymousreply 1209/24/2009

They don't make movies like Ben Hur anymore. A classic and Hollywood could use some lessons on how to do entertainment. Charlton Heston did a fine job and deserved to win.

by Anonymousreply 1309/24/2009

Well it's certainly true that recent historical epics have not been as successful as the ones they used to make. Today's films may have CGI and special effects, but they tend not to have the success critically or in terms of Oscar wins that films like 'Ben-Hur' did.

'Gladiator' was an exception, but others like 'Troy', 'Kingdom of Heaven,' 'Alexander' etc., have had big problems.

by Anonymousreply 1409/24/2009

You people really think he deserved to win over Jimmy Stewart and Jack Lemmon? Really?

He won because most people voted a "straight ticket" for Ben-Hur

by Anonymousreply 1509/24/2009

Lemmon already had an Oscar (well, supporting) and they wouldn't have given him one for a comedy. Muni was overdue in some people's minds but he also was past it and not that popular. Stewart had an Oscar and Harvey was loathed. Ben Hur was devout, spectacular, and a huge hit, and Heston had been around long enough to carry some big films. The fact that he couldn't act, of course, did not enter the equation.

by Anonymousreply 1609/24/2009

why was Harvey loathed?

by Anonymousreply 1709/25/2009

GLADIATOR!

by Anonymousreply 1809/25/2009

James Stewart himself thought Heston should win

by Anonymousreply 1909/25/2009

I don't think that a nine year old movie (Harvey) was the reason Stewart didn't win his second Oscar for "Anatomy of a Murder".

by Anonymousreply 2009/25/2009

[quote]I don't think that a nine year old movie (Harvey) was the reason Stewart didn't win his second Oscar for "Anatomy of a Murder".

The Harvey of the original post was Laurence Harvey (for ROOM AT THE TOP), not the movie HARVEY that starred James Stewart.

by Anonymousreply 2109/25/2009

No wonder Tony Curtis has been miffed ever since - if Lemmon was nominated as best actor then he should have been too (though when 2 actors are nominated for the same film they usually cancel each other out). Muni as past it by then and hardly anyone would have seen his film.

by Anonymousreply 2209/25/2009

Ben Hur is the #13 film on box office mojo's inflation adjusted chart. If it was released today, it would have made $700,000,000.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 2309/25/2009

Actually, Elizabeth Taylor said, "GLAD HE ATE WHORE"

by Anonymousreply 2409/25/2009

R14, I think that the reason why historical epics fail at the box office is because the fuckin' audience doesn't know the first thing about history much less care what happened in the world before they were born.

Oliver Stone has addressed this issue directly. He had to go back in ALEXANDER and retitle his episodes "Five years later" and "Ten years earlier" because the audience was incapable of realizing that 350 BCE was ten years BEFORE 340 BCE. Honest to God...

And GLADIATOR --- hell, I knew that Russell Crowe was going to win that Oscar the moment that he showed up in a dress and nobody in the audience gave a snicker! --- is totally inaccurate historically. The general Maximus never existed in the first place, although the evil Emperor Commodus certainly did. There WAS a plot against Commodus's life in 183, but the plot did NOT succeed in the end and the Roman Republic was NOT restored. In fact, Commodus had everybody arrested and killed, and then he completely went nuts for the next nine years. In fact, things got so bad that his girlfriend (who was scheduled to die the next day) got a wrestler to snap Commodus's neck while he was taking a bath on New Year's Eve. And no sooner was his body cold than the Praetorian Guard auctioned off the Roman Empire to the highest bidder! It's all in Gibbon, who regarded Commodus as the beginning of the end of Rome.

Audiences in the 1950s and 1960s were more intelligent and educated than audiences today. That's the ultimate reason why we have no real historical epics today...

(By the way, I loved KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. In fact, it got me started on reading up about the Crusades. Talk about a bunch of homicidal lunatics! SMILE)

by Anonymousreply 2509/25/2009

I agree with r5: "Ben Hur" is a great movie. Heston and Boyd were terrific in it.

by Anonymousreply 2609/25/2009

If you think Heston was a bad choice, what do you think about Hugh Griffith winning for Supporting Actor? His part seemed insignificant and he made no impression on me at all. After I saw the movie, I was stunned to learn he'd won the Oscar for it.

by Anonymousreply 2709/25/2009

What ever became of the female lead, "Esther"?

by Anonymousreply 2809/25/2009

r28: the actress who played Ester (Haya Harareet) was the only Israeli in the film...

More info at link.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 2909/25/2009

Awards are all bullshit, and I adore Hugh Griffith.

by Anonymousreply 3009/25/2009

R30, he ruled in TOM JONES, no?

by Anonymousreply 3109/25/2009

Yup! And in HOW TO STEAL A MILLION, R31.

I really adore HG. Also a Jack Hawkins fan.

by Anonymousreply 3209/25/2009

Why was Laurence Harvey loathed?

by Anonymousreply 3309/25/2009

Heston was excellent in the role. Yes, he was a ham overall, but in this film the director managed to keep his intensity at a plausible level, and the role called for some large-scale acting. And he was totally sincere, he was a religious man and the role meant a lot to him personally. It all worked.

And to show how it could all have gone wrong: The role was first offered to DL fave Burt Lancaster, who turned it down because he was an athiest and couldn't offer that kind of sincerety. (Although he was bi in real life, so his relationship with Masala might have been a little more interesting than Heston's take.) Lancaster won an oscar for playing a fraudulent, hypocritical preacher in "Elmer Gantry" a few years later.

by Anonymousreply 3409/25/2009

Surely I'm not the only person who finds Jack Lemmon annoying.

by Anonymousreply 3509/25/2009

R23, thanks for the link!

by Anonymousreply 3609/25/2009

Gladiator is not a very good movie btw.

by Anonymousreply 3709/25/2009

That was an enlightening statement, r37.

by Anonymousreply 3809/25/2009

Paul Muni had won an Oscar in the 1930's for "The Story of Louis Pasteur" so I don't think he was considered overdue to get one.

by Anonymousreply 3909/25/2009

I know.

by Anonymousreply 4009/25/2009

"Why was Laurence Harvey loathed?"

I wonder if he was truly loathed at that point in his career as he was pretty new to Hollywood.

Later, however, I'm sure he was as he was a cold, nasty, screwed-up closet queen and alcoholic. He didn't have to do much acting in ROOM AT THE TOP.

by Anonymousreply 4109/25/2009

"How did Charleton Heston win an Oscar?"

Because he let half of Hollywood suck him off. The gay half.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 4209/25/2009

Jack Lemmon gives one of the truly great all-time performances in SOME LIKE IT HOT. Absurd that Heston won it over Lemmon. Just to think of Lemmon saying, "Security!" Or, "Usually I just slap it!" I laugh just to think about it. Amazing comic timing, brilliant delivery, wonderful performance full of humanity under the zaniness. Heston is wooden and dull.

by Anonymousreply 4309/25/2009

Once again, awards are stupid. Stupid! They mean nothing. They measure little. They usually compare the incomparable. (Heston would have been lousy in the Lemmon role in SLIH, and the same is true for Lemmon in the Heston role in BH.)

by Anonymousreply 4409/25/2009

"If you think Heston was a bad choice, what do you think about Hugh Griffith winning for Supporting Actor? His part seemed insignificant and he made no impression on me at all. After I saw the movie, I was stunned to learn he'd won the Oscar for it."

I agree. I think Stephen Boyd should have won the Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the vengeful Messala. And yet he wasn't even nominated!

by Anonymousreply 4509/25/2009

Yes, Stephen Boyd was superb in BEN-HUR. And if Gore Vidal can be trusted, he was not afraid to play the role "gay" in order to highlight the tension between Messala and Ben-Hur.

Stephen Boyd was never properly employed as an actor. His career deserved much better than it got...

by Anonymousreply 4609/25/2009

Stephen Boyd was an alcoholic. He had talent and charmisma out the wazoo, but he lost his looks young because of the drinking, and I don't know how reliable he was.

What a pity, he was the hotness!

by Anonymousreply 4709/25/2009

Charlton Heston was fantastic as Andrew Jackson in "The President's Lady." He and Susan Hayward were wonderful together.

by Anonymousreply 4809/25/2009

r. 22,

And Tony Curtis was way prettier in drag than Jack Lemmon.

by Anonymousreply 4909/26/2009

What caused Stephen Boyd's premature heart attack on the golf course at the age of 45? Are you saying it was alcoholism?

by Anonymousreply 5009/26/2009

Check out Charleton in A Touch of Evil, one of the best movies ever and Orson Welles is no slouch either.

by Anonymousreply 5109/26/2009

Harvey may not have been loathed, but he wasn't American and he was pretty new to Hollywood. Pro-American sentiment has screwed up many Oscars, and was probably part of the reason Tomei won her Oscar.

Anatomy of a Murder was hugely scandalous at the time, and Hollywood wasn't up to giving it too many awards. Why, the word "panties" was uttered several times! It should be glad it was even nominated!

Paul Muni would only have won if he didn't already have an Oscar under his belt. He was good, but he was also a throwback to the 30s and I'm certain he was supposed to be grateful he just got nominated.

Ironically, Ben-Hur was also a throwback as it was a remake of the famous 1925 film. Comparatively, Some Like It Hot was set in the 1920s and was, on one level, a spoof of the early gangster films. Keep in mind a LOT of voters in 1959 had careers in the 1920s and 1930s, and probably didn't care to see anyone spoof those gangster films they had made their living in decades earlier. Not only that, but there were cross-dressers in that film!

So they chose the actor in a respectful remake of a conservative Christian film over the cross-dressing comedian. Not really surprising, honestly.

by Anonymousreply 5209/26/2009

Cunt Hur is on tonight on Turner Classic Movies at 8 E

by Anonymousreply 5309/26/2009

I seem to recall a minor scandal over Stephen Boyd showing a HUGE erection in some photograph.

by Anonymousreply 5409/26/2009

Those epic films of the late 50s and early 60s often had huge male stars who were paired with newly discovered foreign female starlets.

The girls' roles were relatively small and harmless and they were often the mistresses of the producers.

by Anonymousreply 5509/26/2009

Too right, r55, German Christine Kaufmann was another one - but she married Tony Curtis after making their epic 'Taras Bulba' [after he divorced Janet]. He makes Kaufmann give up her career, so then later when he divoces her, her career is gone !

Haya Harareet though from 'Ben Hur' did better - she gave up her career and married respected director Jack Clayton and worked on the scripts of his movies, I understand she was a writing credit on his 'Our Mothers House'.

and yes Boyd should have been nominated and won best supporting actor for 'Ben Hur' as he is the black heart of the film - Hugh Griffith who did win is more or less comic relief and has just a few scenes [he is wonderful though in 'Tom Jones' and others].

I suspect Boyd must have been gay, imdb list just 2 brief marriages, 1 during the making of 'Ben Hur' (maybe to allay any suspicions?) and then just 10 months before he died in 1977 to his long-time secretary/assistant! Pity there is no biography...

by Anonymousreply 5609/26/2009

The movie was a mega epic oscar genuflection success (on it's own terms) and Heston, ham though he is, gives a vivid high octane epic performance that was perfectly in sync with the movie's charms, such as they are. It's not great acting and certainly not in the league with the rival performances given by Stewart (who already had an oscar - Stewart was also in the movie that should have swept the oscars that year), Muni (who also already had an oscar), and Lemmon (who would have to wait another 15 years or so to get an oscar but was nominated for a screwball comedy, albeit a truly great one). Harvey's performance is about as good as Heston's. The great performance in Room at the Top is Signoret's (and she won the oscar that year). Anyway, it's the oscars.

Plus, Heston was a very handsome movie star with some legit theater experience and considered a pretty nice guy. He certainly wasn't talent-free. This was long before his opportunistic association with the far right.

In any event, Heston's win isn't any more surpising than Russell Crowe's for Gladiator. Although Crowe is certainly a great actor, far more interesting than Heston, his work in Gladiator is of the same ilk as Heston's in Ben Hur and not all that much more impressive.

by Anonymousreply 5709/26/2009

Interesting. I had no idea that Harareet was married to Jack Clayton.

She's breathtakingly beautiful and sometimes quite touching in Ben Hur.

by Anonymousreply 5809/26/2009

Heston of course was a roll just then, having just been in Wyler's previous hit The Big Country, and also another movie out in 1959 with Gary Cooper (Wreck of the Mary Deare) and having been big in 10 Commandments, with El Cid to follow.

Apart from Boyd seeming gay in Ben Hur (he is never seen with a woman, but always with English actor Terence Longdon whose role is unspecified - is he his assistant, confidant or current acquisiton?) nobody seems to notice that the Jack Hawkins section comes across as very gay too - the roman admiral practically slavers when he spots hunky Ben at the oars and that scene of he testing Ben's strength (to ramming speed!) is played with the two men eyeing each other, Ben is then summoned to Jack's cabin with the admiral seeming asleep and Jack makes clear his interest in fighting men and gladiators - after Ben rescues him they arrive back in Rome with Ben like his hunky boyfriend at his side and Arrius then formally 'adopts'him and give him his ring/crest as his heir! and regrets that Ben has to return to Judea.

Thats the way I see it.

by Anonymousreply 5909/26/2009

BEN HUR was a remake.

How many other remakes have won Best Picture Oscars?

by Anonymousreply 6009/26/2009

Tony Curtis should have won an Oscar for SOME LIKE IT HOT.

But in the best "Actress" category. Since his Josephine was the prettiest woman on screen in 1959

by Anonymousreply 6109/26/2009

Oscars are awarded for that year.

It takes time for many performances and, indeed, many films to mature and be recognised for what they are...

(cf Heath Ledger basically getting an Oscar for OD-ing...)

On the other hand, Heston's performance was good (if camp) in a goodand fun (if camp) film.

by Anonymousreply 6209/26/2009

[quote]Ben Hur was a massive hit. Massive in that people paid like $0.10 a ticket and it still made a fortune.

Actually movies didn't open all over the country at the same time. "Ben Hur" was an event and opened in New York City at the Lowes State Theater exclusively and played there for 74 weeks! It was reserved seats and it was as expensive as a Broadway show at the time.

In 1959, the price scale for the reserved seat engagement was as follows: Two shows a day, a matinee and evening performance: Monday through Thursday evenings, $3.00, $2.50, $2.00; Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and holiday evenings, $3.50, $3.00, $2.50; Wednesday matinees, $2.50, $2.00, $1.50; Saturday, Sunday, and holiday matinees, $2.75, $2.00, $1.50.

Here's an ad

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 6309/26/2009

"I suspect Boyd must have been gay, imdb list just 2 brief marriages, 1 during the making of 'Ben Hur' (maybe to allay any suspicions?) and then just 10 months before he died in 1977 to his long-time secretary/assistant! Pity there is no biography..."

It would be interesting to know more about Boyd. If he didn't have any kids by the age of 45, and had only been married once or twice for a period of a few months, it could mean he was gay I suppose.

by Anonymousreply 6409/26/2009

As impressed as I was by Philip Seymour Hoffmann's performance in CAPOTE, I still believe that Heath Ledger gave the best performance of 2005 as Ennis Del Mar in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. I think that the Academy realizes this as well, and it also realizes that it denied the BEST PICTURE and BEST ACTOR Oscars to the film because it was afraid to let its fag flag fly! (Not that its cowardice scored any points with Joe Sixpack and his soccer mom wife, did it? The two of them still despise anything that they themselves have not thought of on their own...)

I don't believe that the Academy gave Ledger the BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR Oscar for 2008 because he was a druggie. I believe that it HAD to give him the Oscar (for a very good performance in a wildly overpraised film) in order to rectify its previous act of artistic cowardice. And I think that everybody, deep down inside, knows that he got the Oscar for BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, and not for the Batman film.

That's just my opinion, R62...

by Anonymousreply 6509/26/2009

Perhaps it was a bit of both, R65 - an Oscar for Brokeback, and an Oscar to remember him by since he had just died

by Anonymousreply 6609/26/2009

Hey, dudes! Guess what? BEN-HUR is on TCM tonight, at least in my neighborhood. Tonight's the night to gorge yourself on all of that heavily repressed Judaeo-Christian-Roman homoeroticism and to marvel at the subtlety of Hugh Griffith's Oscar-winning performance (if you don't miss it altogether by taking a wizz in the bathroom in the midst of the film).

I don't know about you, but I really wish that I could read a critical analysis of the 1950s craze for sword-n-sandal epics with redeeming Christian themes. Is there any such analysis out there? When you think about it, less than twenty years separate THE GRAPES OF WRATH from BEN-HUR, but that's one hell of a lot of cultural mileage in just twenty years, no?

And then, you have a picture like GLADIATOR (2000), a picture set during the first three years of the Emperor Commodus's reign (180-183) and yet NOT mentioning Christianity AT ALL, even though the Emperor Marcus Aurelius had seen Christianity as being enough of a public menace to start persecuting it. Surely THAT is just as significant as the over-the-top Christophilia of BEN-HUR...

Just thinkin' out loud...s

by Anonymousreply 6709/26/2009

"How did Charleton Heston win an Oscar?"

I think I had something to do with it.

by Anonymousreply 6809/26/2009

"I don't know about you, but I really wish that I could read a critical analysis of the 1950s craze for sword-n-sandal epics with redeeming Christian themes. Is there any such analysis out there?"

I read somewhere that guilt over our dropping the bomb caused American films to embrace themes of religion in the fifties, whereas Japan, who the victim of the bomb, made movies during that time of overgrown monsters, hybrid creatures, destruction and other Godzilla-type themes.

by Anonymousreply 6909/26/2009

I agree, R67. We should watch the movie tonight and analyze the scenes that have been discussed here. I haven't seen it in several years

by Anonymousreply 7009/26/2009

Link, R54

by Anonymousreply 7109/26/2009

Perhaps the reason Gore Vidal told Stephen Boyd to put a homoerotic subtext into his scenes with Charlton Heston is because Vidal knew Boyd was gay.

by Anonymousreply 7209/26/2009

If any of you have ever seen Charlton Heston in drag. I don't want to know about it or ever see a photo of it.

by Anonymousreply 7309/26/2009

Anyone know anything else about Stephen Boyd's personal life?

by Anonymousreply 7409/26/2009

[quote] Ben Hur was a massive hit. Massive in that people paid like $0.10 a ticket and it still made a fortune.

Actually the cost of a movie ticket in 1959 was $1.00.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 7509/26/2009

I understand how Heston's reprehensible politics in his later years of his life could cloud any objective analysis of his talent or impact on movie history. But, please, reasonable people must give the man his due. Stunningly and masculinely handsome, a heart-stopping charisma rarely seen on screen before him and a staggering acting talent when married with the right larger-than-life role. His Ben-Hur Oscar was completely deserved. Now Planet of the Apes is another story...

by Anonymousreply 7609/26/2009

Heston was also involved in Civil Rights at the time as well - and as a prominent white celebrity, his presence helped bring on board other white voters. He did have some positives

by Anonymousreply 7709/26/2009

R67: There is an article on the subject, and for the life of me I cannot remember the author. I read it years ago in grad school. Here is the gist of what I can recall.

In the 50's, with the Cold War way up on the cultural radar, the "Christian" way of life was naturally a powerful propaganda tool. No institution in the nation was more anti-communisit than the Catholic Church. No religious was more prominent than Cardinal Spellman. The article pointed out that if one watches the Biblical epics from the 50's you have an "Us" and "Them" approach. The Christians represent what is virtous and life affirming; in contrast, the pagans are totalitarian and indifferent to justice and decency. Watch "Ben Hur" or any other 50's Biblical epic and the Cold War subtext comes through. Notice how Christianity is represented as a bulwark against what is totalitarian and inhumane. In fact, notice how the pagans supress freedom at the expense of power.

I wish that I could remember the name of the author. Again, do a search, and you might find the article. Very interesting. Btw, the Stephen Boyd character certainly adds another dimension to the religious theme, right? Lol.

by Anonymousreply 7809/26/2009

Sorry R71. If I had a link I would supply it. From what I remember it wasn't a nude shot, just a really obvious trouser tenting in a tabloid.

by Anonymousreply 7909/26/2009

The apex of the Godless pagan - Godless commie identification had to have come in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) with Yul Brenner --- looking like he has just come from torturing children in a Siberian gulag --- chewing up the scenery as he snarled "So let it be written; so let it be done!" In the 1950s THAT was supposed to be the apex of Commie authoritarianism (which Gawd Almighty created America to defeat). And fifty years later, when Dick Cheney says the exact same thing, nobody bats an eye, huh?

Ah, those were the days when mainstream America loved decent-n-respectable Hollywood! Before Satan took it over and started putting SEX on the screen.... SMILE

by Anonymousreply 8009/26/2009

And R70 has a good point about critiquing the movie as it plays. I'll be here. Will you? SMILE

by Anonymousreply 8109/26/2009

r59 you do realize that the Ben-Hur screenplay was written by Gore Vidal, don't you?

by Anonymousreply 8209/26/2009

Yes I also think Gore upped the gay quota with both Boyd and Hawkins having the hots for Ben.

Its also like a marriage ceremony when Hawkins adopts him and gives him the ring.

Harareet is very good in a Sophia Loren kind of way, as its that kind of role.

After the big chariot race (one never tires of watching it) though there is almost an hour more of victorian religiosity with the lepers which does drag a bit, but the first half is brilliant.

by Anonymousreply 8309/26/2009

[quote]I still believe that Heath Ledger gave the best performance of 2005 as Ennis Del Mar in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. I think that the Academy realizes this as well, and it also realizes that it denied the BEST PICTURE and BEST ACTOR Oscars to the film because it was afraid to let its fag flag fly!

Nope. I'm gay and I saw BM on opening day in the theater and if I were a member of the Academy I wouldn't have wasted a vote on his Mumbles McGurk act. Just face facts, that the movie means more to you because you're gay. It clouds your judgement. BM is quite boring at points and is hardly a masterpiece. Heath won because people liked his Joker, AND he was dead. BM is loooong forgotten.

by Anonymousreply 8409/26/2009

I think you are wrong R84 but I agree the BM mystique means more to us.

The difference is that we know more about movies, or at least the Oscars, in general, gay themed or not. You want to know who lost for best actor 15 years ago? Ask a gay person before anyone else.

by Anonymousreply 8509/26/2009

R84, I don't want want to divert the attention of this thread from Judah Ben-Hur's iron determination not to let anyone wrest the BEST ACTOR Oscar from his cold, dead fingers, but I disagree with you about Heath Ledger's performance in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. I watched the film for the first time in three-and-a-half years a couple of weeks ago, and I was worried that both the film and the performance would not stand up. I need not have worried. It did and he did.

I can appreciate your dislike for the film, but I don't share it, and I also think that in the past four years BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN has "gone mythological." It's not just a gay film any more, R84: it's becoming a symbol of America in its twilight years trying to come to terms (perhaps unsuccessfully) with its demons, whatever they may be.

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN was, and is, a controversial film. BEN-HUR, however, is not, as we all know, and I can't wait to be crushed to mincemeat a half hour from now by its epic pretensions and heavy-handed symbolism. No doubt, by the time that the film ends, I too will be whipping myself senseless like that crazy albino monk in THE DA VINCI CODE --- and getting ready to vote for Nixon (anything rather than that damn Catholic whimp) in the 1960 election.... BIG GRIN...

by Anonymousreply 8609/26/2009

I'm shocked that in over 80 posts there's been little or no mention of William Wyler's contribution to Ben-Hur.

He was really an incomparable director whose work spanned several decades and genres and included the best Bette Davis movies The Letter, The Little Foxes and Jezebel, The Best Years of Our Lives, Roman Holiday, Detective Story, Friendly Persuasion, The Heiress, The Children's Hour and even Funny Girl.

by Anonymousreply 8709/26/2009

Check out this passage from Wikipedia about the galley scenes. What a fraudulent film!

The original design for the boat Ben-Hur is enslaved upon was so heavy that it couldn't float. The scene therefore had to be filmed in a studio, but another problem remained: the cameras didn't fit inside, so the boat was cut in half and made able to be wider or shorter on demand. The next problem was that the oars were too long, so those were cut too; however, this made it look unrealistic, because the oars were too easy to row; so weights were added to the ends.

During filming, director Wyler noticed that one of the extras was missing a hand. He had the man's stump covered in false blood, with a false bone protruding from it, to add realism to the scene when the galley is rammed. Wyler made similar use of another extra who was missing a foot.

The galley sequence includes the successive commands from Arrius, �Battle speed, Hortator... Attack speed... Ramming speed!� The word hortator is no longer in use, and is notably absent from most modern dictionaries. It was a Latin word that on a ship meant �chief of the rowers�, or �he who has command over the rowers�,[1] and likely has roots in the Latin verb hortor (�to exhort, encourage�). The command "Ramming speed, Hortator!", which is widely remembered and parodied, never occurs.

The galley sequence is purely fictional, as the Roman navy, in contrast to its early modern counterparts, did not employ convicts as galley slaves.

by Anonymousreply 8809/26/2009

This film REEKS of homoeroticism, and only Chuck is not in on the joke!

Messala: "Is there anything so sad as non-requited love?" There we have it, up-front and as the first order of business...

by Anonymousreply 8909/26/2009

Who plays Jesus?

The scene when he gives BH water is somewhat homoerotic.

by Anonymousreply 9009/26/2009

Jesus can play the fag 'cause he's Gawd and so he can do whatever he pleases...

But just you try to do it, R90, and see what happens to you...

by Anonymousreply 9109/26/2009

I meant the actor who plays Jesus. Is it a mystery like the guy who plays Sebastian in SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER?

by Anonymousreply 9209/26/2009

It's unpatriotic to show Jesus's face in a politically correct 1959 film, I suppose...

by Anonymousreply 9309/26/2009

Hi name is (was?) Claude Heater, R92

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by Anonymousreply 9409/26/2009

[quote]Tony Curtis should have won an Oscar for SOME LIKE IT HOT.

Oh good lord no. His faux Cary Grant was embarrassing and he had no feel for comedy. Why people kept putting him in comedies (like the truly awful "Boeing Boeing") is beyond me. Put him in dramas like "Sweet Smell of Success" and rein him in and he's a good actor. Otherwise he's a hack.

by Anonymousreply 9509/26/2009

Freud tells us that projection is a psychological defense mechanism designed to protect us from finding out unpleasant truths about ourselves by seeing (projecting) these unpleasant truths on people around us.

The subtext of this film is that those godless commies are the degenerate Romans of the Eisenhower Era. But it is so clear, in retrospect, that WE --- and WE alone --- were those degenerate Romans. 1959, the year of BEN-HUR, was also the year of the CIA-Mafia plans to eliminate Castro, the involvement of Poppy Bush's Zapata Oil company in those plans, and the triumph of the military-industrial-intelligence complex everywhere in American society.

I remember those days well, even now, half a century later, and my memories are not pleasant ones...

by Anonymousreply 9609/26/2009

Not for nutin', but there are moments in this ham-fest that are genuinely moving. And I am willing to grant Chuckie his golden statue. Even Alec Baldwin, the host of the TCM ESSENTIALS, is willing to do so, despite his total contempt for Chuckie's politics...

If 2000 can have its GLADIATOR and 2004 its KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, then 1959 could have had its BEN-HUR. And so it goes...

by Anonymousreply 9709/26/2009

Go to Claude Hauter's website and see that he was a hottie.

by Anonymousreply 9809/26/2009

It's HEATER R98, and he was an opera singer

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by Anonymousreply 9909/26/2009

Game over, folks! Chuckie deserved his Oscar for that chariot race scene, one of the great scenes in the history of film...

And Stephen Boyd wuz robbed, folks, ROBBED! "It goes on, Judah, it goes on. The race is not over." What an exit!

by Anonymousreply 10009/26/2009

There are Zionist strains in Ben Hur too.

by Anonymousreply 10109/26/2009

If you want to see Stephen Boyd in another Roman historical drama, he is in "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire". Several other hotties are in it as well.

by Anonymousreply 10209/26/2009

r82 repeats that the Ben Hur screenplay was written by Vidal - but he is not the credited writer, so who knows just how much tinkering he did on the script for Wyler?

Heston was even better as El Cid in 1961 - those epics had real depth, unline the CGI ones of recent years like Gladiator or Troy or Kingdom of Heaven, there is no substance to them as its all added in later by computer. At least in the old days all those people were really there, with great sets etc.

The Vikings is another one I never tire of and enjoy as much now as I did when I was a kid. Here, Janet seems to be wearing a 50s pointy bra underneath her Welsh robes, and australian Frank Thring of Ben Hur, El Cid, King of Kings etc is deliciously evil.

by Anonymousreply 10309/27/2009

Gladiator was an exception though, R103 - it had a quality to it that really struck a chord and that's why it became so successful and inspired more interest in the genre

by Anonymousreply 10409/27/2009

I really should have a look at the 1925 silent version, which is included in the 4 disk DVD of a few years back, and see how homoerotic that is! - Navarro is naked I understand when chained to the oars, that should get Quintus Arrius excited!

by Anonymousreply 10509/28/2009

Whatever you can say about Heston and Ben Hur not deserving oscars, both him and the film were more deserving than Crowe (a great actor who should have won for The Insider) and Gladiator. Whatever you can say about Griffith not deserving, it pales in comparison to Joaquin Phoenix being even nominated for his ridiculously goofy performance in Gladiator especially when he gave a great supporting performance that year in Quills.

Ben Hur, for all its puffery and over indulgence, is a grand literate epic by a great director. In its genre, only Kubrick's Spartacus surpasses it as a Hollywood portrayal of classical antiquity. Gladiator is a piece of shit.

by Anonymousreply 10610/08/2009

I disagree - Gladiator was a great film. There's a reason it was so successful.

What I don't understand is why Stephen Boyd wasn't even nominated for Ben-Hur.

by Anonymousreply 10710/08/2009

Simple, his height.

by Anonymousreply 10810/08/2009

What do you mean, R108?

by Anonymousreply 10910/08/2009

I thought GLADIATOR terrible and KINGDOM OF HEAVEN really good. But the young guys wanting acting sequences and no thinking required prefer GLADIATOR over KoH. I remember leaving the theater after having seen KoH and a guy was telling his date, "That movie is so long." I knew then it wouldn't be a hit.

For those wanting DECLINE & FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE with Stephen Boyd & Sophia Loren in the 60s remember GLADIATOR is a remake of that film. There are some differences, like the ending, but it's the same film.

I've always thought BEN-HUR (son of Hur) the best homoerotic epic, even over SPARTACUS, which was meant to be overt with the Olivier-Tony-Kirk triangle. THE VIKINGS is number two (Kirk's obsession over Tony Curtis).

I've always seen B-H to be a homosexual tale and I know the quote is out there that the director said "It would all have gone better without that girl in it." In other words, the obligatory female love interest threw off the plot and pacing of the real story, which is the love story betw Chuck and Steve.

by Anonymousreply 11010/08/2009

I think Charleton Heston is one of the worst actors to ever become a movie star. I laugh most of the time he is on film. I laugh like crazy in Planet of the Apes.

Ben Hur is lots of fun- great spectacle- but essentially Heston is a ham, and overacts so badly that you just have to laugh. He can't even stand convincingly.

He was a Democrat back then you know. He may have been a nice guy, but he went bonkers politically- think Andy Williams right now, or Jon Voight. Heston's NRA stuff was bizarre- totally bizarre.

by Anonymousreply 11110/08/2009

Short actors don't win Supporting Actor Oscars, R108?

How did I win then?

by Anonymousreply 11210/08/2009

Its Charlton - not Charleton.

I met him in 1972 at London's National Film Theatre - the man was massive, towered over me.

by Anonymousreply 11310/09/2009

In terms of height, or build, R113?

by Anonymousreply 11410/09/2009
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