Login | Register

Ben-Hur (1959)

View at IMDB

NOTE: This commentary is on the original Ben-Hur DVD. Heston's comments from this track are available edited into a new commentary track on the Ben-Hur 4-Disc Collector's Edition DVD.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Actor Charleton Heston Rating:6.8/10 (4 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Brian Thibodeau on August 5th, 2004:Find all reviews by Brian Thibodeau
Heston's participation on this track is sporadic, but he is at least watching the film, and handy, pop-up "skip ahead" arrows cue the listener when to jump ahead to his next comment, so scanning the film becomes unnecessary. That said, Heston mostly offers up behind-the-scenes anecdotes and occasional narration, but resorts to "this is a good scene" generalizations a bit too often. Considering the man's age, this is largely forgivable; we should be grateful we even HAVE a commentary from the star of so many classic "epics." It's unlikely he'll ever do another at this point. He does, however, admit that General Lew Wallace's original novel is hardly inspired reading in spite of its good basic story, the fictitious nature of which required him to do less research in light of previous experiences in Roman era pictures. He also debunks many of the rumours about gaffes during the big chariot race (his infamous "wristwatch," the Ferrari in the background, etc.) True to his religious convictions, he believes the crucifixion was filmed properly (as far as anyone could logically believe such a presentation), but says nothing about the fact that Ben Hur's conversion, if one believes it happens at all, is much less overt then it was in Fred Niblo's silent predecessor to this. This fact is, however, discussed in the accompanying documentary, where participants admit the power of Christ was deliberately made less direct (witness the blood in the water healing the lepers, rather than direct touch). Overall, Heston's worth a listen, his mind still fairly sharp at the time of recording, although the track might have been better fleshed out with assistance from other cast and crew, or at least a knowledgeable historian.