GRAPHICS LOADING
CHUCK AS MICHELANGELO
THE AGONY
                   & THE ECSTASY
"THE CREATION" BY MICHELANGELO ON THE SISTINE CHAPEL CEILING
THE AGONY & THE ECSTASY
DIRECTOR: CAROL REED, 1965

PAGE ONE
THE AGONY & THE ECSTASY features a complete replica of the Sistine Chapel, the largest indoor set in the world built up to that time. Heston delivers a powerful, understated interpretation of one of the world's greatest artists, Michelangelo. THE AGONY & THE ECSTASY, based on the Irving Stone best-seller, tells of that period during Michelangelo's life when he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The picture relates the artist's struggle with the Pope who commissioned this monumental work.


SYNOPSIS:

THE AGONY & THE ECSTASY begins has Heston (Michelangelo) during the artistic rage of the Renaissance, the Medicis, the most powerful family in Europe, showering him with fat commissions for his sculpting in Florence. Heston is summoned by Harrison (Pope Julius II ), the shrewd and demanding Pope, then head of church and state, who ordered Heston to "decorate" the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This made Heston return to fresco painting, which he disliked. Heston undertakes the Herculean task, encouraged by an old flame, Diane Cilento(Contessina de Medici). She is married to another, but is devoted to the artist, nurturing  Heston with food and paying his rent because Harrison ignores commissions due to his artist. The work begins on the ceiling as a standard fresco, disgusting the perfectionist artist who runs away to work in a rock quarry. The Pontiff's troops are later sent to find Heston. While hiding from Harrison's troops, after initially refusing to continue to paint the ceiling, he climbs high atop a mountain by the marble quarry. It is sunset, and as day wanes the sky becomes the 'ceiling' and the clouds form God, Adam and other focal points of the mural . Heston recites Genesis and has the inspiration of how he will do his masterpiece. He returns to the chapel where he works on a towering scaffold, lying on his back, the paint dripping onto his face, into his eyes, until he is almost blinded and falls from the scaffold. Heston has severely injures himself but resumes his incredible task while still ill. Heston journeys to a local tavern and see a man's face that is perfect for one of his figures. Sketching hurriedly among the dogs and human refuse of that inn, Heston renders a face that has come down to us as a figure of divinity on his mural. In real life, the face belonged to a simple peasant going about his life when he unknowingly became  an immortal for the artist to paint on the ceiling. Harrison is continually harassing Heston over the years, constantly asking, "When will it be ended?!" and Heston replies, "When is it finished!" A personal battle of wills between Heston and Harrison comes to a halt with Harrison, on his so-thought death bed,  rallies back to form after Heston encourages him to live. The Sistine Chapel is finally completed, marking a triumph in Michelangelo's career which endures to this day.

When Heston stepped into the character of Michelangelo, and essayed the job of painting the studio set, he both felt and looked the part. Preparing for the role in THE AGONY & THE ECSTASY, Heston had to watch and study marble sculptors at work, learning the technique of wielding chisel and hammer. Heston spent hours upon hours practicing this same technique. Heston also read everything he could find about the artist and boned up on the techniques of fresco painting. Heston is quoted to have said about this great  masterpiece, " The Da Vinvi 'Last Judgment's is technically deteriorated, whereas the Sistine Chapel ceiling, both painted in the same period, still survives today."  The set of the chapel itself was unique. It was reconstructed completely to scale in the Dino de Laurentiis Studios in Rome. The process used to transfer the original art to this bogus chapel ceiling, was more impressive. Over sixty technicians were employed to recreate these paintings in the same vivid colors that were present when it was first done over four hundred years earlier. Heston is a great admirer of Michelangelo's art and has this to say, which sums up how he thought the great artist felt at the time, " Michelangelo hated painting, but Pope Julius said paint the ceiling, and you didn't argue with  the Popes then!" THE AGONY & THE ECSTASY was nominated for five Academy Awards in 1965.


MY COMMENTS:

I loved Chuck in THE AGONY & THE ECSTASY. This role was made to order for him. I really thought he gave a special insight to this wonderful artist and made Michelangelo real. I admire how much time Chuck spent in learning how to fresco paint and sculpt for this part.  Chuck expressed, with his part as Michelangelo, how art can move a person's soul and this is truly what the movie is about. This movie proved to me that Chuck is truly a 'Renaissance Man'.
MY FAVORITE MOVIE PICK
PICTURES FROM
THE AGONY & THE ECSTASY
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CHUCK AS MICHELANGELO '65
CHUCK AS MICHELANGELO '65
CHUCK AS MICHELANGELO '65
CHUCK AS MICHELANGELO '65
CHUCK & DIANE CILENTO
CHUCK & REX HARRISON
CHUCK AS MICHELANGELO '65
PLANNING HOW TO BUILD THE SCAFFOLD
CHUCK,  REX HARRISON & HARRY ANDREWS
PAINTING THE SISTINE CHAPEL
MORE INFORMATION ON
                    THE AGONY & THE ECSTASY:

Academy Award Nomination:
Best Color Cinematography - Leon Shamroy
Best Original Score - Alex North
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Color) - John DeCuir (Art Direction), Jack Martin Smith, Dario Simoni (Set Decoration)
Best Costume Design (Color) - Vittorio Nino Novarese
Best Sound - James P Corcoran (20th Century-Fox Studio Sound Department)

Country of origin: U.S.
Genre: Biography
Color or b/w: Color
Production Co(s).: Fox
Released By: Fox
MPAA rating: NR
Parental rating: Acceptable for children
Running time: 136

CAST:


Charlton Heston-Michelangelo
Rex Harrison-Pope Julius II
Diane Cilento-Contessina de Medici
Harry Andrews-Bramante
Alberto Lupo -Duke of Urbino
Adolfo Celi -Giovanni de Medici
Venantino Venantini-Paris de Grassis
John Stacy -Sangallo
Fausto Tozzi-Foreman
Maxine Audley-Woman
Tomas Milian -Raphael
Richard Pearson-Cardinal

CREDITS:


Producer: Carol Reed
Director: Carol Reed
Writer: Philip Dunne (based on the novel by Irving Stone)
Cinematographer: Leon Shamroy (DeLuxe Color)
Editor: Samuel E. Beetley
Music Composer: Alex North
Art Director: Jack Martin Smith
Special Effects: L.B. Abbott & Emil Kosa Jr.
Costume Design: Vittorio Nino Novarese
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