Wednesday, January 14, 2009

R.I.P., Señor Armando

All the press coverage about the passing today of the very talented Ricardo Montalbán is mentioning his work on Fantasy Island and Star Trek. And, of course, I loved his portrayal of Khan.

But you know what his best work was? The role of Señor Armando in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the fourth film in the series. (He was also in the third, playing a younger version of the same man, but that was a flamboyant performance.)

In Conquest, the darkest film in the series, he was really called upon to act, and he rose beautifully to the challenge, playing the world-weary father figure to Cornelius the chimpanzee as a man of integrity and honor; he brilliantly underplays the role, one of only two sympathetic humans in the entire film.
Police officer: "Circuses are past history."
Armando: "Not while I live and breathe."
Rest in peace, Señor Montalbán.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site



At January 14, 2009 11:14 PM , Blogger Larry Hodges said...

Good call on Montalban in Planet of the Apes. When I saw the obit and all the mentions of Fantasy Island and Star Trek, I too thought about this omission. I think part of the problem is that the Planet of the Apes movies are better appreciated when you've seen them twice. Those who see them once often like them as entertainment with perhaps a surface recognition of the social commentary and acting; those who see them a second time see more of this and love them for it. Since most only see them once, they aren't always appreciated as they should, and so performances like Montalban's aren't as noticed. (Side note - I appreciate the recommendations for the Hugos; I may search down some of these works, and will take them into account when I vote.)
-Larry Hodges


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