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HESTON & MIMIEUX IN DIAMOND HEAD

The Irreplaceable, Gorgeous and... in this, not that Intriguing Yvette Mimieux in DIAMOND HEAD Year: 1962
The story about a man being such a man that no one can stand the man... has been done better... CITIZEN KANE, for starters... But that's an unfair comparison, to any motion picture...

Heston
And while DIAMOND HEAD has quite a picture, showing more of the earthy side of Hawaii than the beaches and ocean, which make a cameo or two like the gorgeous photo above, there's hardly any motion at all. In fact Charlton Heston, who would reject a starring role in the Tropical Noir HAWAII only to jump aboard the sequel, THE HAWAIIANS, doesn't do awful things, he just speaks what he speaks, and it's not all that open-minded or friendly...

Especially when you are surrounded by Idealists so perfect they have hardly any character at all. Especially co-leading man George Chakiris, fresh from breaking hearts in WEST SIDE STORY, playing a half-Hawaiian proudly dead set against Heston's monopolizing, Pineapple growing King Howland. You'll think a fatal laser would pierce through the dimple in his chin to take BEN HUR down within minutes of speaking his, the half-Hawaiian's, mind, a much sharper one, being the Island's Native doctor, than brother Paul Kahana played by James Darren, engaged to Howland's melancholy sister, Sloane...

France
Few could match the natural blonde beauty of TIME MACHINE starlet Yvette Mimieux. Alas, each and every romantic angle is unbelievably predictable and, after a while, especially concerning the robotic delivery of Chakiris, dull as can be. And for much of the cast, DIAMOND HEAD is a diatribe of spiteful cliches fighting good against evil i.e. brown against white. And yet that evil, supposedly embodied within Heston's scornful brow, doesn't show itself beyond dialogue and unspoken guilt...

His love scenes with France Nuyen attempt to add humanity within the steely magnate. Yet nothing really matters beyond the gorgeous exterior here, that is, except the pride of anyone who thinks they're rising over someone with lots and lots of money: the root of all those pineapples... Although the end... the very, very end... might make you take a second look at this soapy, relatively short melodrama with an epic-scope. Perhaps it's not that bad after all as the Island, harboring the title location, always makes for gorgeous cinematic moviegoing. RATING: ***
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