Friday, February 02, 2007

"Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?"

-- King Henry II, referring to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas à Becket



Apparently, the aging acting legend Peter O’Toole is up for an Oscar nomination for his role in the 2006 movie Venus. In what looks like an effort to boost his prospects, it has been reported that the 1964 movie Becket is being re-released in US theaters. In that film Peter O’Toole plays King Henry II and Richard Burton plays his sometimes drinking buddy, sometimes principled antagonist, the Archbishop of Canterbury, St. Thomas Becket (also known as Thomas à Becket). It’s kind of a Henry VIII / St. Thomas More kind of deal. It doesn’t end well for old Thomas in either case...

I’ve never seen this film. I’ve considered it many times at the local video store, but I’ve always put it off. Now that it’s going to be in the theaters, it might be a good time to go, because it sounds like one of those movies you really want to see on the big screen. They say this movie shows O’Toole and Burton at the top of their respective games, which makes it worth it to go and see for that reason alone. There is an audio NPR segment on the re-release here.

Speaking of Peter O’Toole and the big wide screen…. My brother still likes to needle me in front of people for getting us both thrown out of a theater for making too much noise when we went to go see Lawrence of Arabia when it first came out. Not surprising really, considering it was over 3 and ½ hours long and I was 4 flippin’ years old. Come on, Jackie, cut me some slack….

16 comments:

Liam said...

This is a great movie -- and you're hearing this from a medievalist.

Peter O'Toole also played Henry II in the magnificent "A Lion in Winter" (Katherine Hepburn plays Eleanor of Aquitaine). Now I refuse to believe that Henry II did not look, talk, and act like Peter O'Toole.

John B. said...

An outstanding movie...we had to see it in high school (eons ago) for a religion history class...I thought " oh no, anothe dumb movie". I think I have watched it 10 times since.

cowboyangel said...

I'll have to look for the re-release.

I saw Lawrence of Arabia on a big screen when it was re-released a few years ago (uh, well, lilke 20 years ago). It was wonderful to see it on a big screen. Can't believe you got kicked out of a theatre! Hilarious. Your brother should cut you some slack. One question, though: What in the world was a 4-year and his brother doing at Lawrence of Arabia to begin with?

crystal said...

I saw the movie on tv once - it is really good. A Lion in Winter was even better ... I believe that was the first movie for Anthony Hopkins (Richard the lion heart) and Tinothy Dalton (King of France). It's hard to think of TE Lawrence without thinking of O'Toole :-)

Jeff said...

Hi Liam,

Thanks for the endorsement. Now I'll have to make sure I see it, either on the big screen or on DVD. I have seen A Lion In Winter. I agree. That was a terrific movie.

Jeff said...

Hi John,

Good to see you again. I know what you mean. It's a great thing to get surprised by a movie you have to see for school. In college I had a film professor suggest to us that we go to the auditorium on a Friday night to watch To Kill A Mockingbird. I had seen it years before, but I got so caught up in the drama of the story that I forgot I was supposed to be wactching if from a technical perpective. When the professor stopped by and started asking me tech questions about it, I had nothing to come up with.

BTW, I know that as a Packers fan you can't possibly root for the Bears in this situation, but we are depending on that NFC team to STOP the impending insufferable Peyton Manning worship that will ensue if the Colts win...

Jeff said...

William!

He lives!

Well, my brother was six years older than me. He could understand the movie and he was really into it. He was really upset that we had to leave. I finally saw it all the way through about a year ago. Now I know what a great film it is, even if it is way too long. I was amazed at how much of it I could remember! Isn't the young mind an amazing thing?

Now, you're asking me what a 10-year old and a 4-year-old were doing alone at the movies... Good question, but this was around 1962 or 1963. It really was an entirely different world.

Jeff said...

Hi Crystal,

From what I'm hearing about TE Lawrence these days, Peter O'Toole probably cut much more of an impressive figure.

Hopkins and Timothy Dalton were in that, really? What did you think of Dalton as James Bond? In my mind, there is only one guy who had any real business playing James Bond - Sean Connery.

I do, however, want to see the new guy.

Liam said...

The new guy is definitely the best Bond since Connery, and may even be his equal.

The cast of The Lion in Winter is all first rate, and the dialogue is great.

Will no one rid me of this meddlesome dissertation?

crystal said...

One of my favorite bits of dialog from A Lion In Winter ...

Prince John: Poor John. Who says poor John? Don't everybody sob at once! My God, if I went up in flames there's not a living soul who'd pee on me to put the fire out!
Prince Richard: Let's strike a flint and see.

:-)

Jeff, I like Timothy Dalton a lot. I haven't seen the newest Bond, but so far, Dalton is my favorite. He was also in that same era (the 70's?) movie with Vanessa Redgrave (his then real life girlfriend), Mary Queen of Scots.

Jeff said...

Will no one rid me of this meddlesome dissertation?

Ha! I shouldn't laugh. You're probably not joking...

The script for A Lion In Winter was great.

I knew I wanted to see the new James Bond when I heard his response to the martini question...

"Sir, would you like your martini shaken or stirred?"

"I don't give a damn."

Mary Queen of Scots was a good movie too. Have you ever seen Monty's Python's spoof on a BBC production of The Death of Mary Queen of Scots?

crystal said...

Nope, haven't seen that. So, Bond no longer is obsessed with his martini ... maybe he'll morph into a more realistic person after all.

cowboyangel said...

The new guy is definitely the best Bond since Connery, and may even be his equal.

Okay, buddy, I think we need to step outside and resolve this.

I haven't seen the newest Bond, but so far, Dalton is my favorite.

DALTON! Damn. I can't challenge a woman to step outside and resolve this, can I?

Both of you - Sean Connery is James Bond. Everyone else is a copy.

I'm taking my ball and going home.

cowboyangel said...

The Death of Mary, Queen of Scots / Penguin on the Television.

BURMA!

cowboyangel said...

J A M E S B O N D

Jeff said...

LAdies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecution rests...

At least we didn't hear from the Roger Moore Fan Club... :-)

As for Monty Python, I think it's probably a guy thing, for the most part.