Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January is Robert Shaw Month II

"Ah, what an evening! A man could fight a lion!"

"Some men could, your grace."

In A Man for All Seasons (1966), Robert Shaw was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in his portrayal of the young Henry VIII. In this scene he's meeting with his friend Sir Thomas More, the Lord Chancellor of England. More is played by the brilliant actor Paul Scofield, who just passed away in March of 2008. Scofield won the Oscar for Best Actor in that role. The film won a ton of awards, including Best Picture.

Here, Henry is alternately begging, flattering, bullying, cajoling and threatening More into backing him on his wish to divorce Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn. As they fence jovially over the finer points of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, More is having none of it and holds his ground, but he knows at this point that he's a dead man.

The film was good hagiography, but was Thomas More really a Man for All Seasons? I doubt William Tynedale would have thought so.


crystal said...

I read his Utopia long ago, but yikes, he was into burning people at the stake! It's strange how people can be really good in some ways and really harmful in others.

A great movie. Henry VIII gets to be in lots of films .... it's good to be king :)

Jeff said...

Yeah, they really liked to light people up in those days, didn't they? Lots of tolerance for human torches, heads on pikes, drawing-and-quartering, beheadings and the like... "Christendom" left a lot to be desired.

It's good to be king :)

:) 'Tis.

Being the king's wife, not so hot.

cowboyangel said...

I have to see this. I feel ashamed.