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Written by / 3/21/2020 / No comments / , , , , , , , ,

PAUL SCOFIELD IN 'A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS' WITH ORSON WELLES

Paul Scofield heads to a loaded court in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS Year: 19566
Orson Welles, years after CITIZEN KANE, said the hardest role to play was probably that of Joseph Cotten's Jeb Leland, a man so determined, honest, and stubborn, he doesn't have many rooting for him, but instead, the sympathy goes to the flawed leading man...

Far from the lead, Welles makes an appearance here as a perplexed Cardinal in the Oscar Winning A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS, kickstarting an accusation that would lead to the death of the titular priest who would not bend for anyone, not even the King of England... the infamous Henry the XIII... who, played by Robert Shaw, has a voracious laugh as rich as fool's gold...
Paul Scofield in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
Here we see the connection of Paul Scofield's Thomas More. Without going into details, he was one of the most important priests in the Church of England, and to quickly summarize the plot-line: He was the sole person against the King divorcing his "barren" wife to marry another woman to have a male heir...

Ironic that, though King Henry is mentioned throughout, he only (really) turns up in that one initially jovial scene, intensely trying to change More's heart by simply being his friend. In fact, that's a lot what Charles Foster Kane did with Jo Cotten's Jedediah.
One of many Gothic statures in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS Rates: ***1/2
A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS feels a combination of several genres: a poetic, historic, ancient-set mobster film in its backstabbing and backroom dealings; a Gothic Film Noir with eerie statues and shadowy boats stealthily skimming through night lakes to darkened castle locations...

Or perhaps a modernized Shakespeare, but with words that are much easier to follow, and yet still delivered by mostly British actors who seem born to speak them...
Nigel Davenport with John Hurt & Leo McKern in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
Especially Scofield, whose faithfulness to God is the reason; yet for the sake of the story, and the audience, the mellow cadence he carries throughout, with only a few words raised, is what makes his performance true and natural and not what could have been a pontificating sermon...

And while John Hurt's shifty role as a young, selfish climber, Richard Rich... falling in step behind Leo McKern's shifty middleman instigator while Nigel Davenport is caught in-between... begins to get edgy and intriguing, the film quickly turns from a sort of Roman Catholic espionage into a kind of downer...
Robert Shaw as King Henry the 8th in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
Basically, our seasoned MAN is imprisoned for a while, viewed through montage. Not only a sad thing within the story, but way too much time's spent on the decline right when the plot was gaining momentum...

He continues what seems like a stubborn death wish despite his suffering family, including feisty, overweight wife Wendy Hiller (who seems more like his maid) and gorgeous daughter Susannah York with her idealistic fiance in tow...
Beautiful yet murky, dismal courtroom in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
But Thomas More only understands and adheres to putting God above the King while basically shoving his family aside... Which adds more power to Scolfield's performance since he's completely on his own...

Although for such a saint, he wields an often devilish expression. Making this one of those roles no one else could have played. And in the old days, the Oscars were usually magnetized in that direction.
Paul Scofield as Thomas More in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
Susannah York in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
Susannah York in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
Susannah York in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
John Hurt in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
The King's Boats from A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
The masthead lion in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
Robert Shaw and Vanessa Redgrave in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
 Corin Redgrave and Susannah York in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
Paul Scofield is A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS as Thomas More
Orson Welles as the first Cardinal in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS

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