Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Impeccable performances, 2 Feb 2011
This review is from: Becket [1964] [DVD] (DVD)
Dated, sure....... But they really made good cinema in those days! Made in the heyday of two of filmdom's great icons, Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton were outstanding! Depicting as it does the clash of two contrasting yet in some ways complementary personalities, it's riveting stuff from start to finish. Take, for example the super-ego of Henry II. Who could possibly do it better than O'Toole? Burton brings all his Shakespearean experience to his potrayal of Thomas Becket - gentle, wise and apparently in the pocket of Henry, but unyielding in the end.

And then one comes to sets and settings. From the hunting and wenching scenes in the days of their close relationship to the ceremonial associated with the ordination, consecration and enthronement of Thomas Becket, every detail is perfect -- no cutting of corners here! The locations used are utterly convincing.

There are fine cameo performances from Sian Philips (Becket's mistress), John Gielgud (King of France), Donald Wolfit (Bishop Folliot), the gentle Felix Aylmer of blessed memory (the old Archbishop), Martita Hunt (Henry's mother) and even the virtually unknown Jennifer Hilary (peasant wench). Too many to mention.

But to leave it there would be to short-change the script. The screenplay, based on Jean Anouilh's original play, really brings out the interplay between King/State and Bishop/Church and shows how two strong screen personalities invest those of strong real-life characters. The gradual deterioration of the great friendship that once existed between the Archbishop and his King, leading inevitably to tragedy makes for strong cinema. When will we see its like again?

Thoroughly recommended. If you like historical and/or period drama you need have no hesiatation in buying this DVD.
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