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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a monument to the craft of film making, 30 May 2010
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This review is from: A Man For All Seasons (Collector's Edition) [1966] [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
There are a few films that can be described as monuments to the craft of film making. I reckon this is one. Fred Zinnemann adopts a calm, deliberate style of exposition, with no flamboyance. His camera seeks out no clever angles, attempts no bold sweeps - only the occasional use of an oblique image, standing for something left to the viewer's imagination, represents his fullest departure from an almost stage-like focus on the characters. His direction thus lets the inherent drama of the political conflict, and the issue of conscience at its centre, build to a mighty conclusion. The cast are superb, particularly Paul Scofield as More, Wendy Hiller as his wife, and Robert Shaw as Henry VIII, but to single them out is not to detract from a host of other great performances. For me, though, it is the screenplay by Robert Bolt that most assuredly stamps this production as one of enduring value. He has written scenes that resonate like Shakespeare, and with a wit that bears comparison with the bard.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Apr 2011 22:28:16 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Apr 2011 22:46:04 BDT
I first saw this film in 1966, bought it on VHS when they became available, and then DVD (Blu-Ray, what's that?). I regularly dig it out and watch. As your review asserts, this is a great example of true film-making relying upon an excellent cast of very fine actors interpreting a first-rate arrangement of a peerless stage script. Of course it isn't totally historically accurate, but then it's not a history research paper, it's an entertaining interpretation of history and none-the-worse for that. If I wanted total accuracy, I'd read a biography by an accredited expert, but even then, with the best will in the world, personal bias or fallibility cannot be ruled out, even the great Sir Thomas surely had feet of clay unlike your review.

Posted on 3 Nov 2012 17:49:22 GMT
You're right on the money. When I compare this work with more recent movies I'm glad to have had the privilege of seeing it at the cinema during its release. Schofield was surely born to play the part of Thomas More "the most moral man in England", whilst Bolt's intelligent screenplay sets a rare and inspiring standard. I'm also a great fan of Leo McKern who makes an excellent foil to Schofield.
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