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Saturday, April 15, 2023

M is for A Man for All Seasons

 A to Z Challenge

A Month At The Movies



#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter M

Hello and welcome back to A Month at the Movies,  my contribution to the A to Z challenge for 2023.

This year I am copying from a myriad of other A to Z  challengers by reprinting the same synopsis about my theme with every letter.  You can skip over this part if you want to.  

I love movies and have decided to share with you a movie each day that I have enjoyed to one degree or another.  With each entry, I'll give a brief synopsis of the film, share a positive and negative review from Rotten Tomatoes ( a website, I didn't use much at all until preparing for the challenge), discuss its resiliency (the theme of the A to Z challenge this year), and other tidbits like whether the film may appear in my top 100 film list, which I have been revamping this year. I think that's enough in the way of introduction, considering you'll be reading it (hopefully) 13 more times this month.

Film: A Man For All Seasons (1966)
Director: Fred Zinnemann

By w:Robert Bolt - Scanned by uploader, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54061906


A Man For All Seasons is based on the play of the same name. It is the story of British Lord Chancellor Sir Thomas More. According to Wikipedia More in addition to having served as Lord Chancellor was also an English lawyer, judge, social philosopher, author, statesman, and noted Renaissance humanist.  More is one of my heroes, which is odd because He was a Roman Catholic opposed to the Protestant Reformation and I am a former Catholic who is a big fan of the Protestant Reformation.

The reason why I am such a fan or More and A Man For All Seasons is that More was an exemplar of standing up for your faith with dignity, grace, and intellectual integrity.  

The plot synopsis for A Man For All Seasons in IMDB is so rock solid I will just quote it here rather than bore you with a lesser synopsis...

 

Thomas More (Paul Scofield) is at odds with Henry VIII (Robert Shaw) over the kings wish to divorce his wife, Catharine of Aragon; so that he may marry Anne Boleyn. More  understands that from the standpoint of the Roman Catholic church, the king would be heretical. 

 

More , the appointed Lord chancellor, is so highly regarded that his outspoken unwillingness to break with Rome makes Henry VIII look and unreasonable and the king is furious. As the king's wrath rows, he tries to discredit More by attempts at legal trickery, but the attempts fail. More feels the heat being turned up and determines it best to resign his post to retire to private life. Unfortunately, because More's resignation speaks so loudly of the kings intended impropriety, the kings will stil settle for no less than More's approval of the divorce. More, however refuses to relent. 

Henry now has legislation passed that establishes himself as having supreme power in English religous affairs, breaking with Rome and, thereby, establishing the Church of England. He then has legislation passed establishing it as treasonous for any member of the king's court to refuse to sign off on it. More's refusal to sign off dooms him to be beheaded, but he will be remembere as a deeply principled "man for all seasons."


This clip is proof that you can make a great movie and a bad trailer for it.  

    


Positive Tomato: Such a film as A Man For All Seasons makes the silly efforts of avant-garde and "new" picture directors look raw and hideous. This film combines so many qualities of excellence that it stands alone as an example of what a motion picture can be. Marjory Adams - Boston Globe

Negative Tomato: Despite the awards which have been extravagantly heaped upon it and the cool brilliance of Paul Scofield's performance, it remains a costume drama which adds nothing to our understanding of the times, or indeed of men.  Craig McGregor - Sydney Morning Herald

This film was nominated for 8 Academy Awards and won 6 including Best Actor, (Paul Scofield), Best Picture, and Best Director (Fred Zinnemann). While I agree with all of those selections, I think the award that highlights the greatest strength of this film is the Oscar for Best Cinematography going to Ted Moore. Moore gives us a gorgeously filmed picture from beginning to end. 

Resiliency: Paul Scofield won a Tony award and an Oscar for his portrayal of More.  

Top 100: I sometimes am questioned about whether my list of top 100 films is for technical excellence or for how much I enjoyed the film.  I have yet to land what I would call a satisfactory answer to that question.  I will say this, the excellence of the Zinnemann direction, Moore cinematography, and the Scofield portrayal of More are 3 reasons why this film resonates so much with me and why it is certainly in my top 100 favorite films.  

Next Time: Not the spy you're looking for. 



1 comment:

Birgit said...

This is a great film but not one I watch all the time. The acting is superb

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