adaptation of the Robert Bolt play remains an all time masterpiece.
He tells a quiet story of faith, courage and steadfastness that is so
missing today. It portrays the life and death of Sir Thomas More, a
prominent member of the court of English King Henry VIII. Grounded in
historical fact, this movie vividly tells the story of More's stand
against the king's betrayal of the law of God - a stand that would cost
the Catholic King Henry VIII sought to divorce his wife, Catherine of
Aragon, so he could instead marry Anne Boleyn, his will was opposed
by the Roman papacy as being repugnant to the clear teachings of scripture.
Rather than submit, Henry chose to rebel by having Parliament pass a
law to establish the Church of England and declare Henry the head of
it. In order to legitimise his claim to this new title, however, Henry
needed the support of his members of state, not the least of which was
a brilliant performance, Paul Scofield depicts Thomas in his steadfast
assertion of integrity and conscience toward the law of God. His chief
accusers are repeatedly confounded at Thomas' evasion of their clever
snares and manipulations, designed at first to gain More's cooperation
but later to get him to incriminate himself. Cromwell and the others
ultimately are forced to resort to perjury, corruption, and a kangaroo
court to ‘convict’ Thomas of the crime of high treason,
and to eliminate him as the last obstacle to King Henry's ambitions.
Schofield as More is magnificent, combining a stoical adherence to truth
on the one hand, with a dry wit on the other, and this is an accuracy
of depiction that could not have been drawn from the words of the script.
such as this are rare today; 'A Man for All Seasons' turns not on action
sequences, battles past or present or on a love affair. It is neither
a comedy nor a tragedy in the classic sense. In a word, it would seem
to have little to recommend it - however, it is one of the best film
ever produced. The director Fred Zimmermann resisted the urge to provide
orchestral music as a background to many of the scenes; indeed, through
much of the film, there is no music at all, as the drama itself carries
the weight of the narrative and atmosphere. The cinematographer, Ted
Moore, as well as the director received Academy Awards for their work.