Archive for April 13th, 2012

by Allan Fish

It may seem a strange choice of caption; surely the Actor for All Seasons was the great Paul Scofield, who immortalised the role of Thomas More both on stage and in 1966 on screen.  To the vast majority of people, the idea of anyone else playing the role seemed unthinkable.  Even Charlton Heston, who desperately wanted the role – and eventually did a solid job in a TV remake in 1988 – was unable to shift Fred Zinnemann’s insistence on Scofield repeating his stage triumph.  Scofield was one of the great actors of the 20th century, a dyed in the wool Labour supporter who refused knighthoods not once but three times, before finally accepting the non politically orientated Companion of Honour a decade before he died.  There was even something wonderful about him playing opposite Wendy Hiller, very much his female equivalent, a stage titan, but a rare one that perfectly understood the vagaries of screen acting so much each of their screen performances was to be treasured.  Even so, I mourn the real More.  Scofield was 43 playing a man well into his fifties, and while every inch deserving his Oscar (the only performance of that year to challenge him was Per Oscarsson’s in Hunger), I still have reservations.  Or maybe it’s just me playing those infernal word games.  André MORE-ll. (more…)

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