That's Kenneth Branagh directing Paul Scofield, not that Scofield needed a lot of direction. What, another dead white dude feted by Nat Turner? Should I take a measure of reprisal for the Fox News/Billary snow job re: Barack & Jeremiah Wright?! I'm not so nasty, fanboys & girls. See, I respect genius. Unlike the braying fools and prettyboys we have acting today, this dude was a master. Won the Oscar for "A Man for All Seasons" (playing Sir Thomas More), was nominated twice, including for his portrayal of author/Prof Mark Van Dorn, daddy of "Quiz Show" whitebread cheater Charles Van Dorn. The man could convey a whole scene just by raising an eyebrow, or turning his head, frowning. Ever seen that in one of Tyler Perry's masterpieces? Umm...no.
Something else about that flick, A Man for All Seasons. Those of you who follow the softcore/soap opera version of Henry VIII and Sir Thomas More on Showtime's "The Tudors" might have an idea of what More was about. Lawyers are much maligned in our culture, yet in film a couple stand out, like Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mo"ckingbird), or Denzel in Philadelphia...or Scofield as More. See he would not bend to Henry's lust and lunacy (though admittedly without Henry we Episcopalians would still be Catholics). Law schools used to screen A Man for All Seasons to students studying ethics. Now that's seen as superfluous. I guess now it's Girls Gone Wild and Dancing With The Stars? More's shield was not his faith, but the law. Due Process...even Renaissance notions of equal protection. Scofield took one soliquy directly from Moore's writings, right before Henry put him on trial for treason. George Bush and his rogue's gallery of attorney generals and those who prop them up might want to check it out...and think.
Roper (Thomas More's son in law): "So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
More: "Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?"
Roper: "Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!"
More: "Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!"
Bye Paul. We're left with Drillbit Taylor and Meet the Browns and Seth Rogen, but we'll manage...