Saturday, March 22, 2008

Paul Scofield, RIP

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...

11 comments:

Lisa said...

Why do all of these English actors look like sh*t when they get old, and they are barely in their 70s? Peter O'Toole was a pretty white boy when he was young. Look at him now! Richard Harris, Alan Bates,Albert Finney! These men look like they are 90! Even fine Sean Connery!

I've seen the movie on cable, from the 1960s. Who was the guy who played Henry VIII? Wasn't it yet another English actor who died of liquor? Dude from "Jaws?"

Lisa said...

Robert Shaw!

cpb said...

You have weird tastes. Elitist movies like A Man for all Seasons and yet you like and Cloverfield?!

StillaPanther2 said...

Brother Chambers, Looks like all the things that were near and dear is rapidly leaving us. Those were movies thatI have savored over the years.The actors made the scenen not the scene (special effect)making the actor. I think I will pull out some old VCR and check out "The Orient Express". Those days, the movies held you in suspense...didnt want to miss any of the subleties. OBTW-- its a good thing to shift gears in this period of time. Its Sunday... I can catch up Monday with the 24-7 news. My favorite was "The Inspector General" Danny Kaye/

Anonymous said...

OREO

Hathor said...

If I would compare a black actor of note, it would be Andre Braugher.

I most remember Scofield as Alexsei Karenin in a TV version of Anna Karenina.

elle said...

anon, the people that judge other Black folk based on stereotype hit me as people with inferiority complexes.

cpb said...

typo--I meant "and yet you like "Cloverfield," based on your old post." I guess the word's "eclectic" not weird.

Invisible Woman said...

This is completely off topic, but have been aware of you for awhile. Thanks for stopping by my spot; I was born in Freedman's as well while my father went to Howard....D.C. love!

btw, I loved Cloverfield too, and ummm...."oreo"? What was that?

Knute Rife said...

One of the greatest movie scenes of all time and desperately in need of being remembered. As for why the Brits look the way they do, they don't live under the knife, so they actually get old.

madame z said...

Kenneth Branagh is an amazing director. LOL. My contribution to this post. Love your blog!