Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Man for All Seasons

When King Henry VII directs his Roman Catholic Chancellor Thomas Moore to write the Pope to secure an annulment for his first marriage with Catherine of Aragon, Moore refuses to go along. When the King finally breaks from the Church, and Moore continues to support his actions, the crown uses deceit and treachery to convict the steadfast chancellor of treason. "A Man for All Seasons" is Fred Zinnemann's literate and powerful screen adaptation of Robert Bolt's play, that is found on a stellar, Oscar winning performance from Paul Scofield, also recreating his stage part. Robert Shaw also has a memorable turn as the bawdy Henry VII. Bolt's screenplay is a tricky dance of semantics that is pulled off swimmingly by Scofield, Shaw, and the rest of the cast, with the rest of the film given great elevation by the legendary Zinneman, who does a great job in opening up the materal.  The final courtroom scene, featuring Scofield's scornful speech against the actions of the crown, is one of great potency. "A Man for All Seasons" is a great play adaptation and a testament to a man whose courage and faith helped him triumph over a treacherous tyrant.