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Disgusted with the policies of King Charles I, Oliver Cromwell plans to take his family to the New World. But on the eve of their departure, Cromwell is drawn into the tangled web of religion and politics that will result in the English Civil War. Written by
Marg Baskin <email@example.com>
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First The Pope Then The King: The Politics Of Power
First, as your movie reviewer, for all of you who have lives and do not live within books, like your philosopher author, I must warn you this movie is quite dry. I am fascinated by history, I found the acting alone worthy of owning this old classic. Guinness is excellent as Charles I even aping his slight speech impediment. The movie condenses the complaints against Charles not even mentioning the eternal grants for his court favorites, his shaking down of the merchants for his never ending taking of their profits. I recommend the movie for a good historical look at Cromwell who is not delineated like a comic book. Watch when Parliament begins negotiating a restoration of the king, he is not shy about marching the army into Parliament's chambers (Akin to Caesar crossing the Rubicon); he is shown to be the ambitious man carefully shielding from his eyes his real motivations. Be warned viewers, the movie is told within a merchant Zeitgeist; ergo, expect the putative nobility of the merchant Puritans whose lust for power began with the above quotation uttered by Henry VIII who used them but was never in the dark about their real motivations behind their enthralling mantras of: freedom and liberty. Yes, freedom from the King's authority and the liberty to become the new rulers: the seeds of the global oligarchs under whose hegemony we all labor ad infinitum.
The movie has slow parts where we labor upon war preparation and training, the replacement of the aristocratic leaders of Parliament's army by Cromwell. This is what I underline when you watch this deification of 'democracy.' Cromwell rises to power surely always cloaked in the name of 'the people of England.' My favorite scene is where Cromwell gives Charles the final demands of Parliament; Charles feigns amiability never intending to heed a word they wrote. As Cromwell walks away, Charles smiles sardonically,"A very cunning man." This is the core of the movie, though made by democrats in love with the mob, there are hints here and there that perhaps Oliver is not quite the saint that he, and his votaries, believe him to be. One wonderful apropos quotation of Friedrich Nietzsche's sprang upon repeated viewings of this movie: "Whenever people speak of their rights remember it is always about but one thing: Power." It is important not to miss how Oliver jettisons the sacrosanct 'Parliament' when it seeks something that threatens his power. He cleverly shifts that now the 'Army' is the voice of the people not 'Parliament.'
I recommend the movie to you for, though it is pro-Cromwell, it is not naive about the complexity of the man and his real motives. When you watch it you will share the Tudors contempt for the rising moneyed merchant Puritans grown fat upon the stolen wealth of the 'New World' who always cloaked their power grab hiding behind the skirts of the peasants whom they showed the same contempt as you see their modern versions evincing today. The movie is a lovely lesson in a group of people championing the 'common people' as they seek to replace hereditary Oligarchy with a moneyed version that is indistinguishable in its economic vampirism upon the common man. Even for my young readers, if you can put up with its slow pacing, you will learn how money leads to the quest for power ineluctably. It is carefully disguised in heartwarming devotion to the poor but it is always the same. Even in a movie this old, Cromwell pivots between ideological positions to whatever pushes himself forward. The movie has a place in my library for it reminds me that whatever time period any of us live in or wherever upon this small globe we may be: The rich always lust for power. Yes, the tyranny of the King was replaced seamlessly with the tyranny of the rich merchants, try to remember: this was progress my friends.
A dry historical gem that is surprisingly frank about the complexity of Oliver Cromwell; he is not delineated as a saint from heaven. An excellent cast with great acting, the lesson of the lust for power transcending all classes is one worth beholding and remembering. A Good Movie. Q.E.D.
"The Natural Enemy Of Any Government Is Its Own People." George Orwell
"We Shall Leave This World As Foolish And Wicked As We First Found It." Voltaire
"Sic Semper Tyrannis."
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