6.8/10
258
6 user 9 critic

Luther (1974)

PG | | Biography, Drama | April 1976 (UK)
A man's views cause a rift between peasants and the church.

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(screenplay), (play)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Martin Luther
...
Hans
...
John Tetzel
...
Johan Von Eck
...
Thomas De Vio
...
The Knight
...
Katherine
...
Brother Weinand
Maurice Denham ...
Johann Von Staupitz
Peter Cellier ...
Prior
Thomas Heathcote ...
Lucas
Malcolm Stoddard ...
King Charles
Bruce Carstairs ...
Duke of Saxony
Matthew Guinness
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Storyline

A man's views cause a rift between peasants and the church.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In 1525 the world was rocked by a powerful explosion. His name was Luther.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

April 1976 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

John Osborne's Luther  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir John Gielgud was booked to play a major extended cameo but dropped out. See more »

Connections

Remake of Luther (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Insufferably paced, finely crafted character study

Luther Film Review by Joshua Morrall

The problem with directing history is that history, when reflected honesty, is often slow and cumbersome, in many ways like the Exchequer system of financial management used in the 1480s. Luther, another small budget 70s offering from the American Film Theatre, is a factually correct film, and unfortunately suffers for it.

The title role of Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk who was an integral part of the reformation, is painstakingly recreated by Stacy Keach. In a film so devoted to the character development of Luther, Keach copes masterfully, handling the intense and intruding close ups with the greatest of ease - although that is not to say that his performance looks effortless. Quite the opposite. Part of the package with screen adapted plays is that you get all-out devotion from the actors involved. With such long scenes and very little action, the actors are put through the ringer and have little choice but to embody the role. Whilst this serves to deliver stunning performances (look out for Judi Dench as Katherine) the scenes drag out in a manner that modern movies would never allow.

Small budget entails limited set quality, but in this film it serves to compliment the gritty 1500s atmosphere. Script, obviously, is without fault, coming from an intelligent play by John Osborne, who first wrote Luther ten years before this adaptation was made.

What remains insufferable is the pace. The film is directed with an air of dignity and the performances are deserving of eternal praise, but as a child of the movies, I was sucked helplessly into a comatose state of boredom. My fascination with the reformation begins and ends with Henry VIII, who was commended by the Pope for slating Luther's ideas in a book. That sort of conflict is one I would enjoy seeing captured on film. Here, however, I am faced with a triumph of fact over fiction, which, although refreshing and honest, is nonetheless almost impossible to watch in one sitting.

Rating: 2.5


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