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A Man for All Seasons (1988)

Henry VIII wants to divorce his wife, and seeks the approval of the aristocracy. Sir Thomas More is a man of principle and reason, and is thus placed in a difficult position: should he ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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The story of Thomas More, who stood up to King Henry VIII when the King rejected the Roman Catholic Church to obtain a divorce and remarriage.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Cardinal Wolsey (as Sir John Gielgud)
...
...
The Common Man
...
Adrienne Thomas ...
Martin Chamberlain ...
John Hudson ...
Jonathan Hackett ...
...
Chapuys (as Nicolas Amer)
Milton Cadman ...
Valerie Minifie ...
Woman Litigant
Geoff Owen ...
Chapuys' Assistant
Brian Badcoe ...
Chamberlain
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Storyline

Henry VIII wants to divorce his wife, and seeks the approval of the aristocracy. Sir Thomas More is a man of principle and reason, and is thus placed in a difficult position: should he stand up for his principles, risking the wrath of a corrupt king fond of executing people for treason? Or should he bow to the seemingly unstoppable corruption of Henry VIII, who has no qualms about bending the law to suit his own needs? Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

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Release Date:

21 December 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un hombre para la eternidad  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Last completed film of Roy Kinnear. See more »

Connections

Version of The Private Life of Henry VIII. (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

Original Tudor Music
Composed by Henry VIII (as H.R.H. Henry VIII)
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User Reviews

 
Subtler and wider in scope than the Scofield film
1 March 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Having long been an admirer of the 66 film, I watched this TV version with little expectation. I had never even heard of it until I happened to look up the film on wikipedia. The entry there had very little to say this TV version (not usually a promising sign but my curiosity was sufficiently roused for me to acquire a copy. I was very pleasantly surprised.

This version sticks much closer to the original play than the famous film which removed many lines of dialogue and even whole characters (such as Chapuis). I guess that is what Hollywood does: simplify for a mass audience.

Many important points were thus removed. The entire subplot of Phillip of Spain's support for More. The threat of a Northern uprising and More's desire to have no part of it. These additions contextualise Henry's divorce in the world of contemporaneous European politics and his desire to stave off the dynastic wars which had dominated the previous century. Without them, as in the 66 film, Henry's actions can seem mere caprice or selfishness in his part. And of course many of Bolt's lines, poetic and thrilling in themselves, are brutally excised.

The restoration of these would make this version worthy. However it stands on its own merits too. 'Quiet', 'subtle' and indeed 'understated' are three words that come to mind about this version generally. Heston is far subtler and warmer is the role of More than Scofield, although perhaps less compelling. I'm a great fan of Leo McKern's Cromwell but in some ways Benjamin Whitrow is better, his performance having a quiet menace about it by comparison too McKern's more obvious angry and domineering performance. The great Roy Kinnear is memorable as his composite character too.

Not all the actors are up to the task. Vanessa Redgrave delivers an overblown performance at variance to the general tenor of the film. She also affects a curious northern accents for some reason. Weaker still is Jonathon Hackett as Richard Rich, presumably he was cast because of his strong physical resemblance to the historical Rich but his performance is dull and wooden.

Certainly this is a version all fans of the play or film should see.


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