Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. United Kingdom, 1966. Highland Films. Screenplay by Robert Bolt, based on his play. Cinematography by Ted Moore. Produced by Fred Zinnemann. Music by Georges Delerue. Production Design by John Box. Costume Design by Elizabeth Haffenden, Joan Bridge. Film Editing by Ralph Kemplen. Academy Awards 1966. Golden Globe Awards 1966.
The Best Picture Oscar winner of 1966 is this powerful adaptation of Robert Bolt’s thought-provoking play. It takes place in the court of King Henry VIII (Robert Shaw), who decides to challenge the Catholic Church’s opposition to divorce in order to leave Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn. Seeking the support of the aristocracy, Henry receives mostly favourable support from those who fear their monarch, until he comes upon one principled man. Paul Scofield is excellent as Sir Thomas More, one who believes that it is when his beliefs are most inconvenient to him that they actually mean something, and remains steadfast in his opposition to the King even though it means risking his own life. Spirited performances and excellent period detail put this one over, but it is the intelligence of the writing that really makes it as good today as it was in 1966. It’s very tasteful filmmaking, which basically means that however you react to that particular word when it comes to watching movies will dictate whether or not you should go out of your way to watch it.