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px a man for all seasons - Man
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A Man for All Seasons 1966

Paul Scofield, who played the leading role in the West End stage premiere, played More again in the first of two film versions (1966), winning an Oscar in the process. The film also stars Robert Shaw as Henry VIII, Orson Welles as Wolsey, a young John Hurt as Richard Rich, and an older Wendy Hiller as More's second wife. It was directed by Fred Zinnemann. In addition to the Best Actor Oscar won by Scofield, the film won Academy Awards for screenplay, cinematography, costume design, Best Director, and Best Picture. plot A Man for All Seasons presents a “hero of the self” whose unwavering integrity collides with King Henry VIII’s egoistic drive to wrench personal salvation and political permanence for the Tudor line from an unwilling, because politically cornered, Pope. The Pope refuses to condone an annulment for Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon (of Spain) having already dispensed with biblical law to permit him to marry her in the first place. Sir Thomas More ignores Henry’s pleading demands, throws off the Duke of Norfolk’s friendly advice, and places his family in jeopardy, because he cannot in good conscience submit his immortal soul to the commands of a mortal king. Neither does the political powder-keg that Henry’s enemies may see More’s obstinence as a signal for revolt convince him to submit. This crucible of moral standards takes place in the early sixteenth century, but Bolt contemporizes the drama by inserting an audience go-between, the Common Man, whose asides remind the viewer of More’s relevance to twentieth-century heroism. The Common Man makes all too clear that the likes of a Sir Thomas More are as rare today as they were in Henry’s VIII’s kingdom.


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