film

reviews










 

Becket (1964)

Director:
Peter Glenville
COUNTRY
United Kingdom/USA
GENRE
Historical/Drama
NORWEGIAN TITLE
Becket
RUNNING TIME
148 minutes
Producer:
Hal B. Wallis
Screenwriter (based on the play by Jean Anouilh):
Edward Anhalt


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury Richard Burton ½
King Henry II of England Peter O'Toole
King Louis VII of France John Gielgud
Pope Alexander III Paolo Stoppa
Gilbert Foilot, Bishop of London Donald Wolfit
Brother John David Weston
Empress Matilda, Henry II's mother Martita Hunt
Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of Henry II Pamela Brown
Gwendolen Siān Phillips
Theobald of Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury Felix Aylmer ½

 

Review

Theatrical and hypothetical, but utterly grand, with top-notch interpersonal drama realized by two of the great thespian talents of this era. Peter Glenville directs with a sense of awe for the story and his actors, for good or bad. And they revel in their own perceived infallability, or youthful arrogance, rather. This works ingeniously, particularly for O'Toole and his Henry II. Along with Lawrence of Arabia, this is arguably his best performance. Burton is, as usual, somewhat stiffer, but his performance is well-rounded and powerful, and he ultimately rises to the occasion and frees himself not only of the constraints of the script, but also manages to connect with the camera. Compared with other historical mid-20th century pieces, Becket's status is more obscure, which is a little unfair because it has endured the test of time quite well. The dialogue is delightfully snappy and clever, and the sets are bold and beautiful, even if they arguably don't say much about regular people's lives.

Copyright © 10.08.2016 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

[BACK TO INDEX]

[HAVE YOUR SAY]