5/17/07

"Becket" on DVD today!

Even though it is over 40 years old, I was able to see Becket at a sort of artsy theater in Dallas back on Palm Sunday. This movie is spectacular. Of course, movies and acting styles have changed alot in 40 years, yet this one drew me in quickly with its great acting and subtle humor and wondrous visuals.

The historic clash between Henry II and Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas a'Becket is a fascinating one that raises all sorts of questions to ponder. Like T.S. Eliot, who wrote the play Murder in the Cathedral about the same events, I am very interested in what was going on in Becket's head - or really, in his soul. Was his conversion sincere or a powerplay? If it wasn't sincere, why then did he wear a hair shirt and sleep on a mat? Why did he give away all of his stuff and above all, why did he accept martyrdom? He seems a man who pursued power and "the good life" because he was devoted to nothing but himself until, VERY ironically, he became devoted to the honor of God. It also reminds one of the loneliness that may accompany power in the character of Henry II.

In addition to the acting, the visuals are extraordinary - including the elaborate costumes. Some of the scenes are just powerful, as when Thomas takes his life into is hands and excommunicates a powerful baron over the king's objections. Based upon a history of Britain documentary I watched about the same time covering the same material, I'd say the film is pretty historically accurate in terms of the events it portrays - including the scene in which Becket appears, in full archbishop regalia, to what would have been his arrest, where he instead demands that his case be appealled to the pope and threatens with damnation any who would interfere with him and then calmly walks out of the hall through the crowd of stunned nobles, none of whom are willing to lay a hand on him.

I recommend it.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Stephen said...

Another great movie is "A Man for All Seasons" about St. Thomas More. It came on the TV the other day and still is an engaging movie about the role of the state v. the role of the church.

As you say highly recommended!

3:25 PM, May 23, 2007  
Blogger Daniel McLain Hixon said...

i'll havta check that one out

4:46 AM, May 26, 2007  

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