How many of you have even heard of this one? Well, I didn’t really know much of what this was about, but I knew it was directed by Fred Zinneman, who also directed From Here To Eternity. That excited me.
In England, King Henry VIII divorces his wife. Now, I know what you’re gonna say, but stick with me, my story gets better. Thomas More (Paul Scotfield) is a lawyer who wants to do what the king wants but is also loyal to God. He basically decides to deny the king and is put on trial.
Zinneman’s direction isn’t very strong here. The whole film feels like a stage play. It works well enough for what it’s trying to do. The highlight of the film for me is the dialogue. Most of the film is spent around the beliefs that More has and other people’s belief’s around him. My favorite line goes something like. “Some men think the world is flat, and some think it’s round. It’s a matter of opinion. But if the world is flat, can the king command it to be round? Or if it’s round, can the king’s command flatten it?”
However, the film does not seem particularly real. A good example of this is the fact that, in the last third of the film, More gets thrown in jail, and then a whole year goes by, but from the way he looks (and acts), you would think he just got in yesterday. Scotfield’s acting in general is not very good, and nobody else in the cast really shines, either.
In short, More comes off more as a role model than a genuine human being. And the film suffers for it. It’s not a bad film, but it’s not particularly memorable. There are much better films on this list that you can watch.
I’m sorry that you didn’t like the movie. It is close to the historical facts, however- real history, but sad and boring.